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ASQ — Problem Solving Tools Resources: Problem Solving (1)

By Jean-Pierre Amiel posted 01/25/23 02:36 PM

  
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This first article introduces problem-solving, the act of defining a problem; determining the cause of the problem; identifying, prioritizing, and selecting alternatives for a solution; and implementing a solution.

This series of articles presents techniques to identify a "problem", identify its most likely cause (root cause) and then resolve the situation. These articles are also extracted from ASQ's Quality Resources library which showcases information related to the quality world's Body of knowledge (BOK) and compiled from more than 75 years’ worth of content for all experience levels. It is only meant to be a starting point.

ASQ's problem-solving article suggest that in order to effectively manage and run a successful organization, leadership must guide their employees and develop problem-solving techniques. Finding a suitable solution for issues can be accomplished by following the basic four-step problem-solving process and methodology outlined below.

Step Characteristics
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Problem Solving Chart
 1. Define the problem
  • Differentiate fact from opinion
  • Specify underlying causes
  • Consult each faction involved for information
  • State the problem specifically
  • Identify what standard or expectation is violated
  • Determine in which process the problem lies
  • Avoid trying to solve the problem without data
 2. Generate alternative solutions
  • Postpone evaluating alternatives initially
  • Include all involved individuals in the generating of alternatives
  • Specify alternatives consistent with organizational goals
  • Specify short- and long-term alternatives
  • Brainstorm on others' ideas
  • Seek alternatives that may solve the problem
 3. Evaluate and select an alternative
  • Evaluate alternatives relative to a target standard
  • Evaluate all alternatives without bias
  • Evaluate alternatives relative to established goals
  • Evaluate both proven and possible outcomes
  • State the selected alternative explicitly
 4. Implement & follow up on the solution
  • Plan and implement a pilot test of the chosen alternative
  • Gather feedback from all affected parties
  • Seek acceptance or consensus by all those affected
  • Establish ongoing measures and monitoring
  • Evaluate long-term results based on final solution


To read more on the various resources available from ASQ on problem-solving, go to the following article.



§ This News post was adapted by J.P. Amiel, ASQ Senior, CQA ret., Web committee Chair, from content at ASQ's Quality Resources pages, which is excerpted and adapted from various publications in the ASQ Quality Press.


ASQ References:

Quality tools  ► Quality tools A to Z  ► Download quality templates and Excel tools  ► Quality tools resources  ► Quality glossary

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