Generic Problem solving steps

Almost all Problem Solving methods follow generic Problem Solving Steps.

Problem Solving Steps

Depending on the nature of the problem to be solved, these are the generic steps you can follow.

1. Describe your problem: They say a problem is half solved once it has been accurately described. Get as much information about the problem as you possibly can, good decisions are only made on the basis of good information.

2. Explore possible causes, remembering that there may be a multiple cause effect between two or more cause leading to your problem. Gather as much information as possible. This is known as the Diverging Stage: expanding what you know about the situation.

3. Identify possible root cause(s): Start making sense of the information and enter the Converging Stage where you start to narrow down the information to identify the real Root Cause.

4. Identify possible solutions: Remembering Pareto’s theory that 80% of the effect of the problem can be addressed with 20% of the solutions.

5. Decide on solutions to be implemented. Allocate responsibility for the implementation.

6. Check if the solution(s) solved the problem. If it hasn’t, revisit the point where you decided on the actions to be taken.

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You will find that with any method of Problem Solving, these are the steps that you can follow. If you can remember these steps they will make any situation easier, in particular when you are on-the-spot and need to come to a solution quickly.

Do check out the other pages on various Problem Solving Techniques. You will see that each method holds these steps but differ on their focus.

So my challenge to you is to learn these five steps and to identify these generic steps in at least three other Problem Solving Methods described on this site.