Solving Wicked Problems: Why Traditional Problem-solving Falls Short

Event Date/Time: June 15, 2022, 11pm PST, 2pm EST

Projects are full of problems. Some are easy to solve, some tough, and some are way tougher than others. And then there are Wicked Problems. When there are too many variables and too many stakeholders it can be hard to know where to start. A very visible example of such a challenging problem is one faced at Meta (formerly Facebook). The company’s issue may escalate to a crisis if not attended to adequately, especially after several unsuccessful initiatives to address transparency, harm, misinformation, and privacy. Rounds of #DeleteFacebook were trending on social media, signaling a pattern of user dissatisfaction. The company lost users from its platforms for the first time in its 18-year history and missed earnings targets for the first quarter of 2022. News of the earnings miss resulted in a 20% loss in stock value.

This presentation will use Meta as a case study for how wicked problems can be approached. The key to solving such problems is to look at them through a systems lens. Systems thinking is so critical that PMI has deemed it one of the 12 project management principles in the Standard for Project Management. This one-hour webinar will:

  • Define what is meant by a wicked problem and why traditional problem-solving methods do not work.
  • Present why Meta is currently faced with a wicked problem.
  • Define and demonstrate a tool for tackling wicked problems: Soft-systems Methodology (SSM).
  • Demonstrate how SSM can be used to approach the problem.
  • Encourage the project practitioner to consider systems thinking, whether managing a project, program, or portfolio.

For more information on Soft Systems Methodology, you can look download the pdf file below.

Your Presenter:

Joanne Greene-Blose, PMP, MSPM

Joanne Greene-Blose, PMP, MSPM, is the President and Founder of The Project Solvers of America, Inc., which specializes in project management training and consulting. Joanne founded the company in 2004 after having worked for Eastman Kodak Co. for 19 years in roles that included software engineer, functional manager, and project manager. She has worked on manufacturing, IT, and a couple of construction projects in her 35+ year career. She now trains clients on project management best practices, teaches PMP(R) exam prep, and works with them to set up and maintain PMOs.

Joanne has a BS in Computer Science, a BA in Business Administration & a Master of Science in Project Management from Boston University. She is also a student at Capella University, pursuing her Ph.D. in Project Management.  

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