Course 1: Problem Solving Techniques
Updated: 1 April 2013
Course Outline
What is Problem Solving?
Problem Solving Steps
l 1. Defining the Problem
–
5 Whys
–
Appreciation
–
Root Cau...
What is Problem Solving?
IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
“Is a key skill that makes a huge difference in one’s
career”...
Problem Solving Steps
1. Define the problem
2. Think of “probable” solutions
3. Evaluate and select the “best” solution
4....
Problem Solving Cycle
IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
1. Defining the Problem
The key to a good problem definition is ensuring that you deal with the
real problem – not its sym...
5 Whys
is a simple problem-solving technique to get to the root of a problem
quickly.
Made popular in the 1970s by the Toy...
Case Study: 5 Whys
Example 1: FXDMS AU is unhappy
Why is our client, FXDMS AU, unhappy? Because we didn't deliver our
serv...
Group Exercise: 5 Whys
Exercise #1: Productivity is LOW
Why #1:
Why #2:
Why #3:
Why #4:
Why #5:
IT Professional Services –...
Appreciation
simple but powerful technique for extracting the maximum amount of
information possible from a simple fact or...
Appreciation Steps & Example
1. Starting with a FACT, ask the 1st question: SO WHAT? in other words, what are the
implicat...
Appreciation Group Exercise
Statement: R&R project zerro will be replaced by the Ikaw Na, Kanin
club, and other programs s...
Root Cause Analysis
is a popular and often-used technique that helps people answer the question of
why the problem occurre...
Root Cause Analysis
IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
Root Cause Analysis process
Step One: Define the Problem
l What do you see happening?
l What are the specific symptoms?
St...
Root Cause Analysis: Fishbone/Ishikawa Diagrams
The cause and effect (fishbone) diagram will help you visually display the...
Fishbone Example
IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
Fishbone Exercise
IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
2. Generating probable solutions through Brainstorming
Round-Robin Brainstorming allows team members to generate ideas
wit...
Brainstorming process
To run a group brainstorming session effectively, do the following:
1. Find a comfortable meeting en...
3. Evaluate and select “Best” Solution
After the brainstorming session, solutions are evaluated for their “effectiviteness...
Decision tree
are excellent tools for helping you to
choose between several courses of action.
provide a highly effective ...
Decision tree process
Start a Decision Tree with a decision that you need to
make
Draw a small square to represent this to...
Decision tree process
Start assigning a cash value or score to each possible outcome
Estimate how much you think it would ...
Decision tree exercise
Statement: Your team has a requirement for a team leader. Options are:
Hire external candidate or P...
Pareto Analysis
is a simple technique for prioritizing
possible changes by identifying the
problems that will be resolved ...
Pareto Exercise
# Problem (Step 1) Cause (Step 2)
Score
(Step 3)
1 Delay in deliver of
Job output
Data Related
2 DCA coord...
4. Implementing the solution
Once a decision has been made, it’s now time to implement the “best”
solution. A structured a...
Project Management Basics
four basic elements of a project: resources,
time, money, and most importantly, scope.
Resources...
PM process
The key project management processes, which run though all of these
phases, are:
Phase management.
Planning.
Co...
Planning Exercise
Come up with an implementation strategy for this problem and root cause
Programming Quality issues (Proj...
Ten Characteristics of Effective Problem
Solvers
Source: http://realtytimes.com/rtpages/19981218_problemsolver.htm
1. They...
References
http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMC_00.htm
http://www.isixsigma.com/tools-templates/cause-effect/caus...
Thank you!!! 
