Problem solving is the process of identifying problems and their causes, developing and evaluating possible solutions, and implementing an action or strategy based upon the analysis in order to achieve a desired goal or outcome.
The ultimate goal of problem solving is to eliminate a problem. The problem solving process involves identifying a problem, gathering information, generating and evaluating options and implementing solutions.
The Problem Solving Process
The best way to attack a problem is to view the problem is an opportunity for improvement. It is helpful to have a structure to follow to make sure that nothing is overlooked. The problem solving process consists of a sequence of steps when correctly followed most often leads to a successful solution.
The first steps involve defining and analyzing the problem to be solved. The best way to define the problem is to write down a concise statement which summarizes the problem, and then write down where you want to be after the problem has been resolved. The next steps involve generating and analyzing potential solutions for the problem. The final steps involve selecting and implementing the best course of action. It is always recommended to evaluate the solution after it is implemented.
Steps in Problem Solving
- Identify and Define the Problem
- Analyze the Problem
- Generate Potential Solutions
- Analyzing the Solution
- Selecting the best Solution(s)
- Implement the Solution
- Evaluate the Solution
Our Development Series provides strategies, techniques, and tools to help individuals and teams to effectively solve problems. You will learn techniques for extracting good information from a large amount of data, as well as help break large, seemingly unmanageable problems down into achievable parts.
Tips and Strategies including how to:
- List the attributes of the problem
- Identify possible causes of problems
- Look at the problem from more than one perspective
- Extract maximum information from facts
- Expand the boundaries of the problem
- Think outside the box for solutions
Through our Tool Box, we provide tools and techniques to solve problems including a SWOT analysis, Risk analysis, and decision making matrix. The tools in this section help you breakdown and understand complicated problems. Without these tools, problems might seem overwhelming and very complex.
Cause & Effect Diagrams can be useful for making sure that all factors relating to a problem have been considered. SWOT Analysis helps to work out a successful strategy in a competitive environment. Risk Analysis provides a formal framework for identifying the potential risks, and helps to work out a strategy for controlling them.
By using these tools and techniques you can ensure that you carry out the best analysis possible. These tools give you a starting point and a road map in the problem solving process.