Structured Problem Solving

Many people use experience and intuition to solve problems.  Don’t wing it!

Structured problem solving is a systematic and analytical approach to identifying and resolving problems. It involves breaking down complex problems into smaller, more manageable parts, and using a step-by-step process to find a solution. This method can be applied to any situation, whether it's a personal or professional problem.  Does it sound like common sense?  It is.  

Slow down, take a systematic and straightforward approach, and don’t let intuition take over.  

There are several benefits to using structured problem solving. First and foremost, it allows you to approach problems with a clear and objective mindset. By breaking down the problem into smaller parts, you can identify the root cause of the issue and develop a targeted solution. This approach also helps you to avoid jumping to conclusions or making assumptions, which can lead to ineffective or short-term solutions.  

The process of structured problem solving typically involves several steps:

There are several tools and techniques that can be used to support structured problem solving. One common technique is the use of a fishbone diagram, also known as an Ishikawa diagram. This tool helps to identify the root cause of a problem by visually organizing potential causes into categories.  Another tool that can be useful in structured problem solving is the use of a decision matrix. This tool helps to evaluate potential solutions based on specific criteria and assign a score to each option. This can help exclude bias and numerically rank solutions by effectiveness.  

Structured problem solving is a powerful approach to identifying and resolving problems. By breaking down complex issues into smaller parts and following a systematic process, you can develop targeted solutions that produce real results. Whether you're facing a personal or professional challenge, this approach can help you to approach the problem with a clear and objective mindset and find a sustainable solution.