-END OF SLIDES-
IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
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Problem solving course

  1. 1. Course 1: Problem Solving Techniques Updated: 1 April 2013
  2. 2. Course Outline What is Problem Solving? Problem Solving Steps l 1. Defining the Problem – 5 Whys – Appreciation – Root Cause Analysis – Fishbone/Ishikawa diagram – Process-issue mapping l 2. Generating “Probable” solutions – Round-robin Brainstorming l 3. Evaluate and select the “best” solution – Decision Tree – Pareto analysis l 4. Implement the solution – Project Management Basics – PM Process 10 characteristics of Effective Problem Solvers IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  3. 3. What is Problem Solving? IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc “Is a key skill that makes a huge difference in one’s career” At work, we are solving problems everyday Can be large or small, simple or complex, easy or difficult to solve Factor to solving a problem is having a well defined process
  4. 4. Problem Solving Steps 1. Define the problem 2. Think of “probable” solutions 3. Evaluate and select the “best” solution 4. Implement the solution IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  5. 5. Problem Solving Cycle IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  6. 6. 1. Defining the Problem The key to a good problem definition is ensuring that you deal with the real problem – not its symptoms For example, if there is a quality issue in one of the jobs done by a programmer, we might think that the problem is with the programmer or the QA test analyst. However if you look a bit deeper, the real problem might be lack of training, unreasonable workload, deviations from the acceptable process, etc. Tools available: l 5 Why’s l Appreciation l Root cause analysis IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  7. 7. 5 Whys is a simple problem-solving technique to get to the root of a problem quickly. Made popular in the 1970s by the Toyota Production System, the 5 Whys strategy involves looking at any problem and asking: "Why?" and "What caused this problem?" IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  8. 8. Case Study: 5 Whys Example 1: FXDMS AU is unhappy Why is our client, FXDMS AU, unhappy? Because we didn't deliver our services when we said we would. Why were we unable to meet the agreed-upon timeline or schedule for delivery? The job took much longer than we thought it would. Why did it take so much longer? Because we underestimated the complexity of the job. Why did we underestimate the complexity of the job? Because we made a quick estimate of the time needed to complete it, and didn't list the individual stages needed to complete the project. Why didn't we do this? Because we were running behind on other projects. We clearly need to review our time estimation and specification procedures. IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  9. 9. Group Exercise: 5 Whys Exercise #1: Productivity is LOW Why #1: Why #2: Why #3: Why #4: Why #5: IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  10. 10. Appreciation simple but powerful technique for extracting the maximum amount of information possible from a simple fact or statement. helps us uncover factors that we might have ordinarily missed, and it can be very useful for brainstorming solutions to problems. Originally developed by the military to help commanders gain a comprehensive understanding of any fact, problem or situation that it was faced with in battle IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  11. 11. Appreciation Steps & Example 1. Starting with a FACT, ask the 1st question: SO WHAT? in other words, what are the implications of that fact? Why is this fact important? 2. Continue asking that question until you have drawn all possible conclusions from it. Example 1: Statement: Our department's budget is going to be cut 25 percent starting January 1. So what? So the only way to accommodate that cut is to reduce our spending dramatically. So what? So we're probably going to have to cut staff, and we'll definitely have to cut spending on supplies, research, and staff parties. So what? So staff morale is probably going to drop, especially if I have to lay off members of our team. So what? So I'll need to come up with plenty of low-cost ways to boost morale without spending money. So what? So I'll need to start thinking about this tomorrow, since the new budget will go into effect in two months, and I want to be able to manage the consequences when I let the team know. IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  12. 12. Appreciation Group Exercise Statement: R&R project zerro will be replaced by the Ikaw Na, Kanin club, and other programs starting Jan 2012 So what? So what? So what? So what? So what? IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  13. 13. Root Cause Analysis is a popular and often-used technique that helps people answer the question of why the problem occurred in the first place. seeks to identify the origin of a problem. It uses a specific set of steps, with associated tools, to find the primary cause of the problem, so that you can: l Determine what happened. l Determine why it happened. l Prevent it from happening again. Requires tracing back the actions from the series of events to discover where the problem started and how it grew into the symptom now being faced Looks at 3 basic types of causes: 1. Physical causes – Tangible, material items failed in some way (for example, a team member got sick). 2. Human causes – People did something wrong, or did not doing something that was needed. Human causes typically lead to physical causes (for example, team leader was not able to disseminate information to test analyst for the change request thus a quality issue was raised). 3. Organizational causes – A system, process, or policy that people use to make decisions or do their work is faulty (for example, pre-pro programmer and designer are separate individuals, and DCA assumed they were the same. IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  14. 14. Root Cause Analysis IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  15. 15. Root Cause Analysis process Step One: Define the Problem l What do you see happening? l What are the specific symptoms? Step Two: l What proof do you have that the problem exists? l How long has the problem existed? l What is the impact of the problem? Step Three: Identify Possible Causal Factors l What sequence of events leads to the problem? l What conditions allow the problem to occur? l What other problems surround the occurrence of the central problem? Step Four: Identify root cause l Why does the causal factor exist? l What is the real reason the problem occurred? Step Five: recommend and implement solutions l What can you do to prevent the problem from happening again? l How will the solution be implemented? l Who will be responsible for it? l What are the risks of implementing the solution?
