What Is A Problem Statement?


A Problem Statement contains 

  • What? What objects have the defect? What is the defect? 
  • Where? Where is the effect observed geographically? Where on the object? 
  • When? – When was the defect first observed? What is the history? Is there a pattern? 
  • How much? How many objects have these defects? How many defects on each object? Is there a trend? 
  • How do I know? What is the standard that we fail to meet? 



The Structure Of A Problem Statement

Structure of A Problem Statement

What A Problem Statement Doesnt Have:

A Problem statement

  • Does not include causes of the deficiency
  • Does not include likely actions or solutions
  • Is clear concise and specific. 

Examples


A good problem statement will clearly define WHAT is wrong / WHERE the problem occurred / WHEN the problem occurred / The EXTENT of the problem / and HOW I KNOW there is a problem. 

For Example:


WHAT is wrong 

“Availability of Equipment is poor ...

Accuracy in documents is insufficient ...

Suppliers are dissatisfied with the ordering service... 


WHERE the problem occurred

“Availability of Equipment is poor for elderly care. ...

Accuracy in documents is insufficient in Purchasing ...

Suppliers in the Northeast are dissatisfied with the ordering service... 


WHEN the problem occurred

“Availability of Equipment is poor for elderly care. Since the rationalisation of services...

Accuracy in documents is insufficient in Purchasing after the introduction of the new software...

Suppliers in the Northeast are dissatisfied with the ordering service. Since starting in March... 


The EXTENT of the problem

“Availability of Equipment is poor for elderly care. Since the rationalisation of services, delays caused by the lack of availability have increased by 35%... 

Accuracy in documents is insufficient in Purchasing after the introduction of the new software. The errors have increased by 23%...

Suppliers in the Northeast are dissatisfied with the ordering service. Since starting in March, errors have increased by 21%..


HOW I KNOW there is a problem

“Availability of Equipment is poor for elderly care. Since the rationalization of services, delays caused by the lack of availability have increased by 35% when the patient traffic has increased by only 7%.

Accuracy in documents is insufficient in Purchasing after the introduction of the new software. The errors have increased by 23%, when the target was to reduce errors by 85%

Suppliers in the Northeast are dissatisfied with the ordering service. Since starting in March, errors have increased by 21% while complaints from the other regions have remained stable in that time. 


Conclusion

A Good Problem Statement Is Essential To A Good Start

Writing a problem statement is not difficult if you follow these guidelines as best as possible. 

Try to be as complete as possible as early as possible. For, if the problem statement is well crafted, subsequent brainstorming activities by the project team will work out far more smoothly. 


Or just watch the video here: 


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What is a Problem Statement?

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