Top 5 Problem Solving Tools - Free eBook in PDF Format

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Top 5 Problem Solving Tools eBook  

Book Description - ISBN 923-6-818140-317-9 (40 Pages)
This free eBook outlines five problem-solving tools that can each be used to look at a particular problem from a different perspective. This can help you to find solutions that that might not be immediately obvious and to compare possible solutions before choosing the best one.

Chapter 1 - Six-Step Problem Solving Model
Problem solving models are used extensively in the workplace and the Six Step method is a simple and reliable way to solve problems. This technique uses an analytical and reliable approach to problem solving. Its process keeps the group assigned to solve a problem on track whilst they carry out their investigation and search for a solution.

Chapter 2 - The Drill Down Technique
In complex organizations problems are inevitable. Successful organizations take the time to identify these complicated problems and plan a practical resolution as soon as possible. The Drill Down Technique is a popular approach to problem solving in complex organizations. As its name suggests you break down a problem into its various components into small practical pieces that enable you to identify a resolution.

Chapter 3 - The Four Frame Model
The Four Frame Model is one of the most popular and in-depth tools that management use to maximize an organization’s potential. The model divides up an organization into ‘four frames’ – Structural, Human Resource, Political and Symbolic - with the objective of better understanding the organization. Each frame must be looked at in a meaningful way; if one or more is discarded the findings will be incomplete.

Chapter 4 - Eight Disciplines of Problem Solving
This problem-solving tool requires that a practical plan is created at the start of this eight step process. It requires a clear definition of the problem, individuals involved in the solution and the resources. Each of the eight disciplines in this process, are designed to move you a step closer to a successful resolution.

Chapter 5 - The Cynefin Framework
The core of the Cynefin framework is the way that it breaks down problems into one of five contexts. You place your problem into one of these specific contexts and it will then help you decide how best to approach it. This problem-solving tool is a level ‘above’ others because it requires you to figure out how you should be thinking about a problem in the first place. The framework is often used in conjunction with other problem-solving tools in finding a solution.

You will learn:
  • How problem solving models are used in the workplace.
  • How the Drill Down Technique help you to break down a problem into its various components.
  • How the Four Frame Model can be used to look at a problem in terms of its Structural, Human Resource, Political and Symbolic aspects.
  • How to develop a clear definition of the problem using the Eight Disciplines of Problem Solving.
  • How to use the Cynefin Framework in conjunction with other problem solving tools.

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What is the Six-Step Problem Solving Model?

  • The Six Step Problem Solving Model provides a shared, collaborative, and systematic approach to problem solving.
  • Each step must be completed before moving on to the next step. However, the steps are repeatable. At any point the group can return to an earlier step, and proceed from there.
  • The goal is not to solve but to evolve, adjusting the solution continually as new challenges emerge, through repeating the Six Step Process.
  • Step 1) Define the Problem – Identify problems through problem formulation and questioning. The key is asking the right questions to discover root causes.
  • Step 2) Determine the Root Cause – During this process, assumptions are uncovered and underlying problems are further revealed. Also, this is an opportunity to collect and analyze data.
  • Step 3) Develop Alternative Solutions – Decisions are made within the group to determine the appropriate solution and process through creative selection.
  • Step 4) Select a Solution – Once the group has formed solutions and alternatives to the problem(s), they need to explore the pros and cons of each option through forecasting consequences.
  • Step 5) Implement the Solution – Develop an action plan to implement and execute the solution process.
  • Step 6) Evaluate the Outcome – This final stage requires an evaluation of the outcomes and results of the solution process. Ask questions such as: Did the option answer the questions we were working on? Did this process address the findings that came out of the assumptions?
  • This process helps keep groups on track, and enables a thorough investigation of the problem and solution search.


What is the Drill Down Technique?

  • Drill down is a simple technique for breaking complex problems down into progressively smaller parts.
  • Start by writing the problem down on the lefthand side of a large sheet of paper.
  • On the right of each point, write down the points that make up the next level of detail.
  • Repeat this process, for each new point that you identify.
  • Keep on drilling down until you have identified all of the factors contributing to the original problem.
  • This technique can be used in conjunction with the 5 Why Analysis to ensure that you investigate each aspect of the problem.


What is the Four Frame Model?

  • The Four Frame Model is designed to help you understand and approach issues about organizational problems, development, and change.
  • It views organizations in four frames representing separate metaphors: structural (factories or machines), human resource (personal relationships), political (jungles or battles for power), and symbolic (theatre or drama).
  • Each of these frames can be thought of as a different perspective or way of looking at things which can help you to see the same situation in a variety of ways.
  • The structural frame focuses on the architecture of the organization. This includes goals, structure, technology, roles and relationships.
  • The human resource frame emphasizes individual needs, feelings, fears, prejudices, skills, and development opportunities.
  • The political frame emphasizes power and competition, taking into account diverse beliefs, interests, behaviors, and skills.
  • The symbolic frame treats organizations as theatre or drama focusing on meaning and faith.
  • With each of the four frames, the interested organizational observer can view the same situation in at least four ways.


What is the Eight Disciplines of Problem Solving?

  • Eight Disciplines Problem Solving is focused on product and process improvement, its purpose is to identify, correct, and eliminate recurring problems.
  • It aims to establish a permanent corrective action based on fixing the origin of the problem by determining the root cause.
  • It is a highly disciplined and effective scientific approach for resolving chronic and recurring problems.
  • Once a problem has been recognized, the 8 disciplines used to solve it are:Team Formation, Problem Description, Implementing Interim Containment Actions, Defining Problem Root Causes, Developing Permanent Corrective Actions, Implementing Permanent Corrective Actions, Preventing Reoccurrences, and Recognizing and Congratulating the Team.
  • Once the problem has been resolved, the team should publish and release a final report along with lessons learned.


What is the Cynefin Framework?

  • The Cynefin Framework helps you figure out how you should be thinking about a problem rather than providing a method for solving it.
  • The core of this framework is the way that it breaks down problems into one of five contexts.
  • The idea is to place the problem that you are facing into one of these specific contexts, which will then help you decide how that problem needs to be approached.
  • The five contexts are: Obvious, Complicated, Complex, Chaotic and Disorder.
  • Obvious: Are self-explanatory and the cause and effect relationships that you need to uncover are right there for you to see.
  • Complicated: Are those that are usually best left to experts in the specific field in question.
  • Complex: Might not have a clear solution at the present time. You don’t necessarily need an expert in order to solve this problem, you may just need more time and information.
  • Chaotic: There is no obvious connection between cause and effect. Once action has been taken and the problem has been mitigated as thoroughly as possible, you can then work toward removing the chaos and gaining a better understanding of what is going on.
  • Disorder: The state of not knowing what type of causality exists, in which state people will revert to their own comfort zone in making a decision.
  • Once you identify where in this framework your problems are found, you can then start to solve them using a variety of other means and methods.


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