Problem Solving Steps

Key steps in the problem solving process

  1. Clarify the Problem
  2. Define the scope by understanding knowns and unknowns
  3. Gather information and identify constraints
  4. Investigate Root Causes of the problem and test for relevance
  5. Identify and develop solutions
  6. Evaluate Solutions against your key decision criteria
  7. Decide on one or more solutions
  8. Validate with key stakeholders
  9. Plan and Implement the solution
  10. Follow-up, measure expected benefits, and collect feedback

Key considerations

  • The problem must depict the current situation accurately
  • Gap between where we are and where we want to be must be measurable.
  • Be aware that in problem solving “perception is reality”
  • The goal may not be an optimal solution, but an adequate solution
  • Ask 5 x Whys
  • Test your hypotheses through surveys, interviews, process flows, pareto analyses, control charts, etc.
  • Identify if the cause is within your sphere of influence?
  • When designing the solution consider needs vs. wants, long-term vs. short-term, interim steps, risks and costs
  • Develop solutions using Brainstorming, Benchmarking, Best practices, and various modeling techniques
  • It is good practice to develop alternative scenarios, if applicable.