The problem definition is an important part of problem solving which sometimes don’t get the level of attention needed. It is created by taking the problem statement and combining facts about it.

Problem Statement

The problem statement should be a short, simple and concise definition of the problem. Following quote from Einstein also sums it up very well “If you can’t say it simply, you do not understand the problem”.

Creating the Problem Description

As mentioned above, then the problem description is defined by facts around the problem statement. For this there are 2 tools that are commonly used.

  • 5W2H Analysis
  • Is/Is Not Analysis

The advantage of using these tools is that you have a systematic approach to generate the problem description based on fact and data. It also thoroughly considers all aspects of the problem, and make sure they are covered.
The 5W2H Analysis is simply explained as a tool where the questions who, what, when, where, why, how, and how much is asked related to the problem. Whereas the Is/Is Not Analysis look at what is the problem and what could it be but isn’t.

Benefits of Problem Description

There are several benefits of having a proper problem description, a few examples are listed below.

  • Focuses team on same objective
  • Forces all to agree on the scope and goal
  • Any vagueness or inaccuracy will lead the team to wrong cause followed by a wrong corrective action

Problem Definition in 8D Problem Solving

Problem description is also one of the elements in a popular and widely used problem solving technique called 8D Problem Solving. It is one of the first steps and vital to the following activities when solving problems.

If you are interested in structured problem solving, then our 8D Problem Solving Training might be interesting for you.

It is a detailed training on how to effectively solve problems and prevent them from reoccurring, and cover the use of tools to define problems as part of the training.

Alternatively you can continue to our quality training page for an overview of other training we provide.

Go to Quality Training

Problem Description