Problem Statement

What is a Problem Statement

To solve a problem, with a team, you first need to arrive at an agreement, what is the problem you are trying to solve. 

This, in fact, is true in our personal lives as well. 

Problem statement helps you write the problem in a manner that ensures all necessary facts are captured. This makes it easy for you to arrive at a consensus on the problem.

Its a statement that conveys the description of the issue at hand in a concise manner

 

When to use a Problem Statement

  • To write description of a problem

  • To gain consensus from team and keep them focused

  • Helps you communicate your problem to stakeholders also

  • Problem statement is used in conjunction with project objective /goal statement (what will we achieve) and business case ( why should we solve it now ?)

How to write a Problem Statement

  • Your problem statement must answer the following questions

    • WHAT is the problem

    • WHERE is the problem occurring / WHO is facing the problem

    • Since WHEN / HOW long has the problem existed

    • HOW LARGE / Magnitude of the problem

    • WHAT is the negative consequence of the problem ( WHY should we solve this)

  • It should be based on facts and not assumptions

  • One may write it with an expert or with the team 

Example of Problem Statement

For our dispatch process ( WHERE), over the past 8 months (WHEN), dispatch error has doubled to 20% (WHAT) causing missed deliveries to increase by 8% and increased inventory levels by 25% (MAGNITUDE).  This negatively affects our on-time delivery to our customers and cash flow (CONSEQUENCE) costing an additional $$100,000.