Problem Solving Terms

Problem Solving Terms-72
Quite often, what may seem to be a single problem turns out to be a whole series of problems.Going back to our example, substandard work could be caused by insufficient skills, but excessive workloads could also be contributing, as could excessively short lead times and poor motivation.

Quite often, what may seem to be a single problem turns out to be a whole series of problems.Going back to our example, substandard work could be caused by insufficient skills, but excessive workloads could also be contributing, as could excessively short lead times and poor motivation.

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For example, consider this problem statement: "We have to find a way of disciplining of people who do substandard work." This doesn't allow you the opportunity of discovering the real reasons for under-performance.

The CATWOE checklist provides a powerful reminder to look at many elements that may contribute to the problem, and to expand your thinking around it.

However, for a more comprehensive process, you can use Simplex, Appreciative Inquiry or Soft Systems Methodology (SSM).

These provide detailed steps that you can use to solve a problem effectively.

Whether you're solving a problem for a client (internal or external), supporting those who are solving problems, or discovering new problems to solve, the problems you face can be large or small, simple or complex, and easy or difficult.

Problem Solving Terms

A fundamental part of every manager's role is finding ways to solve them.

There are four basic steps in solving a problem: Steps 2 to 4 of this process are covered in depth in other areas of Mind Tools.

For these, see our sections on Creativity for step 2 (generating alternatives); Decision Making for step 3 (evaluating and selecting alternatives); and Project Management for step 4 (implementing solutions).

The Drill Down technique will help you split your problem into smaller parts, each of which can then be solved appropriately.

The four-step approach to solving problems that we mentioned at the beginning of this article will serve you well in many situations.

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