Unit a

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Unit a

  1. 1. Soft Skills for a Digital Workplace: Problem Solving and Decision Making Unit A: Identifying and Defining Problems
  2. 2. ObjectivesUnderstand problem solvingAnalyzing problemsWork with problem owners andstakeholdersDevelop effective problem statements
  3. 3. ObjectivesDetermine causesSimplify complex problemsIdentify and manage risksAvoid problem-solving traps
  4. 4. Understanding Problem SolvingA professional in any occupationshould be a problem solverPeople who can identify, define, andsolve problems are valued membersof an organization
  5. 5. Understanding Problem SolvingGuidelines for solving problems:  Identify yourself as a problem solver  Recognize problems  Select an intuitive approach for solving problems  Select a systematic approach for solving problems  Make decisions
  6. 6. Understanding Problem SolvingBasic problem-solving steps
  7. 7. Analyzing ProblemsCompanies rely on employees toidentify problems and solve themMuch of the effort in problem solvinginvolves understanding what theunderlying issues really areDefining the real problem is the firstmajor milestone on the way to asolution
  8. 8. Analyzing ProblemsDo’s and Don’ts for analyzingproblems: Look for deficiencies Interview and gather data Observe as much as you can Ask what, not who Have a reality check
  9. 9. Working with Problem Owners and StakeholdersWhen you solve a problem forsomeone else, that person is theproblem ownerStakeholders are people who are alsoaffected or whose involvement youneed to resolve the matter
  10. 10. Working with Problem Owners and StakeholdersDo’s and Don’ts for working withproblem owners and stakeholders: Solicit input from the problem owners Recognize opinions and assumptions Communicate your progress clearly Do your homework carefully Provide choices Promote your solution
  11. 11. Developing Effective Problem StatementsA problem statement is a clear,concise description of the problemand the effect you expect from thesolutionThe purpose of the problemstatement is to describe a singleproblem objectivelyInclude the problem statement in yourproposals, progress reports, anddiscussions with stakeholders
  12. 12. Developing Effective Problem StatementsGuidelines for developing problemstatements: Describe the ideal situation Briefly summarize the problem Identify symptoms of the problem Describe the size and scope of the problem Identify the consequences Explain any other research or investigation that you may pursue
  13. 13. Determining CausesIt is common to overlook the root causeof problems and focus only onsymptomsComplex situations usually involveinterrelated problems, each with adifferent causeTo link a problem to its cause, you mustperform a root-cause analysis, a studythat determines the real basis for theproblem
  14. 14. Determining CausesTo determine causes: Differentiate between symptoms and causes Look for more than one cause Consider the cost Use the 5 Whys technique Create a cause-and-effect diagram
  15. 15. Determining CausesCause-and-effect diagram
  16. 16. Simplifying Complex ProblemsComplex problems have no clearboundaries, are unique, and have nosingle optimal solutionComplex problems frequently involvemultiple stakeholders with competingagendasMost complex problems consist ofsmaller subproblems that affect eachother in ways that complicate thelarger problems
  17. 17. Simplifying Complex ProblemsTo simplify complex problems: Identify the major symptoms Consider each problem individually Rank the subproblems Look for interdependencies Delegate subproblems
  18. 18. Identifying and Managing RisksAny decision you make or solutionyou implement involves some risk,which is an exposure to a chance ofloss or damageRisk is an inevitable part of business,especially when you are introducingcreative changesWith careful planning, you can oftenavoid many of these risks or reducetheir drawbacks
  19. 19. Identifying and Managing RisksGuidelines for identifying andmanaging risks: Be aware of potential risks Assess your risk/reward ratio Reduce your risk by testing Develop a fall-back position or a backup plan Keep everyone informed
  20. 20. Avoiding Problem-Solving TrapsSolving problems demands thefollowing: Logical thinking Creative thinking Willingness to redefine goals Acceptance of solutions that manage rather than eliminate problemsHabits and unacknowledged biasesimpair problem solvers’ ability to solveproblems
  21. 21. Avoiding Problem-Solving TrapsTo avoid problem-solving traps: Avoid the positive outcome bias Avoid “not invented here” Avoid the need for quick closure Avoid the bandwagon effect Avoid self-serving bias
  22. 22. Avoiding Problem-Solving TrapsAvoid the bandwagon, or herd, effect
  23. 23. Technology@Work: CrowdsourcingCrowdsourcing characterizes a wayof using groups to solve problemsThe groups are usually onlinecommunitiesAn organization broadcasts aproblem to the crowd as an open callfor solutionsThe crowd submits solutions, thensorts through them, finding the bestones
  24. 24. Technology@Work: CrowdsourcingAdvantages of crowdsourcing to acompany are that it can investigateproblems at low cost and produceinnovative solutions from a widerrange of amateurs and experts than itemploysRisks to the company are that it mightwaste time looking for a solution fromthe crowd, who is not committed tohelping the company
  25. 25. Technology@Work: CrowdsourcingSuccessful examples ofcrowdsourcing include proofreadingProject Gutenberg andStardust@homeGuidelines for crowdsourcing: Strength in numbers Collaboration matters Different, not necessarily better Good for the company, not for the crowd
  26. 26. Technology@Work: CrowdsourcingStardust@home
  27. 27. SummaryKeep problem solving guidelines inmindAnalyze problems as the first step insolving themInvolve problem owners andstakeholders in the problem solvingprocessDevelop effective problem statements
  28. 28. SummaryTo link a problem to its cause, performroot-cause analysisSimplify complex problems as much aspossibleBe aware of and manage risk whenimplementing solutionsAvoid problem-solving traps
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