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#The Six-Step Problem-Solving Process Problem-solving is a part of our everyday lives. We encounter problems at work, at home, and even at school. In order to solve problems efficiently and effectively, we need to have a problem-solving strategy.

In this class, you will learn a six-step problem-solving process: 1. Research and define the problem 2. Determine the causes 3. Generate possible solutions 4. Decide on the best solution 5. Implement the solution 6.

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Evaluate the solution Step 1: Research and Define the ProblemTo define your problem, answer the following questions: ·What do you know about the problem? ·What information do you have? ·What don’t you know and should probably find out? What additional information do you need? ·When did this problem first occur? ·When did it not occur? ·How could you research this problem? How would you state the problem in the Present State and the Desired State? (p. 97-99) Step 2: Determine the Cause(s) of the Problem In Step 2 you need to determine the causes of the problem by answering the following questions: 1.What IS Present? What IS NOT present? What is different here? What are the reasons for the difference? 2. Why is this a problem? Why could this not be the problem? What is the difference between why this is a problem and why it’s not? What could account for these differences? 3. Who IS having the problem or being impacted by it? Who IS NOT having the problem or being impacted by it? Who is unaware of this situation? 4. Where IS the problem occurring? Where is the problem NOT occurring? What is the difference between these locations?What could account for this difference? 5.

When is the problem occurring? When is the problem NOT occurring? What is the difference between these times? What could account for this difference? 6. How much is the problem bothering the stakeholders? How many people are at risk? How specific or localized is the risk? What is the difference between these conditions? What could account for this difference? Step 3: Generate Solutions for the Problem One way to think outside the box is to use Alex Osborn’s theory of brainstorming.For our discussion, let’s quickly review “Other People’s Views” and “Futuring” from your text (p.

109). When we have a problem that involves the thoughts and feelings of a number of people, Other People’s Views can help to consider the perspectives of everyone who is involved. For example, an accountant who works for an accounting firm wants to take a two-week vacation during tax season.

The accountant made expensive vacation plans (with a previous manager’s approval) and will lose money for canceling.The manager is understandably concerned about having enough accountants available to handle the volume of work. The solution must consider the perspectives of both the employee and the manager.

Futuring is another technique that can be used to think outside the box. The purpose of futuring is to help people get out of their typical left-brain, practical orientations and branch out to impossible ideas, which might eventually lead to possible and practical ideas. Step 4: Decide on the Best SolutionComplete a Wants-Needs Analysis by ranking the reasons for each of the solutions. 1. Define the key criteria. 2. Measure the alternatives against these criteria.

3. Determine the needs and the wants. Step 5: Implement the Solution Develop a plan with clearly defined steps. Start out with a broad outline of the steps you will need to take.

Then, divide each of those steps with particulars: Who will you need to talk to? What information will you need? What steps are involved in each process?Use Microsoft Visio (available on DeVry computers) to develop a flow chart. Step 6: Evaluate the Solution Have you solved the original problem, and have you done so in the best way? To answer this question, you need to have an effective measure of your success or failure. What will you measure? If you aren’t sure, this is about the initial goal of your project: what did you want to accomplish? How can you measure that? This might also be reflected in the Present State – Desired State Diagram from step 1.

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