Don’t boil the ocean

THERE is a term that consultants use which is called “boiling the ocean” (I borrowed this idea from Victor Chang).

If you want one cup of hot water, there are two ways you can do it:

  1. go and collect one cup of water, and heat it up; or
  2. try and boil the entire ocean.

As a consultant, you could ask a million questions and request all of the information in the client’s database.  Or, you could just ask for the information you need to answer the questions required to confirm your hypothesis.

You don’t have the time or the resources to analyse everything.

Are you able to ask the minimum number of questions to get the information you need to make a recommendation?

You will need to be selective.

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One Reply to “Don’t boil the ocean”

  1. Hi Tom,

    I’ve never heard this term before but it perfectly describes the approach of many consulting firms / consultants. They just ask the client as many questions as possible and hope that the solution just ‘somehow pops up’.

    In addition, many consultants have the strong believe that clients reward consultants who do ‘magic stuff’ with a loads of data and information – rather paying for the effort than the result.


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