A problem cannot be solved if it is not completely understood.
It is human nature to want to begin working on a solution as soon as possible and neglecting the definition of the true problem to be solved.
However, a poorly defined problem increases the risk of implementing a solution that does not fully meet the expected results.
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.
Many times the problem extends to multiple areas or functions to which the stakeholders, customers, and users are unaware.
They may also be familiar with what is happening on the surface but not necessarily the underlying cause.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.The problem statement simply recognizes the gap between the problem and goal states.It can be said that, “a problem well stated is half solved.” However, there are often multiple, viable solutions to a problem.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.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.The problem statement is referenced throughout the project to establish focus within the project team and verify they stay on track.At the end of the project, it is revisited to confirm the implemented solution indeed solves the problem.