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Most people rush to find solution before knowing the real problem.

What is Problem?
Problem is a chance for you to do your best. A problem is the difference between the actual state and desired state. A problem is an opportunity for improvement.

Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them.
Henry Ford

What is Problem solving?

Problem solving is a tool, a skill and a process.
It is a tool because it can help you to solve an immediate problem or to achieve a goal.

It is a skill because once you have learnt it you can use it repeatedly, like the ability to ride a bicycle, add numbers or speak a language. It is also a process because it involves a number of steps.

Steps to Problem Solving

1.Identify the problem Involves identifying the problem in order to find an appropriate solution. 2.Explore the problem Looking at the problem from different angles. Such as: How is this problem affecting ?

3.Set goals After having thought about the problem from different angles one can identify their goals.

4.Look at Alternatives Involves brain-storming for ideas to collect a list of possibilities.

5.Select a possible solution Choosing the most relevant and manageable alternative. 6.Implement a possible solution Putting the chosen solution in action. 7.Evaluate Examining the possible solution for its effectiveness. For e.g.: How effective was that solution?


Run over the elements of the problem in rapid succession several times, until a pattern emerges that encompasses all elements simultaneously.
Suspend judgment, dont jump to conclusion. Explore the environmental and vary the temporal and spatial arrangement of the material

Produce a second solution after the first. Critically evaluate your own ideas and constructively evaluate those of others. Take a break when you are really stuck.

Talk about your problem with someone, you may have missed some aspects of it.

Techniques of Problem Solving

SWOT - Analyzing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Systems Diagrams - Understanding how factors affect each other. Cause & Effect Diagrams - Identifying likely causes of problems.

Porter's Five Forces - Understanding the balance of power in a situation. PEST Analysis - Understanding "big picture" forces of change. Value Chain Analysis - Achieving excellence in the things that matter. Mckinsey Engagement- A powerful tool kit for efficient and effective team problem solving. Cognitive tools & attitudes, team (talk , evaluate , assist & motivate) & focus (frame ,organize ,collect , understand & synthesize).

Trend charts (run charts), representation of data in time sequence (spikes & dips in data to identify sudden performance changes).
Pareto Analysis
Statistical technique in decision making that is used for selection of a limited number of tasks that produce significant overall effect. It uses the Pareto principle i.e. a large majority of problems (80%) are produced by a few key causes (20%).

MAPS (Multivariate Analysis, Participation and Structure) by Kilmann and Mckelvey. MAPS groups tasks into task-cluster , people into people-cluster , assigning jobs in clusters results in an alternative organzational design.(12 step design technology). Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) Teams. to introduce process changes to improve the quality of a product or service, to better match customer and consumer needs. Project Teams, members usually belong to different groups, functions and are assigned to activities for the same project.

Few other tools

Facility layout diagrams. Work flow analysis. Information flow analysis. Process analysis charts. Fishbone diagrams. Difficulty-impact grids. Activity analysis. Time studies. Statistical process control (SPC). Failure modes and effect analysis (FMEA). Fault tree analysis (FTA). Check sheets. Histograms. Scatter plots Cause and effect diagrams. Control charts.

Effective Problem Solving Conditions

A clear, precise problem statement which is not too general or too restrictive. Appropriate involvement of others in the goal-setting process. A supportive work climate which encourages production of ideas helpful to the organization. Avoidance of too hasty evaluation through a separation of idea production from idea evaluation.

A systematic, orderly evaluation of the pros and cons of all alternatives involved and the degree of confidence in actual receipt of benefits. Separation of ideas from the people so the ideas are evaluated on their own merit. Emphasis on challenging but realistic objectives rather than wordy definitions limiting responsibility. Recognition that individual differences in personalities and in situation require flexibility of the manager in using problem-solving approaches.

Effective problem solving requires effective diagnosis, creative solutions and an organizational awareness. Designers have to begin at the more basic level & mobilize resources within a given organization design. The need for more managers to effectively understand orderly problem-solving procedures. There is a need to develop and use a problemsolving process that is both scientific and individual differences viewpoints.

Thank You!