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Problem-Solving Mastery with the Hurdle Highlighter Framework: A Strategic Guide - F05

Updated: Dec 23, 2023

In the dynamic world of business, data-driven decision-making sets the tempo, influencing every decision and direction and setting the stage for data-driven decision-making. The real magic, however, lies not in the data points but in how they're orchestrated to drive strategic growth and sharp insights. The challenge isn’t just in gathering the data but in translating it into a language that resonates across an entire organization, from interns to CEOs.

Conveying the urgency of solving analytical problems to those who hold the purse strings is a subtle art, especially when the solutions require additional resources. For articulating blockers to implement an analytics strategy, the challenge is not about presenting problems but about framing them in context — their significance, their potential impact, and the resources needed to tackle them. And if this conversation can be had without words, through a document that speaks volumes on its own, the battle is half-won.

Enter the Hurdle Highlighter Framework, a creation born from my years of navigating these very challenges. It's more than a process, a system; it's a translator and mediator, adept at turning complex analytical challenges into clear, actionable strategies. It's aided me immensely during my analytics consulting career.

Imagine a framework that does the heavy lifting, transforming the abstract into the tangible, turning silent data into compelling narratives that demand action and foster alignment. The Hurdle Highlighter Framework is your silent envoy in the realm of analytics, advocating for solutions when you're not in the room.

The Hurdle Highlighter Framework thus plays a crucial role in uniting different departments around a common understanding of data's role in business growth.

Discover how implementing this framework can change the conversation in your organization.

Problem-Solving with Hurdle Highlighter Framework

This three-step guide offers practical business intelligence implementation advice, applicable at any stage of  analytics maturity. Anywhere from Descriptive Analytics to integrating AI in analytics (Cognitive).

Our journey begins with a simple, three-question framework designed to bring clarity and focus to any analytics-related challenge. Whether you're an analyst struggling to add or articulate value, or a business decision-maker looking to leverage analytics for business growth, these questions are your north star.

Question # 1 What Do I Want to Achieve? (The Goal)

This question is like setting a destination on your GPS. It's about defining exactly what you want to accomplish. Think of a task or a capability, but avoid ambiguous language. Make it specific. It's your 'What' – the specific objective you're aiming to achieve with the help of data and analytics.

Let’s look at some examples from an analyst’s POV:

I want to be able to ….

  • ...access all data in one location

  • ...receive an alert if there’s a data pipeline breakdown

  • ...have access to a Web Analytics tool

Note the language is simple, with no technical jargon, as the intent is to resonate across the organization.

Question # 2 Why Is It Important? (The Benefit)

A leader I worked with always pushed us to ask the ‘so what?’ question when we had ideas to improve something. It forced us to think beyond an output and connect our ideas to a bigger picture. It was to estimate the impact of the idea on business value. Now that you know your destination, this question asks, “Why do you want to go there?” It’s about understanding the value or the payoff of reaching your goal. This could be things like growing your business, saving costs, or making your customers happier. Essentially, it's your 'Why' – the reason why achieving this goal matters to you and your organization.

Examples include:

It will help with...

  • …reducing my time to answer ‘Why did it happen?’ and making it faster to run root-cause analysis and find correlations to explain movement in our KPIs.

  • …proactively communicating to my stakeholders on which reporting is impacted so they don’t consume inaccurate information.

  • …understanding drop-off, flagging abnormal behavior, and learning about user behavior and engagement with our product. It also helps in building a self-service insights infrastructure.

It does a good job of articulating the value-add. It’s stating the possibility of what could be accomplished. Most times, one goal can have multiple benefits.

Question # 3 What is Stopping Me? (The Challenge)

Here, you identify what's blocking the road to your destination. It's like recognizing the roadblocks or detours on your journey. These could be challenges like not having enough data, needing better technology, leader or management support, or requiring more skilled staff. It’s your 'How' – outlining the obstacles you need to overcome to reach your goal and reap the benefits.

Examples below:

I can’t do that right now because...

  • ...our customer data is only in our CRM reporting suite, our order transactions data is on-prem, and website traffic data is on the cloud. It takes an hour a day to bring them together manually.

  • …there is no Early Warning System in place to notify me of data quality issues. I am often notified by a stakeholder that something is ‘not right’ in the dashboard.

  • …it takes a lot of time to build these insights in our data-viz tool, and I can’t build it because of a backlog of routine reporting work.

These are the pain points. Again, articulating in simple language is crucial as you want to escalate the blockers to the beneficiaries who would gain from solving these problems.

Let’s put them all together to generate a complete picture.

A visual diagram of the Hurdle Highlighter Framework, showcasing a structured approach to problem-solving. It consists of three main columns titled 'I want to be able to...', 'It will help with...', and 'I can’t do that right now because...'. Under the first column, there are three statements in yellow boxes: 'access all data in one location,' 'receive an alert if there’s a data pipeline breakdown,' and 'have access to a Web Analytics tool.' The second column has corresponding benefits in green boxes, like reducing time for root-cause analysis and proactive stakeholder communication. The third column presents challenges in red boxes, such as disparate data locations and the absence of an Early Warning System. The layout is clear and color-coded, promoting an easy understanding of setting goals, identifying benefits, and acknowledging challenges within an organization's analytics processes. The Framework Garage logo is at the bottom right corner.

Your goal should be to prepare a simple document with this table and have it reach the business beneficiary. That's the person or team who will gain the most by solutions of these problems.

