Common GPS Traps


  1. Doesn't target all parties' perspectives. (Develop and integrate other perspectives.)
  2. Doesn't target short, medium and long term. (Develop and integrate missing timeframes.)


  1. Milestone-Achieved: An interim objective that is a step towards the ultimate state – not the ultimate state itself. (Will this satisfy us into the future?)
  2. Naive Nirvana: A universal ultimate state that is not specific to our situation. (Is this specific to our situation?)
  3. Mere Extrapolation: Aiming for what will probably happen even if we don't do anything significantly differently. (Are we unlikely to achieve this unless we do things very differently?)
  4. Solution-Implemented: Aiming to have a solution in place, rather than an ultimate state in place. (Is this an ultimate state or an implemented solution?)
  5. Problem-Solved: Aiming to have a problem solved, rather than an ultimate state in place. (Is this an ultimate state or a problem-solved?)


  1. Narrow Focus: Doesn't apply to all parties. (What problems do other parties face?)
  2. Short-term Focus: Once solved this problem will be behind us forever. (Is there a deeper problem that this problem is symptomatic of?)
  3. Symptom, Not Problem: Not adressing the root cause. (What causes this problem? What does it stem from? What is it a symptom of? If this problem was solved, what would be left to solve?)
  4. Not a real problem: A problem that isn't fundamental to the human condition. (Why do people find it hard to solve this problem? Why hasn't this problem been solved yet?).
  5. Person/department: identifying a person or department (like "Advisers", "The boss" or "Customers") as the problem.
  6. Problem Domain: identifying a problem domain (like "The economy") as the problem.
  7. Solution looking for a problem: working backwards to postulate a problem that validates my pet solution.


  1. Insufficiency: The solution will help, but will not solve the fundamental problem or guarantee the outcome we're seeking. (How can we upgrade the solution to overcome its weaknesses and impact on each of the primary success measures?)
  2. Ho Hum: The solution is no different from what we – and everyone else – would have done anyway. (How can we make the solution more powerful and effective?)
  3. Complexity: The solution may work, but it's very complex and has many potential failure points. (How can we simplify the solution?)
  4. Slow: The solution will take too long to show results. (How can we accelerate the impact of the solution?)

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