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Friday, 11 May 2012

Problem Solving Skills

Problem Solving is one of the key personalities of the project manager or the any individuals.
The experience and approach for solving the problem varies from person to person.
I would like to share my experience of skills needs to be developed, how to differentiate the problems and method to solve the problem.

Problem Solving:
Problem solving is the powerful human activity, computers are the tools in problem solving but it is human who solves the problem.
The ability of the problem solving comes from doing it and need to pull many information and solutions to solve the problem.
Problem solving is the combination of experience, knowledge, process and art.

Problem Solving Process:
Process is the series of logical steps that followed to produce an optimum solution.
Time and Resources are the two constraints for the problem solving. The given problem needs to be solved with in specific time with available resources.

Skills required for solving the problem:
Communication Skills
Learning Skills
Group Skills

Type of Problems:
1. Knowledge Problems
- When a person encounters a situation that he doesn’t understand
2. Troubleshooting Problems
-When equipment or software behaves in unexpected ways
3. Mathematical Problems
- Describe physical phenomena with mathematical models
Example: Find x such that 5X+5 = 25
4. Resource Problems:
There is never enough time, money, or equipment to accomplish the task. The resources get the problem solved in spite resource limitations.
5. Social Problems:
For example if a factory is relocated to where there is shortage of skilled worker, engineers should set up training program for employees.
6. Design Problems:
Require creativity, teamwork, and broad knowledge to design the architecture

Difficulties in solving the problem:
Some of the reasons we do not find the most effective solutions to our problems. Identified few difficulties we are facing to solve the problem below:
Not recognizing the problem
Failure to use the known information
Failure to analysis the data
Approaching the problem with predefined mindset or Inflexible thinking
Fear of making mistakes or looking foolish
Fear of taking risks
Lagging in decision making
Monotonous work
Expectations of others to help

Problem Solving Method:
1. Recognize and understand the problem:
Understand the problem by defining the input/outputs, known’s/unknowns and sketch the problem.
2. Gather Information:
Collect the relevant data and remove the unwanted data which leads confusions to the problem. List relevant questions to the problem based on the knowns and unknowns.
State all the assumptions and ensure during selection of the effective solution the assumptions are addressed.
3. Generate solution methods:
There are many approaches to solve the problem examples are mind mapping, fishbone diagram, SWOT analysis and others.
Try to scale down the problem and break into the parts.
Refer SWOT analysis:
4. Redefine and Implement:
Evaluate the selected solution method selected in the above step. Identify the “best” solution based on the situation and environment and other factors.
5. Verify and Test:
Compare the solution with the problem statement, test the solution and don’t stop until you get the correct answer.

Problem Presentation:
Problem presentation is the important skill which is required other to get convince to accept the projected solution.

Prepare the presentation with below list of headings.
Problem statement
Diagram (Flow Charts)
Problem solving method
Solution steps
Identify results and verify accuracy


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