In project management and any profession you will encounter problems that need to be solved. While solving problems can often be frustrating and challenging, solving problems opens the opportunity to learn and develop new skills that be applied to future situations. In this post, we will take a look at how to use structured problem solving and the advantages that this process can provide. When starting to use this strategy, it is important to gain experience using it on small products first, rather than using it on a large project.
There are 6 steps involved in the the structured problem solving process and examples for each step by visiting this link. The first step in the problem solving process is to identify the problem. Several things to consider in this first step are the origin of the problem, impact, and timeline needed to solve the problem. This information may not be readily available, so it may require some work to uncover these components.
The second step is to structure the problem. When the problem is structured, important issues are identified. Porter’s five forces model and viewing the relationship between company goals, helps see what issues need to be addressed. The third step is to develop solutions to the problem. In a book by Chip and Dan Heath titled “Decisive” , they concluded that most managers only develop and choose from two solutions. Author and analyst Michael Bungay Stanier states that 3-5 solutions are best when developing a solution.
The fourth step is to select a solution to the problem. During this evaluation process, it may be helpful to use a scoring process to eliminate unwanted solutions. In addition, some managers choose solutions based off of methods that best fit their strengths. The fifth step is to implement the solution to the problem. Sometimes it is difficult to put the solution into action. However, there are several project management tools available to help streamline the implementation process. The final step is monitoring for success. In order to see if the problem has truly been solved, you need to follow up with the people who you assigned tasks to. Monitoring is also useful to see if there is a deeper problem that needs to be solved.
There are several cases at the bottom of this link that provides examples of effective problem solving techniques.