Step 1: Identifying the Problem Ask yourself what the problem is. There may be multiple issues within a single situation. Make a list of these issues and define why each one is a problem to you. Focus on behaviors rather than on yourself or a person Incorrect example: "The problem is that I am stupid. Step 2: Defining Goals Try to define your goals specifically, while making them as realistic and attainable as possible. An example of a poor or broad goal is "I want to be happy.
Try to form your goals in the sense of actions you can take to achieve the desired goal. This is where the previous steps come into play. To users and implementers, a solution may seem too radical, complex or unrealistic. The previous two steps help justify the choices made by the PS group, and offer a series of different, viable solutions for users and implementers to discuss and select from. Step Five: Implement the Solution Once the solution has been chosen, initial project planning begins and establishes: The project manager.
Who else needs to be involved to implement the solution. When the project will start. The key milestones What actions need to be taken before implementing the solution What actions need to be taken during the implementing the solution Why are these actions necessary? The group may use tools, such as a Gantt chart, timeline or log frame. Step Six: Evaluate the Outcome The project implementation now needs to be monitored by the group to ensure their recommendations are followed.
Monitoring includes checking: Milestones are met Costs are contained Necessary work is completed Many working groups skip Step Six as they believe that the project itself will cover the issues above, but this often results in the desired outcome not being achieved.
You should begin by: Reviewing and documenting how processes currently work i. Generate Alternative Solutions Postpone the selection of one solution until several problem-solving alternatives have been proposed. Considering multiple alternatives can significantly enhance the value of your ideal solution. Brainstorming and team problem-solving techniques are both useful tools in this stage of problem solving.
Cost is too high or will detract from other important investments. Customers Will Not Like It. Negative Consequences Are Unknown. What if the solution does not work or causes us to lose business?
The Solution Will Not Work. The analysis of the problem is faulty, was too hasty, or failed to consider necessary elements. Do not be afraid to confront objections from others, or yourself.
With others, respond to questions factually, politely, and with as much information as possible. Keep the focus on solving the problem, not the personalities of those involved. If a legitimate objection or solution is raised that has not been considered previously, be prepared to postpone implementation until it can be investigated.
If you do reconsider your decision based upon objections received, investigate quickly and report your findings back to everyone involved. Trust Your Analysis If you have diligently followed the steps to better problem solving to this point, have confidence that your work is complete and you have arrived at the best solution. Much of the resistance you encounter is likely due to fear and lack of information, rather than a genuine objection to the proposed solution.
Be transparent and non-defensive, recognizing that their fears and objections are natural and are likely to arise in most situations involving change. If a group has been involved in the process to arrive at the optimum solution, identify key allies who can help convince others that the solution is sound, based upon all the information available.
Monitoring Results — The Feedback Loop Despite your best effort, some solutions do not work out as planned. There are many reasons for this: a failure to consider all factors, lack of available information, unintended biases or misperceptions, or a change in the underlying conditions affecting the problem or the solution.
We live in an uncertain world, so there is rarely an answer guaranteed to be true or effective at all times. Great products and companies grow through the process of integration and constant innovation.
According to Wired , feedback loops are how we learn, whether we call them trial-and-error or course correction. They have been thoroughly researched and validated in psychology, epidemiology, military strategy, environmental studies, and economics, and are a common tool in athletic training plans, executive coaching strategies, and a multitude of self-improvement programs.
As results appear from the implemented solution, it is important to collect data and determine whether the consequences are as initially intended. Work the strategy, which you chose in step 3 and determine whether your team found the cause.
If you did, then move onto the next step. Measure Measure the process outputs, and if the problem has gone, you are done! Keep passing through the steps until your measurements tell you the problem has gone.
If you did, then move onto the next step. Be transparent and non-defensive, recognizing that their fears and objections are natural and are likely to arise in most situations involving change. Also, look at causality. Following these steps can lead to better decisions and a happier life.