You can categorize problems into ill-defined and well-defined based on the clarity in goals and solution paths. Most of the real-world problems are ill-defined, and you need to have a framework to solve it. In this article, I describe how to solve a problem effectively using a 7-step framework.
You must use different approaches to solve an ill-defined and a well-defined problem effectively. For example, you can plan for well-defined problems upfront. However, if you work on an ill-defined problem you should not insist on planning; otherwise, it may hurt the team spirit. I practiced this framework several times in the past. This framework helped me to understand a problem, find a solution, and communicate at ease with the team. Let’s start.Don't insist on sprint planning when everything is ambiguous. Click To Tweet
1- Define The Problem
If you can clearly articulate the problem you want to solve, it means you define the problem well. You must be able to explain it to another person in less than a min. So, if you can’t elaborate it such that, don’t start solving it. The initial state, the main goal, and the constraints must be identified in this step. You can use the “Five Ws” framework to effectively gather information for this step.
Related Link- Remember the 5 W’sIf you can't explain the problem to another person in <1 min, something is wrong! Click To Tweet
2- Formulate The Problem
Break down the problem to many pieces Now, those pieces must sit next to each other to create the big picture. You can use different methodologies to formulate a problem. Graphs theory, systems theory, and optimization theory are very useful to represent and formulate a problem.Graphs theory, systems theory, and optimization theory are very useful to represent and formulate a problem. Click To Tweet
3- Look For Possible Solutions
First, you must list all the possible solutions regardless of the resources that they need. Then, you must conduct brainstorming sessions with your colleagues to select the right solution and extract the details. Let everyone be proud of being part of the problem-solving team. At the end, you must conduct research to validate the details suggested by your peers.Let everyone be proud of being part of the problem-solving team! Click To Tweet
4- Analyze Possible Solutions
Each solution has its pros and cons. You have to select the best solution based on the existing limitations (e.g., time, expertise, and budget). Don’t spend much time on analyzing anyway. Make a decision and proceed.
5- Implement The Solution
You must start with low-hanging fruits and pursue it with more sophisticated methods. To do that, you should follow the prioritization frameworks such as the Kano model, the MoSCoW method, or Effort vs Impact. You must select the method that is easy to use and easy to communicate especially if you have to convince another person in the team. To implement a solution, you must follow the project management principles.Use -Effort vs Impact- framework to prioritize tasks. It is easy to use and easy to communicate! Click To Tweet
Related Link- 7 product prioritization frameworks for product managers
6- Monitor The Progress
You definitely must measure the goodness of your solution and monitor its improvement over time. If you can NOT reproduce results as many times as needed it means you must reconsider your solution. Moreover, you always need to seek feedback from everyone. When you get involved with details you may lose the big picture.If you can NOT reproduce results as many time as needed it means you have to reconsider your solution. Click To Tweet
7- Deliver The Results
You must ensure to meet the requirements, and keep the team updated. At the end of the day, you have to satisfy your clients, customers, or company executives.