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4.3 out of 5 stars
Rapid Problem Solving with Post-It Notes
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120 of 124 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
As an IT Consultant I am always looking for different methods to solve problems. I found this book to be simple but yet valuable.
When I first started reading this book it took me back to a book called "Visualizing Project Management" where the authors Forsberg, Mooz and Cotterman use the process of "Cards on the Wall" technique to encourage group thinking and visually determine dependencies.
This book introduces an effective way to solve problems with Post-it® Note. It starts off by showing simple key principles: (1) Chunking; capturing small information of data, (2) Problem Patterns, arranging and determining relationships, (3) Guiding decisions and keeping clear objectives, and (4) the *FOG* factor (Facts, Opinions, Guesses).
The core of the book provides 6 easy to use methods: (1) Post up, (2) Swap sort, (3) Top-down Tree, (4) Bottom-up Tree, (5) Information map and (6) Action Map. Note that "Information map" has nothing to do with Information Mapping®, which is both a registered trademark and different method owned by Information Mapping, Inc.
These methods are represented graphically with many examples to help you determine which method is best suited to find the solution for complex problems.
What I found most helpful in this book was the step-by-step procedures in every chapter. Every method has a clear definition of what it is and how and when it should be used. Grasping these methods will paint a clear picture towards the direction of a solution. I recommend this book to those that are looking for an effective, yet simple, way of solving problems.
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85 of 88 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is a real wonder.
In a very friendly way, and without resorting to any technology beyond sticky notes, it introduces several concepts of computer science and systems engineering.
It can be used as a brainstorming tool, but it can also be used by us programmers as a gift to the non-programmers in our lives. It can serve as an exposition of what it is we do all day when we aren't cursing irritating APIs and OS misfeatures. This is about the part of our jobs that we love and that we have so much trouble explaining.
I'm delighted it's still in print. I love oddball books in general, and this is a great example. It really delivers much more than it claims to.
Don't hesitate for a minute to buy this one.
--
mt
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65 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2006
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I'm the author of "Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative Thinking Techniques," and other books on creative thinking. As such, I read pretty much everything that's published that can be useful in facilitating creative thinking workshops and seminars. I find the ideas in this book fun,useful and extremely effective. I'm constantly recomending it to people looking for ways to become more creative in their personal and business lives.
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49 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
I'm a big fan of using rapid prototyping in a variety of ways - from everything from designing software products to building consensus in meetings and setting priorities. There was nothing new in this book that a smart person with the general idea wouldn't be able to come up with on their own. There is a lot of white space in the book and many rudimentary ideas are explained in painful detail. No case studies and really only one application (building consensus and prioritization in meetings). The contents of the book might be better contained in a five page pamphlet.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2006
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Don't get fooled by the title, this is about using Post-It notes but the core of the book can be used easily without them. This book is about simple problem-solving tools that most people have already used, but presented in an organized way. These tools are not only for analysts or managers or X; they are for everyone who needs to solve problems like "what gift will I give to my friend?", "What are the core priorities of this project?", "How should I classify our product categories?", "what are the relationships among out departments?", etc. Please note that Post-It notes are used as enhancers of those simple problem-solving techniques, and they are used in very powerful ways. I didn't have ever considered the Post-It notes as serious material for my job; I thought they were only good for to-do listings.

The book is very easy to read; also, it can be read as a reference book (to remind you how or when to use any of the techniques) or as a step-by-step tutorial.

This is not a book with obscure quasi-magical problem-solving techniques only known by rocket science consultants... this is a book about very basic tools that will help you to solve most problems you will find everyday at work, at home, at wherever.

Highly recommended for young people too.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book provides six easy to use methods for facilitating decision making and getting everyone involved in working through solutions. I keep this book in my briefcase for use at any time - don't let the name of the book fool you, it's about quick methods for problem solving using Post It Notes to help you. I keep referring back to the book time and again. I highly recommend it.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
David Straker shows six simple problem-solving processes for use in groups. He uses the Post-it(R) Note at the center of his processes to allow quick posting of ideas and thoughts, rearrangement, prioritization and mapping.
The book is a quick read and gives you step-by-step instructions about using each process in a meeting. Its illustrations, while simple, are concise and informative.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Okay, I'm a certified Post-it note addict, so this book was right up my alley, so right off the bat, it has an edge.

This is a book that defines several problem solving methods that are fairly well known regardless if Post-it Notes are used or not. The use of Post-it Notes facilitates these tools. In the past I think they used 3 X 5 index cards and tape or tacks.
When I tried to search inside the book online, it was unusually incomplete. So here's the table of contents.

Part I - How the Post-it Note Tools work
1. Understanding problems - Finding and Choosing Chunks
2. Making Decisions - The FOG factor

Part II - The Post-it Note Tool Box
3. Using the Post-it Note tools
4. The Post up
5. The Swap Sort
6. The Top-Down Tree
7. The Bottom-Up Tree
8. The Information Map
9. The Action Map

Part III Putting The Post-It Note Tools to Work
10. Solving Problems - A simple framework
11. Post-It Note Tools in Action
12. Advanced Usage

Appendix: Practical tips.

This book is most useful just before you start a trouble shooting session, as reading it cover to cover and then using months later might be not too useful, unless you brush up again. When I took Quality training we used many of these tools and in fact used Post-it notes with them. These tools are quite effective. This books goes into some depth on each in Part II. However this book is at best a nice refresher. It might be a little tool light for a rank beginner.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2007
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book offers problem solving techniques that may be used well in the suggested sequence, and may be used independently, as well. And, of course, each technique employs Post-It Notes.

At first glance, it may seem that Straker's techniques are almost too simple -- simplistic. They are not. In fact, they reflect a deep understanding of the problem solving, and how to profitably involve groups in that process.

The book is short, well-organized, and clear. Reading it cover to cover won't take long and is time well spent. However, you can cherry pick his chapters and still benefit.

My partner and I recently introduced Straker's method (and book) to a client -- a Washington think tank. They were immediately able to reach faster, better solutions that included a broader range of input. They have become, in their words, "sticky note zealots." Well, me too.

Highly recommended.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
I got this book because I wanted to learn more about problem-solving. Most people overcomplicate problems, so problem-solving with Post-Its is a great way to force people to start at the most basic issue. What I got was a book that focused primarily on what to do with the Post Its after you came up with the problem.

What the book lacked was an in-depth look at how to get to the point where the problem in defined. I was frustrated because I wanted to see this part of the process, and the book didn't give it to me. I also wanted examples of how using Post-Its helped people, and there's only one example near the end of the book. While the illustration examples of Post-It use in various kinds of charts were great and helped me understand how each chart worked, the explanations became very repetition without examples.

The book just needed more of everything.
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