The Problem Solving: The Ability to Solve Problems


Each Problem has Three solutions: My solution, Your solution and the Right Solution!

What is Problem Solving?

The “Problem Solving” or “Ability to Solve Problems” is a set of methodologies and a mental approach, which tends to identify, rationalize, organize and set up all those active efforts that need to be put in place to achieve a goal that is not obvious , that is, that it does not happen by itself.
We always start from a “Problem“: that is, from an obstacle or impediment to the implementation of an action.

What are the “Aspects of the Problem”?

A. Initial state: what the situation looks like when the problem is highlighted
B. Final state: the result we wish to obtain
C. Operations: the set of actions to be applied to the problem in order to lead it from the initial state to the final one
D. Constraints: the obstacles that make it difficult to transform the initial state into the final one.

The Process of “Problem Solving / Decision Making” (PS / DM)

1. Recognize the Problem: it is necessary to identify the symptoms and collect the data (as measurable as possible)
2. Define the Problem: the problem must be understood entirely at 100% and not partially.
3. Analyze the Causes and Effects of the Problem
Regarding the Causes of the Problem it may be useful to resort to:
a) the Analysis of Opposing Forces (positive: mitigate the problem; negative: amplify it)
b) the Study of Unidentified Factors (e.g. Lateral Thinking (method developed by E. De Bono)
Regarding the Effects of the Problem it is useful to resort to:
a) Brain Storming (literally “Brain Storm”)
b) Cause-Effect Diagram also called “Fish Bone Diagram” (or “Fish Bone“)
4. Evaluate the Solution (or more solutions) to the Problem: through the 5 Whys (5 Why), 6 Thinking Hats, Mind Maps or Pareto Method.
5. Decision-making process: by formulating practical solutions to solve the problem (they can be rational, non-rational, based on ingenuity or creativity, temporally valid and / or applicable).
6. Action Plan: this plan must identify operations and allow the results to be verified.
In fact it serves to identify the subjects involved, assign them the various tasks, prepare a plan identifying the significant milestones and verification points, generate a report on the risks and verify the results.
Verification of Results produces Feed-Backs (“Return Information”):
if they are positive the problem is solved;
if they are negative, the problem is not solved and the solution must be reformulated.