Benefits of Hurdle Highlighter Framework

By enhancing problem clarity, the Hurdle Highlighter Framework employs effective data analysis techniques for growth and strategic decision-making. Here are the transformative benefits from my personal experience

Enhanced Problem Clarity and Precision

The framework helps users precisely articulate and define their problems, moving beyond vague or general issues. By encouraging users to specifically outline what they want to achieve, the framework ensures that problems are not just identified but are thoroughly understood. This clarity is critical for targeted problem-solving and effective decision-making, ensuring that efforts are not wasted on misidentified or poorly understood issues.

Strategic Focus on Impactful Solutions

By compelling users to consider the impact of solving a particular problem, the framework directs attention and resources to areas where they can have the most significant effect. This focus on impact helps prioritize tasks and initiatives, ensuring that resources are allocated to problems whose solutions will offer the greatest benefit to the organization or project. It fosters a culture of strategic thinking, where decisions are made based on the potential return on investment and overall contribution to goals.

Identification and Mitigation of Obstacles

A critical component of the framework is its emphasis on identifying obstacles that hinder problem-solving. This proactive approach to obstacle identification allows for the development of strategies to overcome these barriers, whether they are resource constraints, knowledge gaps, or systemic issues. By explicitly acknowledging and addressing these challenges, the framework enhances the likelihood of successful problem resolution and minimizes the risk of unexpected hindrances derailing progress.

It’s simple to build (and document)

The framework excels in clearly documenting problem statements (highlighted in yellow), their potential impact when resolved (marked in green), and detailed specifications of the issue (indicated in red). The red section notably pinpoints where immediate attention is needed and suggests a starting point for tackling the problem. Its use of straightforward language ensures that if the document is shared, it remains understandable without needing the author's explanation.

For individuals (most likely vertical leaders) tasked with problem solutions, this framework simplifies the process of prioritizing where to invest time and resources. In scenarios where there are constraints in resources, be it manpower or funding, the framework clearly outlines the downstream consequences of not addressing the issue. This clarity in communication helps manage expectations at higher levels. As a result, the ‘responsible for delivery’ team is not held accountable for failing to develop capabilities beyond their resource limitations. This framework helps you articulate challenges clearly that are the blockers to progress toward business growth.

Broad Applications Across Organizational Functions

While the Hurdle Highlighter Framework is rooted in analytics, its adaptability makes it an invaluable tool for creating custom analytics solutions for SMEs across various departments such as Customer Services, BPO, Product Development, and Business Operations. Let's explore how different teams can leverage this framework:


Product teams can use this framework to articulate the development of new features, prioritize their roadmap, and clearly communicate the impact of these features on user experience and business objectives.

User Experience Design: It helps in identifying key user experience problems, understanding their impact on customer satisfaction, and addressing design challenges.

Finance Departments

Financial Planning: Finance teams can apply the framework to tackle budgeting challenges, assess the financial impact of strategic decisions, and identify fiscal constraints.

Risk Management: It aids in pinpointing potential financial risks, understanding their implications, and developing mitigation strategies.

Sales and Marketing Divisions

Sales Strategy: Sales teams can clarify their goals, like penetrating new markets or increasing customer retention, and strategize to overcome obstacles like market competition or product limitations.

Marketing Campaigns: For marketing, it's about identifying key drivers of campaign success, understanding the ROI of different strategies, and addressing challenges in market trends or customer behavior.

Business Operations

Operational Efficiency: Operations teams can use it to streamline processes, identify efficiency blockers, and understand the impact of operational improvements.

Change Management: It's also valuable in managing organizational changes, identifying resistance points, and strategizing for smooth transitions.

This framework's adaptability to various contexts and its emphasis on clear problem articulation, impact assessment, and obstacle identification make it an invaluable asset across the board. By embracing the Hurdle Highlighter Framework, departments across an organization can foster a culture of clarity, strategic focus, and efficient problem-solving.

Wrap Up

The Hurdle Highlighter Framework transcends its role as a mere tool; it heralds a paradigm shift towards a more strategic, data-informed approach to decision-making across various organizational functions. The Hurdle Highlighter Framework is a catalyst for data-driven business growth and strategic decision-making. Crafted for its simplicity and efficacy, it seamlessly bridges the gap not only between data and business strategy but also across diverse operational spheres. Its adoption empowers everyone from analysts to product managers, financial planners to sales strategists, fostering an environment where data-driven and informed decisions steer the organization towards holistic growth and success.


Choose Framework Garage Consulting to Accelerate Your Journey to Analytics Supremacy

The Hurdle Highlighter Framework lays a solid foundation for addressing business challenges, but its full potential is realized when it's integrated with specialized guidance and bespoke strategies.

At Framework Garage Consulting, my commitment is to your success, focusing on delivering measurable results, providing customized strategic frameworks, and empowering your analytics team with the skills and knowledge for solid foundations, ensuring they are well-prepared to address future challenges autonomously.

Data isn't just numbers; it's the compass that should guide your business journey. I go beyond the surface, helping to build a robust analytics culture within your organization. I ensure that the tailored roadmap for your business's future is not just a one-time strategy but a sustainable model for continuous data-driven business growth.


If you stumbled upon this, or it was forwarded or shared with you, please consider subscribing to my FREE newsletter, Framework Garage, and join a world brimming with mind-expanding yet simple frameworks, stimulating ideas, and real-life applications to guide you in optimizing your analytics strategy.

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