Productive Problem Solving James Wixson, CVS, CMfgE President, Wixson Value Associates, Inc. (208) 520-2296 firstname.lastname@example.org http://wvasolutions.com 1
What you will Learn What is productive problem solving? What are some of the impediments to successful problem solving? What essential things are needed for productive problem solving? What are some of the methods of productive problem solving? What works best? 2
PRODUCTIVE PROBLEM SOLVING It’s the Problem, NOT the process that’s King
Apollo XIII 5 Intro Houston, we have a problem Part 1 Houston we have a problem Part 2 Houston, we have a problem Part 3 Getting Them Back CO2 Filter Problem Success!!!!
15 Minute Apollo 13 Problem Solving Exercise Break into teams of 3-4 people List your observations of what you saw. (10 min) How would your team go about solving the problems presented? (10 min) Pick a spokesperson. Present your findings to the group.(5 min) 6
Some Famous Quotes about Problems Henry FordThere are no big problems, there are just a lot of little problems. Theodore RubinThe problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem. Albert EinsteinIt's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer. Billy GrahamHot heads and cold hearts never solved anything. Denis WaitleyDon't dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer. Unknown AuthorWorry is like a rocking chair - it gives you something to do but won't get you anywhere. John DeweyA problem well stated is a problem half solved. Norman Vincent PealeHow you think about a problem is more important than the problem itself - so always think positively. 7
John Dewey once said, "A problem well-stated is half solved.“ 8 Problem Solving
“A good problem statement often includes: (a) what is known, (b) what is unknown, and (c) what is sought.” - Edward Hodnett 9 Problem Solving
Productive Problem Solving Productive Problem Solving (PPS) is usually applied to larger problems involving significant resources, but, can be tailored to fit smaller problems. PPS follows a structured methodology that leads to root cause solutions and corrective actions. PPS works best with an interdisciplinary team lead by a skilled facilitator. PPS minimizes the impediments to problem solving. PPS can be used in Kaisen workshops to solve difficult problems with the process. 11
Impediments to Problem Solving Poor communication Poor understanding of the problem “Jump to solution” without analyzing the problem Fear of reprisal A "Yes, but'' attitude Intellectual defensiveness closed to new ideas Fear of being perceived as being incompetent Fear of one's ideas being unaccepted Inability to be objective about the problem 12
Impediments to Problem Solving Inability to be creative, imaginative or "off the wall'' in developing alternative solutions Being inflexible or too serious to have fun while problem solving Being so chronically immersed or emotionally "stuck'' in problems that no feelings or emotions can be elicited Resentment about having to solve the problem; blaming others for causing the problem; no desire to own up to the problem yourself Believing that problems are the concerns of others, not me; therefore, why waste my time in trying to solving them 13
Essential things needed for productive problem solving A clear description of the problem. A description of the limiting (or negative) factors involved in the problem. A description of the constructive (or positive) factors involved in the problem. Sufficient data regarding the scope, location, size and seriousness of the problem. A clear delineation of the "ownership'' of the problem. Whose problem is it: mine, yours, the other guy's, my boss', my spouse's, my child's, my parents', my teacher's? A clear description of the scope of the problem: How extensive a problem is it? How long has this problem existed? How many people are affected? What else is affected by this problem? A clear description of the consequences if the problem were not solved: What is the possible impact on my family, job, marriage, school performance, life in this community, company etc., if this problem isn't solved? What is the worst possible thing that could happen if this problem isn't solved? 14
Essential things needed for productive problem solving A list of brainstormed solutions to the problem, with each alternative analyzed as to its reality, its benefits and the consequences for following each one. A system of ranking each solution to finalize the decision-making process. A rating system for analyzing each solution is developed, e.g., 100 percent chance of success, 75 percent chance of success, 50 percent chance of success. Determination to follow through on the solution decided upon jointly. This involves full motivation to "take the risk'' and pursue the solution to its fullest Management support and buy-in Empowerment to solve problems and confidence in the solution Adequate allocation of resources (time and people) 15
Nine Key Steps to Productive Problem Solving Understand the problem environment Define the problem Identify what’s required Identify what’s available (resources) Isolate functions/activities needing improvement Identify success criteria Generate alternative solutions given the resources at hand, and what resources may be needed. Analyze risks, hidden assumptions, and unexpected impacts Select the best solution 16
Tips for productive problem solving Five-dimensional thinking or looking at a problem from five different dimensions:1. What is the size or extent of the problem?2. How would really be affected if the problem was left unattended or unsolved?3. How are you functioning in handling the problem-solving process?4. What do your five senses tell about the problem, i.e., what you see, hear, touch, smell and taste?5. What does the world of reality look like from within the problem? 17
Some Problem Solving Methodologies Drill Down method Straw Man Approach (Trial and Error) Heuristic method (Rules of Thumb) 5 Whys Kepner-Tregoe Situation Analysis, Problem and Decision Making methods (Is, Is-Not method) Deming's PDCA, or PDSA method Six Sigma’s DMAIC method Value Analysis/Value Engineering 18
