As with grounded theory, sometimes the data must lead to discovery of the theory, ie start with a fresh mind and explore. Seek first to understand, then to impose your understanding.
Steven Covey said of the 7 habits of highly effective people, habit 5, which deals with putting an emphasis on understanding the other person’s perspective, resonated the most with people. This is routed in our need to be understood ourselves. It also leads to better solutions, as understanding leads to empathy and therefore creating solutions that are more holistic.
As project managers, this is extremely helpful as the solutions we bring with our projects should be fit for purpose. Understanding the problem is the first step to developing any potential solution. And if we are to understand, we must be guided by the raw data, solicited from our stakeholders. For that is the first step towards shared understanding.