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  The Thinking Process Tools  

The Thinking Process techniques, or “tools”, are:

The Current Reality Tree
The Evaporating Cloud
The Future Reality Tree
The Prerequisite Tree
The Transition Tree

The Current Reality Tree (CRT)

The CRT is a cause-and-effect diagram that identifies root causes of problems and tells us “what to change?

It begins with an exploration of the “undesirable effects” (UDEs) being felt in the organisation. It then works backwards to identify the root causes, or one core problem, which generate all of these UDEs. Changing the one core problem - the constraint - is the simplest and most effective way of treating many UDEs, resulting in the greatest benefit to the system.

The Evaporating Cloud (EC)

The EC (sometimes referred to as the Conflict Resolution Diagram, or CRD) tackles the question of “what to change to?

The root causes identified using the CRT usually exist for a reason:
Habit - “we have always done it that way” or
Incorrect assumptions

Using the Evaporating Cloud, these assumptions and habits are examined and breakthrough solutions are discovered.

The Future Reality Tree (FRT)

The FRT further addresses the question, “what to change to?” so that:

the organisation does not ‘jump out of the frying pan into the fire’
steps can be taken to pre-empt any potential pitfalls

Building of the FRT, using cause-and-effect logic, reduces the risks associated with the change process by testing the effectiveness of the proposed solution before any time, energy and money is invested.

The Prerequisite Tree (PRT)

The PRT addresses the question, “how to make the change happen?

Once a course of action has been formulated (using the CRT and the EC) and verified (using the FRT), the Prerequisite Tree is developed to help implement the plan.

A table of intermediate objectives, on the way to the solution, is constructed:

The obstacles that might get in the way of the change process are identified
The best way to overcome each obstacle is determined

This indicates the necessary sequencing of the major milestones in the change process. Thus, the PRT is the basis of the strategic plan for the implementation of the solution.

The Transition Tree (TT)

The TT further details the answers to the question, “how to make the change happen?

The detailed step-by-step instructions for implementing each activity of the action plan, that is, the specific tasks, responsibilities, timing, dependencies and outcomes, are developed and mapped out.

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