Additionally, the problem statement is used to explain what the expected environment looks like.Defining the desired condition provides an overall vision for the process or product.Many times the problem extends to multiple areas or functions to which the stakeholders, customers, and users are unaware.
The problem statement will be used to gain project support and approval from stakeholders. More importantly, the problem statement must be written clearly and accurately in order to deliver successful results.
A poorly crafted or incorrect problem statement will lead to a faulty solution, as well as wasted time, money, and resources.
Once this approval is received, the project team reviews it to ensure everyone understands the issue at hand and what they are trying to accomplish.
This also helps define the project scope, which keeps the project concentrated on the overall goal.
Like most other stages in the process improvement project, defining the problem is often iterative as several rounds of discussions may be needed to get the full picture.
Once the problem is understood and the circumstances driving the project initiation are clear, it is time to write the problem statement.Only after the problem statement is written and agreed upon should the solution(s) be discussed and the resulting course of action determined.Before the problem statement can be crafted, the problem must be defined.Therefore, it is just as essential to gather knowledge, information, and insights from project team members and subject matter experts concerning the problem.Additional research materials, including work instructions, user manuals, product specifications, workflow charts, and previous project plans may also need to be consulted.It will also provide management with specific insights into the problem so that they can make appropriate project-approving decisions.As such, it is crucial for the problem statement to be clear and unambiguous.A well-defined problem statement can also aid in performing root-cause analysis to understand why the problem occurred and ensure measures can be taken to prevent it from happening in the future.It is important to note that the problem statement does not define the solution or methods of reaching the solution.It starts with meeting with the stakeholders, customers, and/or users affected by the issue (if possible) and learning about their pain points.Since people often struggle with effectively communicating their issues, particularly to someone outside of the process, it is helpful to ask a series of “why” questions until the underlying reasoning is identified.