For example, if performance in your department is substandard, you might think the problem is with the individuals submitting work.
However, if you look a bit deeper, the real issue might be a lack of training, or an unreasonable workload.
help you ask the right questions, and work through the layers of a problem to uncover what's really going on.
At this stage, it's also important to ensure that you look at the issue from a variety of perspectives.
We look at these, and then review some useful, well-established problem-solving frameworks.
The key to a good problem definition is ensuring that you deal with the real problem – not its symptoms.Going back to our example, substandard work could be caused by insufficient skills, but excessive workloads could also be contributing, as could excessively short lead times and poor motivation.The Drill Down technique will help you split your problem into smaller parts, each of which can then be solved appropriately.This section of the nzmaths website has problem-solving lessons that you can use in your maths programme.The lessons provide coverage of Levels 1 to 6 of The New Zealand Curriculum.Problems are at the center of what many people do at work every day.Whether you're solving a problem for a client (internal or external), supporting those who are solving problems, or discovering new problems to solve, the problems you face can be large or small, simple or complex, and easy or difficult.The four-step approach to solving problems that we mentioned at the beginning of this article will serve you well in many situations.However, for a more comprehensive process, you can use Simplex, Appreciative Inquiry or Soft Systems Methodology (SSM).Many of these help you create a clear visual representation of the situation, so that you can better understand what's going on. To generate viable solutions, you must have a solid understanding of what's causing the problem.Using our example of substandard work, Cause-and-Effect diagrams would highlight that a lack of training could contribute to the problem, and they could also highlight possible causes such as work overload and problems with technology.