Don’t forget: The Scientific Method Make Observations Collect data Define problem Hypothesize Test with experiment Analyze Results and Draw Conclusion Apply solutions 19
Brainstorming Tips Express all ideas. Deem no idea too wild to be considered. Quantity is important; every idea that comes to mind should be included. Getting together with others to brainstorm is desirable. Criticism or negative evaluation regarding any idea is forbidden until brainstorming is completed. 20
Productive Problem Solving Method Define the problem Gather Information related to the problem Map the process using flow chart, VSM or FAST Model Identify what elements contribute to the problem Assign scores to each element that might be contributing to the problem Brainstorm potential causes to the high scoring elements. Score potential causes For high scoring potential causes, breakdown further using the 5 why technique Validate most likely root causes Develop solutions to resolve the root causes 21
The Technical FAST Model HOW WHY INDEPENDENT FUNCTION (SUPPORTING) DEPENDENT FUNCTION OBJECTIVES OR SPECIFICATIONS MINOR CRITICAL PATH INDEPENDENT FUNCTION INPUT OUTPUT (concept) OBJECTIVE OR HIGHER ORDER FUNCTION LOWEST ORDER FUNCTION BASIC FUNCTION DEPENDENT FUNCTION (AND) ACTIVITY (concept) ACTIVITY WHEN MAJOR CRITICAL PATH SCOPE OF THE PROBLEM UNDER STUDY LOWER ORDER FUNCTIONS HIGHER ORDER FUNCTIONS 24
Overhead Projector FAST Model HOW WHY (concept) WHEN (concept) OBJECTIVES OR SPECIFICATIONS FACILITATE PORTABILITY ALLOW SAFETY OUTPUT INPUT CONVEY Information PROJECT IMAGE GENERATE LIGHT RECEIVE CURRENT TRANSMIT CURRENT CONVERT ENERGY GENERATE HEAT FOCUS IMAGE DISSIPATE HEAT SUPPORT IMAGE GENERATE NOISE AMPLIFY IMAGE 25
Example: Eat Cookie FAST Model 26 WHY? HOW? Drink Milk Satisfy Hunger Eat Cookie Make Cookie Buy Ingredients Choose Recipe Buy Cookbook Mix Dough Drive to Market WHEN WHEN Roll Dough Select Ingredients Mark B Purchase Ingredients Bake Cookie Drive Home
Determine Defects HOW WHY Establish Container Integrity Follow Inspection Plan Write Inspection Plan Determine Condition Inspect Container Examine (Visually) Container Establish Integrity Criteria Verify Inspection Plan Identify Potential Problems Determine Disposition WHEN Determine Contents Define Container Integrity Develop Inspection Plan Identify Defects Know Problem Contents Verify Container ID. Validate Inspection Plan OUTPUT INPUT Function Analysis Systems Technique (FAST) 27
Identify key functions/activities where performance may be undesirable
For the functions where performance is undesirable, brainstorm likely causes of failure.
Next, rate these causes on a scale of 1-10 as to which are the most likely causes of the problem(s).
Identifying Most Likely Causes of The Problem(s)
After rating the likely causes of the problem(s), choose a cut-off point from which the most likely causes of failure will be addressed first (usually about 6 on a 10pt scale depending on the number of causes).
For the most likely causes of the problem(s), brainstorm contributing factors to the causes of these problem(s).
Given the most likely causes and their contributing factors, you are ready to start identifying potential alternatives for design, or improvements to the system.
For each key function/activity that has been identified as not being performed, or performance is poor, brainstorm potential ways to perform, or improve the performance of these functions/activities.
The identification of most likely causes of the problems with those functions/activities focuses the teams attention on the most needed improvements which facilitates brainstorming of superior ideas for improvement, or design of the new system.
Rules for Brainstorming When brainstorming solutions to the problem, follow these rules: Express all ideas. Deem no idea too wild to be considered. Quantity is important; every idea that comes to mind should be included. Getting together with others to brainstorm is desirable. Criticism or negative evaluation regarding any idea is forbidden until brainstorming is completed. Record all ideas presented Time to let ideas “incubate” should be allowed. Select an appropriate meeting place 44
Attributes Establish Proposal Attributes Team proposals are evaluated against key characteristics / attributes that are important to the success of the project using a Product Performance Profile. The 4 steps in developing the Product Performance Profile are: 1. Select attributes 2. Scale attributes 3. Rank attributes 4. Display attributes in a Product Performance Profile J. J. Kaufman Assoc, Inc. 55
Attributes Attribute Selection Guidelines Select project attributes that best identify those key characteristics that are important to the market success of the project and in support of the business goals. Requisites for selecting project attributes:
All attributes should be independent of each other.
(E.g., “Ease of manufacture“ directly affects “Unit Cost”)
Attributes should be scale able, rather than binary.
(That is, attributes should be acceptable within a range of “goodness” rather than being out of compliance.)
Attributes can be mixed to reflect business as well as market value adding characteristics.
Select a minimum of 5 to 8 maximum attributes
Too many – difficult to balance in determining trade-off options
Too few – may place too large a weight difference between attributes
Attribute Rating Guidelines A “Paired Comparison” process is used to determine the relative importance of the selected attributes and assign a percentage (weight) value to the attributes. Attributes are evaluated in pairs asking “Given a snapshot of the current condition of the project, which is more important of the two attributes being evaluated?” Or, “If you are given a sum of money to invest in improving one of the attributes which one would you use the funds to improve?” Determine the degree of importance by asking “Is the degree of importance separating these attributes low, medium or high?” When the weighting is calculated, validate the ranking by ask “Does the ranking seem reasonable?” If not, reconcile concerns. J. J. Kaufman Assoc, Inc. 58