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: Identify and solve the problem by talking it out. Address problems, not personalities.
The suggested approach makes the problem explicit and invites all participants to present their solutions. These are then judged by all parties involved, thus reducing the indentification of parties with their solutions. Furthermore, care is taken to make all implicit assumptions explicit; thus, these can be discussed as well.
- NameTheConflict. Agree on a problem description. This usually involves all parties explaining what they feel the problem is. At this point it is important not to mention the proposed solution to the problem, because that invites others to start discussion right away.
- All proposed solutions are examined. This usually involves all parties explaining their solution and the reasoning behind it. At this point care should be taken to emphasize the conditions or assumptions underlying the proposed solution. Opposing parties should not start discussing the solution; opposing parties should discover all implicit assumptions by asking the right questions.
- The first round of discussion should eliminate the solutions which don't solve the problem agreed upon. Often solutions are very elegant, but solve only part of the problem. It is important to eliminate these solutions despite their elegance.
- The next round should focus on the assumptions for each solution. If the assumptions are wrong, the solutions must be eliminated. Often seemingly good solutions will fail in the long run because their assumptions don't hold.
- The remaining solutions address the problem and their assumptions are valid or of unknown status. At this point the effort required to test the assumptions must be estimated. The effort required for the solution and the effort required to test the assumptions shall both be taken into account when assessing risks.
- Based on the risks involved, a decision is made.
This method works when all OpenDiscussion is possible: All parties involved can speak calmly and argue rationally. This method is applicable when all parties are more than eager and fail to listen to others or jump to conclusions.