This page will introduce you how to handle your time and resources when you get the case. The most important thing when solving a case is to maximize your time since you most likely will experience time pressure. Luckily, several techniques and frameworks for solving a case will help you doing this which will be shortly introduced below.
First, read the case thoroughly and look for elements where they state a problem or an opportunity e.g. decreasing revenue, growing markets etc. Go through the entire case and mark all key issues you identify. Remember the goal of reading the case is to find the key question "what does the case company need help with?".
You will encounter several issues, but try to analyze whether they are connected and prioritize between the different questions you want to solve.
In the end, you have to make a choice of which path you want your presentation to take among the identified key questions. Having a too broad scope might confuse the reader, so it is better to go in-depth with the key question rather than covering all problems you see the company facing.
The problem can be stated, but you need to understand why the problem has occurred and the key elements affecting the situation in order to come up with a good solution.
To get an overview of the problem, a useful tool is the SCQA Framework. SCQA is short for Situation, Complication, Question and Answer and is a well-used tool in case solving to create an overview and common understanding of the case within the team. Sometimes, it can be practical to go back to the SCQA framework during the case solving to ensure you are still answering the right question.
The framework consists of:
Since SCQA is widely used, it is possible to find more information many places. A good link is here.
After identifying the key issues, you should start to brainstorm on ideas for solving the problems. Do not kill ideas in the beginning and try to develop on each other's ideas. Make sure to write all ideas down, so you do not forget them when you are brainstorming.
A good framework to use for brainstorming for ideas is MECE, which stands for Mutually Exclusive and Collectively Exhaustive. This means that you break the problems into general solutions and then you break the general solutions into more detailed solutions. You do this until the detailed solutions do not cover each other, but they cover all the nuances of the problem.
For more about MECE thinking, look here.
When you have found a number of solutions, you should start researching the idea to identify if this solution is the right solution.
Select some ideas and do the basic initial research:
The process of having a solution and then finding the information to back it up is called hypothesis driven problem solving. In hypothesis driven problem solving you:
When you have outlined several ideas, start discussing all the ideas and look at pros and cons. Remember you are under time pressure, so the more time you use discussing the solution, the less time you have to prepare the arguments for choosing that solution.
When you decide on a solution, make sure you go through the details of the solution together, so the groups have the same understanding of the solution. Start making concrete plans, so the finance person can start cracking the numbers. It is important that all the team members are behind the solution. If you do not agree with the solution, state your concerns and move on. Everyone has to believe in the solution that the team is presenting.
When you present your analysis and solution, it is important that you build up a story to ensure the audience understands your recommendations and reasoning. A useful tool for this is storytelling and the Dot-Dash principle. The idea is to write out the key messages with supporting arguments for each slide. A bullet point (dot) represents the headline of a slide and a hyphen (dash) represents a supporting argument/data point.
For more about storytelling in slides, please see our OPEN toolbox for tips and tricks for techniques.
When creating the slides, you should remember to cover these elements. They give a nice overview of a classic case presentation structure. However you are not limited to this structure. If another structure works better for your solution, go for it!