Download: Problem Solving Guide Handout

  1. Identify the Problem

    1. Brainstorm a list of ideas and prioritize
    2. Start with a pre-determined problem
    3. Solution not known
    4. Compare ideal vs. current
    5. Must be measurable
    6. Keep scope in mind
  2. Grasp the Current Situation

    1. Genchi Genbutsu: Go and see the problem for deeper understanding
    2. Use data objectively to break down the problem into smaller, more concrete problems
    3. Narrow the focus to one aspect of the problem to solve
    4. Make sure it is still a problem – if not, go back to step 1
  3. Set a Target

    1. Specific and numeric
    2. Clarify rationale and impact
  4. Determine the Root Cause

    1. Brainstorm potential causes for the problem
      Can you turn the problem on and off with the root cause?
    2. Come to consensus on one or two high potential causes (direct cause)
    3. Go and see or collect data to verify if direct cause is true
      If not true, go to next direct cause
  5. Develop a Countermeasure Plan

    1. Address the root cause
    2. Clarify roles and involve everyone
  6. Implement Countermeasure

    1. Collect data to monitor results
    2. Be consistent in any before and after comparisons
    3. Ensure no adverse effects at neighboring processes
  7. Confirm Results

    1. Compare results with target from Step 3
    2. If still off, try next countermeasure or return to Step 4
    3. If on track, cease any short-term measures
    4. Self-evaluate development
  8. Standardize / Control

    1. Standardize success to prevent recurrence
    2. Re-train as needed
    3. Audit or create systems to sustain improved standards