CATWOE is a method for expanding your thinking about a problem or situation before you zero in on a specific problem that you want to solve.

What’s The Problem? Find Out Using CATWOE

CATWOE? It’s new to me too, but MindTools have an article about understanding CATWOE so you can better understand your problems. Focused mainly on issues that arise in business, it goes like this:

  • Customers Who are they, and how does the issue affect them?
  • Actors Who is involved in the situation? Who will be involved in implementing solutions? And what will impact their success?
  • Transformation Process What processes or systems are affected by the issue?
  • World View What is the big picture? And what are the wider impacts of the issue?
  • Owner Who owns the process or situation you are investigating? And what role will they play in the solution?
  • Environmental Constraints What are the constraints and limitations that will impact the solution and its success?

The idea is that before attempting to resolve a problem, you run through the CATWOE checklist so you’re not fixing one thing but potentially letting something else go wrong.

Understanding the different elements that contribute to a problem - [MindTools]

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