The Problem Solving Framework
Structure problem solving is a collection of approaches and techniques designed to help people to take a complex problem, analyse it to establish the causes of that problem, and then identify alternative ways of resolving the problem and an action plan for doing so. The approaches and techniques are both analytical and creative and are particularly powerful when used by teams.
The approach has a long history but really came to prominence during the rise of TQM and quality of service improvement over the last twenty or so years. Initially such approaches were primarily used in high technology manufacturing by quality circles and their like, but have now gained a far wider acceptance.
The basic idea is that most of the problems we encounter in organisational operations are like the iceberg depicted below.
Six Step Summary
Step 1 - Identify, Select, and Redefine the Problem Definition
Step 2 - Identify Possible Causes
Step 3 - Identify a "Temporary Fix" if possible.
Step 4 - Identify Root Causes
Step 5 - Identify Possible Solutions
Step 6 - Select, Test, and Implement