Ever had a huge deadline and a small amount of time to execute? Everyone has this experience whether they are studying or working. When conducting businesses there may times when it is difficult to make a decision because the choices are so competitive (or so similar). It is important to have some background in decision making in order to help eliminate wasting time, and achieving the best possible results within the given circumstances. Understanding strategy will take some of the difficulty out of this complex issue of problem analysis and problem solving.

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There is a difference in decision making and problem solving. Decision making doesn’t always necessarily mean that you will solve the problem. It can also be a decision made on a whim without very little thought. That is not what we want. We want the end product of our decisions to give us the outcome of a solved problem. Therefore some analysis will need to occur. The best place to start would be to define the problem at hand (Brown). Then to write out not only the problem, but also the desired outcome (The Problem Solving Process). Then listing the potential causes of the problem (Nagy), identifying the roadblocks, actions to address & solve the problem, coming up with an implementation timeline, assigning responsibilities, then actually following through with the plan. This may take several sessions of thinking, and rethinking each possible outcome to achieve the desired effect. In the long term it will be important to monitor progress, and if needed revise the plan.

Group involvement can really help the problem analysis processes because you have a bigger pool of information from which to make a decision. This will also promote “buy in” to the finally decision by those who participate in creating the remedy. These people can also help point out any blind spots that one person alone might overlook. This can ultimately result in avoiding major errors. Yet, there are also several costs in this method including time consuming, too many voices, and groupthink. There are also additional traps in decision making like favoring the first thing you hear, or choosing a solution because it is very close to the model you currently have.

Also, several problem solving tools exist including brainstorming, gap analysis, employee surveys, and more (Problem Solving and Problem Analysis Tools). All which help during the problem analysis process.

It is important that there is some method involved when finding solutions to problems that businesses and organizations will face. If the process is understood before the problem occurs, significant amounts of time can be saved. Once a drawback occurs, the higher level management can meet, and work through the process. Once everyone is on the same footing, they can then introduce these changes to their teams. Which will take them into the execution process, which will also require them to be mindful of how to implement changes in a way that works.

Problems will always occur, and instead of being faced with a large problem, a small amount of time, and no feasible way to find the solution; problem analysis and solving can be prepared for to create the best outcomes. Every organization should evaluate how they plan to work through their own using a trusted set of methods like the ones mentioned, and instead of making fruitless decisions they will experience solved problems.

Also, great emphasis should be spent on the implementation and regular evaluation process. This can help with recognizing if the problem is being solved or not, and if not the team can go back to the drawing board in order to find a better solution. It’s always best to check whether your problem is right in math, and the same can be said in business.

  • Brown, D. (n.d.). Problem Analysis Techniques. Retrieved August 19, 2016, from https://www.miun.se/siteassets/fakulteter/nmt/summer-university/problemanalysispdf
  • The Problem Solving Process. Retrieved August 19, 2016, from http://www.gdrc.org/decision/problem-solve.html
  • Nagy, J. (n.d.). Defining and Analyzing the Problem. Retrieved August 19, 2016, from http://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/analyze/analyze-community-problems-and-solutions/define-analyze-problem/main
  • Problem Solving and Problem Analysis Tools. Retrieved August 19, 2016, from http://www.leanmanufacture.net/problemsolving.aspx