Although it might seem like all I talk about here is the Theory of Constraints, my background and training is much more extensive than this. In fact, my very first book was all about problem solving. So in this posting, I want to talk about this very subject.
Effective problem solving, if done correctly, starts with a complete defintion of the problem in question. The process then moves into a data analysis phase and then onto the formulation of a causal theory before testing hypothesis, etc. I was looking through some old files of mine and found a flow chart that I put together quite a few years ago. The following map or flow chart is one that I have used many times in my career to solve a variety of problems.
As you can see, there are six major milestones in my Problem Solving Roadmap as well as seventeen consecutive and well-defined steps I recommend that you follow to the successful resolution of the problems. But even with this roadmap, Step Number 1 is the most important of all. Failure to clearly define the problem, will most surely result in an unsolved problem. I apologize for the roadmap being a bit off-center, but in order for you to be able to read the contents inside the boxes, I had to oversize it.
In my next posting I'll share a similar roadmap for problem prevention.