mece framework for structured thinking code ground
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MECE FRAMEWORK for STRUCTURED THINKING
CRACK Scenario-based & Case Interview Questions
What is the MECE Framework?MECE stands for Mutually Exclusive Collectively Exhaustive
It is a problem-solving approach that forces you to list down all possible options without double counting. The Problem Statement is written down first. You must choose your words carefully while writing this down to ensure that there is no ambiguity in understanding the problem.The Options to solve the problem are then listed down in a tree-like fashion. The options must not overlap (Mutually exclusive) and no option must be missed out (Collectively exhaustive)Once the tree is built, the pros and cons of each path in the tree is discussed until the optimal solution path is decided.MECE is popular among business consultants to solve problems and communicate their solutions.Problem StatementOption 1Option 2Option 3Option 1-AOption 1-BOption 3-AOption 3-BOption 3-CThe optimal solution path
MECE Illustration 1: A business case studyProblem Statement: My restaurant is not profitableIncrease RevenueReduce costsIncrease # of ordersIncrease menu pricesReduce salary expensesReduce raw material expensesReduce rental costsMarketing promotionsChange cuisine/ themeShift to a less pricey neighborhoodShift to a mall to get more foot trafficFire redundant workersChange the vendorBetter storage facilities to avoid wastageOnce a MECE Tree like this is built, each option can be analyzed for feasibility. The optimal solution can then be chosen.
MECE Illustration 2: Situational Interview QuestionSituational Interview Question: One of your team members is not delivering their work on time and you are worried that as a result the project will not be completed before the deadline.Ignore the issue. It will probably be fixed on its own.Solve it internally. Chat with the teammate to understand whats wrongIf the issue is very drastic, raise it with Mgmt.Increase your teammates productivityIncrease productivity of others in team to compensateOffer tutoring on problem areasOffer help with personal/ professional problemsRebalance the workload to align with your teammates strengthsGet everyone to chip in and do a bit more while your teammate is going through a tough periodRecommend Training ProgramsPersonal leave as necessary to get personal issues sorted outChange this person to some other project that he/ she is more interested in. Bring in someone else for this project.Feedback sessions/ Disciplinary warnings if neededDrop low priority features from the projectPostpone the deadlineIncrease productivity of the concerned employeePersonnel changeRealign delivery expectations
MECE Illustration 3: Software Project MgmtSoftware Project Mgmt Interview Question: You have identified that the customer requirements cannot be delivered on time. What do you do?Increase productivity of the teamAdd more resourcesRisk: See the Man Hour Myth. New employees take 2-3 months to ramp upRealign delivery expectationsPush people to work harder with incentives (team outing). Risk: Burn outTraining & MentoringDownside: Training takes a few months to have impactChange development methodology to increase productivityTake shortcuts during the development cycle to save timeRisk: Quality will suffer. Not RecommendedExtend time for deliveryRisk: Customers may not be happyDrop low priority items from backlog but ensure delivered items are high quality and tested end-to-end.Switch to agile. Continuous delivery with testing can increase productivity by keeping QA always engaged (In waterfall, QA gets engaged only towards the end). Feedback is also incorporated early to avoid time wasted on corrections.Use Test Driven development. Define interfaces clearly based on requirements and have QA develop test cases against those interfaces, while developers write code to satisfy interfaces.Both agile and test driven development together is also possible.
Using MECE Framework in a job interviewThe MECE Framework is a structured approach to problem solving that is useful in answering many types of job interview questions.
Before staring on the solution, focus on defining the Problem Statement using a clear, unambiguous sentence.
DONT just use the MECE Framework within your mind. Use it to communicate that your thought processes are actually structured. Draw the MECE Tree on paper or on whiteboard during the interview.
Once you have drawn the MECE Tree, engage the interviewer on different solutions that are the leaf nodes in the MECE Tree.Ask questions to get more context to see if this solution is applicable.Discuss pros and cons of each solution with the Interviewer.Always think out aloud to ensure that you and the Interviewer are on the same page.
If the Interviewer offers any hints, always take those hints and make corrections to the MECE structure as necessary.
After you have arrived at the final solution, conclude with a quick summary. The summary should restate the problem statement, describe the pros and cons of various alternatives considered and finally state the solution that you would recommend.
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