What Is Problem Solving?
We should always follow a structured, systematic, and organized approach to identifying, analyzing, and resolving business problems. There are innumerable such Problem Solving frameworks available on Flevy, such as PDCA (Plan-Do-Control-Act), 8D (Disciplines), and Root Cause Analysis (RCA). Typically, Problem Solving approaches include several key steps:
- Identifying and defining the problem: The first step is always to identify and define the problem that needs to be solved. This can involve collecting and analyzing data and information to understand the root causes of the problem; and to clearly define the problem in terms of its symptoms, impacts, and underlying factors.
- Generating and evaluating potential solutions: Once the problem has been clearly defined, the next step is to generate and evaluate potential solutions. This can involve brainstorming, research, and other methods for generating ideas for potential solutions. The potential solutions should then be evaluated based on criteria such as feasibility, cost, and potential impact on the problem.
- Selecting and implementing the best solution: After potential solutions have been generated and evaluated, the next step is to select the best solution and to develop a plan for implementing it. This can involve defining the specific actions, resources, and timelines that are necessary to implement the solution; and may also involve seeking approval and support from key stakeholders.
- Monitoring and evaluating the results: After the solution has been implemented, the final step in structured Problem Solving is to monitor and evaluate the results. This can involve collecting and analyzing data to understand the impact of the solution on the problem, and to identify any additional steps that may be necessary to fully resolve the problem.
Management Consultants always leverage structured Problem Solving methodologies when working with clients to help them identify and resolve their business challenges. They may then use a variety of tools and techniques, such as data analysis, market research, and stakeholder interviews, to generate and evaluate potential solutions. You can find more Consulting Frameworks here.