The Problem Solving Method

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Whether the problem you are focusing on is small or large, using a systematic approach for solving it will help you be a more effective project manager.

This approach defines five problem solving steps you can use for most problems... The way you define the problem will determine how you attempt to solve it.

Once you've determined which solution you will implement, it's time to take action.

If the solution involves several actions or requires action from others, it is a good idea to create an action plan and treat it as a mini-project.

If you consider the problem as a gap between where you are now and where you want to be, the causes of the problem are the obstacles that are preventing you from closing that gap immediately.

This level of analysis is important to make sure your solutions address the actual causes of the problem instead of the symptoms of the problem.

Imagine that you are a five-year-old kid and try to warm up your problem-solving imagination with countless questions: ‘what if’, ‘why not’, ‘can we’, ‘how about’, etc. The motto of this technique is ‘Look at things from a different perspective’.

Many problems arise and remain unsolved because we are too lazy to zoom out from the content of the issue and explore the overall context of the situation. One of the most effective ways to find the best solution is to generate as many ideas as you can.

Second, people feel that they need to come up with an answer and it has to be the right one. Long story short, they are under a tremendous amount of stress. There is the reason why we shouldn’t be stressed out and take an issue as a Problem-which-will-ruin-all-my-career-and-life-as-well: stressed-out people strive for binary problem-solving, limiting the options available to them.

In tough moments, we jump to tried-and-tested approaches rather than exploring better and more efficient options.

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