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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.Many times the problem extends to multiple areas or functions to which the stakeholders, customers, and users are unaware.
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.
This method, known as the “5 Why’s”, helps drill down to the core problem as many of the experienced frustrations could be mere symptoms of the actual problem.
The information collected from these initial interviews is only one part of problem analysis.
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.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.It makes clear the purpose for initiating the improvement project and the goals that it is meant to accomplish.Before the project begins, the stakeholders verify the problem and goals are accurately described in the problem statement.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.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.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.