  16. 16. Root Cause Analysis: Fishbone/Ishikawa Diagrams The cause and effect (fishbone) diagram will help you visually display the many potential causes for a problem or effect. To construct a fishbone, start with stating the problem in the form of a question, such as ‘Why is the help desk’s abandon rate so high?’ Framing it as a ‘why’ question will help in brainstorming, as each root cause idea should answer the question. The team should agree on the statement of the problem and then place this question in a box at the ‘head’ of the fishbone. The rest of the fishbone then consists of one line drawn across the page, attached to the problem statement, and several lines, or ‘bones,’ coming out vertically from the main line. These branches are labeled with different categories. The categories you use are up to you to decide IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  17. 17. Fishbone Example IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  18. 18. Fishbone Exercise IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  19. 19. 2. Generating probable solutions through Brainstorming Round-Robin Brainstorming allows team members to generate ideas without being influenced by any one person. You can then take these ideas into the next stages of the problem-solving process. A cluster diagram is a good tool during brainstorming IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  20. 20. Brainstorming process To run a group brainstorming session effectively, do the following: 1. Find a comfortable meeting environment, and set it up ready for the session. 2. Appoint one person to record the ideas. 3. Use appropriate warm-up exercise or ice-breaker. 4. Define the problem you want solved clearly, and lay out any criteria to be met. Make it clear that that the objective of the meeting is to generate as many ideas as possible. 5. Give people plenty of time on their own at the start of the session to generate as many ideas as possible. 6. Ask people to give their ideas, making sure that you give everyone a fair opportunity to contribute. 7. Encourage people to develop other people's ideas, or to use other ideas to create new ones. 8. Encourage an enthusiastic, uncritical attitude among members of the group. Try to get everyone to contribute and develop ideas. 9. Ensure that no one criticizes or evaluates ideas during the session. Criticism introduces an element of risk for group members when putting forward an idea. This stifles creativity and cripples the free running nature of a good brainstorming session. 10. Let people have fun brainstorming. Encourage them to come up with as many ideas as possible, from solidly practical ones to wildly impractical ones. Welcome creativity! 11. Ensure that no train of thought is followed for too long. Make sure that you generate a sufficient number of different ideas, as well as exploring individual ideas in detail. 12. In a long session, take plenty of breaks so that people can continue to concentrate. IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  21. 21. 3. Evaluate and select “Best” Solution After the brainstorming session, solutions are evaluated for their “effectiviteness value”, and a decision is made. In this part of the problem solving process, decision making techniques are very useful. Decision making tools include l Grid Analysis / Decision Matrix Analysis l Decision Tree l Pareto Analysis l Process of Elimination / Divide and Rule* IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc Pareto Analysis
  22. 22. Decision tree are excellent tools for helping you to choose between several courses of action. provide a highly effective structure within which you can lay out options and investigate the possible outcomes of choosing those options. Help to form a balanced picture of the risks and rewards associated with each possible course of action. IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  23. 23. Decision tree process Start a Decision Tree with a decision that you need to make Draw a small square to represent this towards the left of a large piece of paper Draw out lines towards the right for each possible solution, and write that solution along the line. Keep the lines apart as far as possible so that you can expand your thoughts. At the end of each line, consider the results If the result of taking that decision is uncertain, draw a small circle. If the result is another decision that you need to make, draw another square. Squares represent decisions, and circles represent uncertain outcomes. Write the decision or factor above the square or circle. If you have completed the solution at the end of the line, just leave it blank. Starting from the new decision squares on your diagram, draw out lines representing the options that you could select. From the circles draw lines representing possible outcomes. Again make a brief note on the line saying what it means. Keep on doing this until you have drawn out as many of the possible outcomes and decisions as you can see leading on from the original decisions. IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  24. 