Welcome To WhatIsProblemSolving.com


Einstein is quoted to have said “if he had one hour to save the world he would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution”.

“An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions” – Robert A. Humphrey

Problem Solving is a cognitive process that involves in best case scenarios a multidisciplinary team which uses a number of effective and well-defined tools used to analyze time based events and the metrics around those events in order to transition from an undesired goal-preventive-state to a state that supports the clear achievement of one or more goals.
Problem solving methodologies depends largely on the complexity of the problem. Nearly every problem faced by an organization is exceedingly complex. In team oriented problem solving, the key is to work harmoniously in a collaborative manner toward the permanent eradication of the problem and to avoid at all costs a behaviour that exudes an aura of “this problem is unsolvable”. All problems can be solved!

It has been my personal experience, that group problem-solving has more pros than cons over individual problem-solving, especially in complex situations.  One needs to concentrate on the advantages of team oriented problem solving in order to exact a level of effectiveness not ordinarily seen in other models. In multidisciplinary teams, members possess the collective know-how to discover the problems’ root cause(s) and the permanent corrective action(s). Any short fall in team problem solving typically comes more from executive pressure for quick fixes and not the essential knowledge base within the group. Given the correct level of empowerment the team will emerge as a highly effective and efficient resource.

Whether you are dealing with processes such as crisis management, turnaround management change management or continual improvement, each will have a major component of success that derives from effective problem solving. There is a clear line of sight between effective problem solving and profitability. When business leaders fail to solve problems permanently, earnings take “the hit”.

There are a plethora of problem solving techniques that exist. Each of the individual models has its own strength in their own space. The following is a list of these techniques that you may want to evaluate for your own purposes: serendipity, PDCA, DMAIC, IDEF, COBIT, C-K THEORY, GROW MODEL, DMEDI, FRACAS and Creative Problem-Solving Process.

My problem solving process of choice mainly because of its effectiveness is the team oriented process known as TOPS. This process is often referred to as 8-D. The 8-D refers to the eight disciplines that need to be followed to move from definition of the problem to identification of the root cause(s to) through to and including the verification and validation of permanent corrective action(s).