top of page

Problem Solving Steps

What is a problem

A perceived gap between the existing state and the desired state, or a deviation from a norm, standard, or status quo.


There are several methods to solve a problem - the underlying steps however seldom change 


Underlying steps can be summarized as :


1. Define the problem 

2. Identify issues / symptoms 

3. Establish root cause/s

4. Implement Solutions



Think of doctor visit 

  • Doctors ask "what's the problem"

  • Patients shares symptoms - fever, cough

  • Dr asks more questions - to understand the problem ( underlying cause/s) 

  • Doctors take the symptoms in consideration 

  • The doctor arrives at a working conclusion 

  • Prescribes medicine/s  & a test if required

  • Doctor requests a revisit within 3-7 days ( monitoring if the solution is working  and diagnosed root cause was correct))

Problem Solving Steps

Define the problem

Arrive at an agreement of what the problem (in most cases the business problem) is, when it started or occurred, where it happened, the magnitude or impact it had or might have 

Identify issues / symptoms:

Determine the issues that might have caused the defined problem. When necessary, group these issues into smaller, easier to review clusters working closely with subject matter experts or stakeholders

Establish root cause/s

Root cause is the cause , which if removed , will eliminate the problem. 

To establish root cause you may use statistical analysis or other simpler tools like "5 whys" OR  "so what".  

Implement solutions

The step where you find feasible solutions, implement and monitor them. Monitoring is important to ensure the defined problem does not re-occur without noticing 

bottom of page