IDEASTM – Mondro’s Discovery and Diagnosis Approach

by Mateusz Kuczera

Published June 5, 2023

After finally deciding to get some external help, Janice is waiting in her office for Brice, the advisor, to arrive. Just as she opens her drawer to put the stapler away, Brice knocks at the door. Janice closes the drawer, stands up and after opening the door says “hey Brice, welcome.”

“Hi Janice,” replies Brice, with a big smile.

“Why the smirk?” she immediately asks.

“Well,” he starts. “You finally decided to get someone to give you a hand. That step is huge. Most owners just drown in work thinking that by doing the exact same thing they will get different results, and never realize it’s a never-ending vicious circle.”

“Right,” replies Janice. “But just because I gave you an hour today doesn’t mean I believe we can actually make a difference. I’ve been trying to fix this shitshow for years. And if I can’t fix it, I don’t think anyone can…”

“Don’t take it the wrong way, Janice,” says Brice, smiling even more. “But you were the one who managed things up to now. Maybe the reason things are the way they are is because you didn’t ask for help!”

Janice immediately stared at Brice, intensely frowned and said “I am not in the mood for jokes, Brice. I’ve got some fires to put out and instead of doing that, I am giving you some time. You better make it worth my while.”

“Right, sorry, sorry,” replied Brice. “Alright, let’s get right to it. But to make this work, I need your undivided attention. Can you do that for me?”

“Mhmm,” mumbled Janice, reluctantly putting her smartphone away as she sat down in her office chair.

Most SMB owners experience a similar type of situation on a daily basis not realizing that they have been approaching a recurring problem with the same strategy for years. Some drown in work, some have constant workmanship issues, some have problems with employees, some have financial challenges, and some have all of these simultaneously. Getting help is the obvious step before a more serious issue like a burnout hits. When an owner finally decides to get help, the major challenge is identifying the right problem to fix. And for that, the discovery and diagnosis phase is needed.

At Mondro, we use a proprietary approach to discovery, diagnosis, and problem solving called IDEAS™. IDEAS™ stands for Interviews, Data, Examination, Artefacts, and Synthesis. During the first discussion with a client, our advisors will ask several relevant questions and gather as much information as possible before doing a preliminary diagnosis. And although some insights may result from this first session, it is never sufficient to have a complete understanding of the problem. To be able to correctly define what solution, digital or other, is needed in a business, a more complete IDEAS™ is necessary.


Prior the first discussion, Mondro will send a fairly extensive survey to gather some standard information on the business. This allows the advisor to correctly prepare for the first face-to-face discussion. After the survey has been completed, the first meeting is usually an interview to understand at a high level what the problems are. However, even after the survey and first discussion, several additional interview sessions and surveys will be necessary with additional business stakeholders.


Even with interviews and discussions, it is usually not possible to have an unbiased understanding of the current state. People usually color their response with their perspectives, hence the need to additional information. Data in the form of databases and spreadsheet can provide some of this insight. If the business is already equipped with some digital tools, extracting data from those tools should be fairly straightforward. Applying sensible analytics on this set of data can provide valuable information as to what is going on.


Both interviews and data gathering are somewhat slow and passive methods. And even with the two first methods, some key insights may be missed. For instance, a worker who uses a shortcut to produce a part but is ashamed of not complying to standard procedures. This information will be included neither in interviews nor extracted data. Therefore, conducing a few examination exercises by observing and walking processes will further the understanding.


And as a final key input to discovery, the artefacts of the business should be investigated. Mondro defines business artefacts as all physical or digital evidence of the work performed at the company not contained in the first three inputs. This can be comprised of documents, contracts, process maps, business cases, SOPs, logs, and various others.


Once all the different inputs are gathered, an analysis is performed making sure that all the dots are correctly connected. The Synthesis step is of course necessary to ensure information and insights are extracted for all the different inputs gathered. Once the synthesis is done correctly, potential improvements and requirements will emerge naturally, making the next step significantly easier.


One of the critical steps to correctly executing a digitization project is discovery and diagnosis. And this is also why it usually time consuming. Gathering all the relevant information to correctly assess the current state and deduct the problems and opportunities will allow an accurate definition of the future state, and therefore the entire project. And with Mondro’s IDEAS™ framework, the current state will be assessed accurately and efficiently and will allow going to the subsequent phase, which is to define preliminary requirements.

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