Home > Analysis > Mutually Exclusive, Collectively exhaustive (MECE)

Mutually Exclusive, Collectively exhaustive (MECE)

Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive (MECE) is an analytical concept to organise information when problem solving. The approach is  helpful when breaking down problems to ‘drill down’ into specific parts in more detail. When considering the different aspects of a problem, to avoid having issues overlap they need to be Mutually Exclusive (ME).

Being Mutually Exclusive means that each issue has no overlap with other issues. For example if trying to determine why a product is not profitable, when looking at costs reviewing each category would be mutually exclusive. Advertising does not include materials, or salaries. So each category is ME.

The other side of the concept is Collectively Exhaustive (CE).  All possible problems must be included within the analysis. So looking to the profitability issues again, Costs and Revenues must be reviewed. To ignore revenue is to overlook an important part of the problem. In this simple case these two parts list the issues that need analysis.

Of course it is worthwhile considering that like all frameworks MECE has limitations. Look at the writings of Tim van Gelder on What is MECE and is it MECE.

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  1. 12 May 2013 at 6:56 am

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about management consulting.
    Regards

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