CATWOE

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CATWOE is a problem-solving checklist. The technique was developed by David Smyth in 1975. He defined 6 elements for problem solving that were combined together into the acronym CATWOE: Customers – Actors – Transformation process – World view – Owners – Environmental constraints.  It can be used for a wide array of decisions which have multiple stakeholders.



C: The first element in this structure is clients – the users of the process or system to be changed.


The first stage is to define these people and understand how the process or system will affect them.

When identifying your customers, it’s helpful to answer the following questions:

  • Who will receive the message?

  • What problem do they have?

  • What will be their reaction?

  • Who are the winners and losers?



A: is actors. These are the key people who take part in the implementation of the changes in the system or process who will be affected by the change decisions.


Here you should pay attention to the following problems:

  • What is the impact on them?

  • What will be their reaction?

Knowing your team members well you can choose the right people for different objectives.



T: is transformation. It is any change that the system or process brings.


Every time you make a decision which is related to your business process, you want to ask what systems are going to be affected. Each decision will affect another area.



W: is worldview. Worldview can be considered as the big picture and the wider impact of the change. You should think about what the big picture is and what particular issues are going to take place.


Systems or processes are analyzed to come up with the positive and negative impact on the business.

This stage of CATWOE analysis can be defined as the most crucial as different stakeholders have their different approaches to the same issue.



O: is the Owner and decision maker who has the power to control the system. He decides whether this system will be implemented or not.

The responsibility of the owner is to control how to lead the whole system to solve problems.



E: is environmental constraints. Environmental constraints are restrictions that may halt operating of the system.

Laws, ethical issues, financial regulations and resources are included here.