24. Decision tree process Start assigning a cash value or score to each possible outcome Estimate how much you think it would be worth to you if that outcome came about. Next look at each circle (representing an uncertainty point) and estimate the probability of each outcome. If you use percentages, the total must come to 100% at each circle. If you use fractions, these must add up to 1. If you have data on past events you may be able to make rigorous estimates of the probabilities. Otherwise write down your best guess. Once you have worked out the value of the outcomes, and have assessed the probability of the outcomes of uncertainty, it is time to start calculating the values that will help you make your decision. Start on the right hand side of the decision tree, and work back towards the left. As you complete a set of calculations on a node (decision square or uncertainty circle), all you need to do is to record the result. You can ignore all the calculations that lead to that result from then on. IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  25. 25. Decision tree exercise Statement: Your team has a requirement for a team leader. Options are: Hire external candidate or Promote a team member IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc H ire external candidate Prom ote team m em ber Hire a Team Leader
  26. 26. Pareto Analysis is a simple technique for prioritizing possible changes by identifying the problems that will be resolved by making these changes. By using this approach, you can prioritize the individual changes that will most improve the situation. uses the Pareto Principle – also known as the "80/20 Rule" – which is the idea that 20% of causes generate 80% of results. With this tool, we're trying to find the 20% of work that will generate 80% of the results that doing all of the work would deliver. IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  27. 27. Pareto Exercise # Problem (Step 1) Cause (Step 2) Score (Step 3) 1 Delay in deliver of Job output Data Related 2 DCA coordination 3 Hardware Related 4 Programmer miss 5 Platform Limitation 6 StreamServe Limitation 7 Process Related 8 QA miss IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc Quality Issues
  28. 28. 4. Implementing the solution Once a decision has been made, it’s now time to implement the “best” solution. A structured approach like having a project management framework in place is the best and proven way to implement the solution Project Management is a well-established approach to managing and controlling the introduction of new initiatives or organizational changes Projects are finite in length, usually one-time pieces of work involving a number of activities that must be completed within a given time frame, and often on a fixed budget. Managing projects well requires a great deal of time, skill, and finesse. There are many sides to project management and this is what makes it so interesting and demanding. Project managers are expected to take an uncertain event and make a certain promise to deliver. They are also expected to do this within a specified time and within a limited budget. IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  29. 29. Project Management Basics four basic elements of a project: resources, time, money, and most importantly, scope. Resources l People, equipment, material Time l Task durations, dependencies, critical path Money l Costs, contingencies, profit Scope l Project size, goals, requirements Source: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newPPM_Words.htm http://management.about.com/cs/projectmanagement/a/PM101.htm IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  30. 30. PM process The key project management processes, which run though all of these phases, are: Phase management. Planning. Control. Team management. Communication. Procurement. Integration. IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  31. 31. Planning Exercise Come up with an implementation strategy for this problem and root cause Programming Quality issues (Project Coordination between internal - PH and external - AU) Come up with the scope of work / list of activities with corresponding schedules/timelines The table below will serve as guide: IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc # Activity/Task Start Duration Responsible 1 <Activities> <DD/MM/YYYY> <X D/H> <group/ individual> 2 3 4 5 6 * For each target start date and duration, actual start date and duration should taken into account in order to assess the project’s performance in terms of time component
  32. 32. Ten Characteristics of Effective Problem Solvers Source: http://realtytimes.com/rtpages/19981218_problemsolver.htm 1. They have a "can do" attitude! 2. They re-define the problem 3. They have a system 4. They consider every position as though it were their own 5. They avoid the experience trap 6. They recognize conflict as often a prerequisite to solution 7. They listen to their intuition 8. They invariably go beyond "solving the problem" 9. They seek permanent solutions 10. They gain commitment from all parties involved IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  33. 33. References http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMC_00.htm http://www.isixsigma.com/tools-templates/cause-effect/cause-and-effect-aka-fishbone-diagram/ http://blog.iqmatrix.com/mind-map/awaken-your-problem-solver-from-within-mind-map http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTED_01.htm http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newPPM_00.htm http://realtytimes.com/rtpages/19981218_problemsolver.htm www.google.com.ph IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc
  34. 34. Thank you!!!  -END OF SLIDES- IT Professional Services – DM Adhoc

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