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## Problem Solving Strategies

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## Turn your team into skilled problem solvers with these problem-solving strategies

## What is problem solving?

## 4 steps to better problem solving

## 1. Identify the problem that needs to be solved

Who : Who is involved with this problem? Who caused the problem? Who is most affected by this issue?

Why: Why is it happening? Why does it impact workflows?

Here’s an example of how a design team uses journalistic questions to identify their problem:

Overarching problem: Design requests are being missed

Who: Design team, digital marketing team, web development team

What: Design requests are forgotten, lost, or being created ad hoc.

Where: Email requests, design request spreadsheet

When: Missed requests on January 20th, January 31st, February 4th, February 6th

## 2. Brainstorm multiple solutions

Here are a few brainstorming techniques to encourage creative thinking:

## 3. Define the solution

## 4. Implement the solution

## Implement common problem-solving strategies

## Trial and error

This problem-solving method is often used in tech support teams through troubleshooting.

Problem: The email marketing campaign was accidentally sent to the wrong audience.

“Why did this happen?” Because the audience name was not updated in our email platform.

## A SWOT analysis

Strength: Why is this specific solution a good fit for this problem?

Opportunities: What other benefits could arise from implementing this solution?

Threats: Is there anything about this decision that can detrimentally impact your team?

## Even more successful problem solving

## Related resources

## Asana Forward

## Streamline your tech stack with enterprise resource planning

## Team collaboration software and tools: 11 picks for 2023

## 6 strategies to make group decisions quickly

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## Problem-Solving Strategies and Obstacles

JGI / Jamie Grill / Getty Images

## What Is Problem-Solving?

The problem-solving process involves:

- Discovery of the problem
- Deciding to tackle the issue
- Seeking to understand the problem more fully
- Researching available options or solutions
- Taking action to resolve the issue

## Problem-Solving Mental Processes

Several mental processes are at work during problem-solving. Among them are:

- Perceptually recognizing the problem
- Representing the problem in memory
- Considering relevant information that applies to the problem
- Identifying different aspects of the problem
- Labeling and describing the problem

## Problem-Solving Strategies

## Trial and Error

## How to Apply Problem-Solving Strategies in Real Life

- Create a flow chart . If you have time, you can take advantage of the algorithm approach to problem-solving by sitting down and making a flow chart of each potential solution, its consequences, and what happens next.
- Recall your past experiences . When a problem needs to be solved fairly quickly, heuristics may be a better approach. Think back to when you faced a similar issue, then use your knowledge and experience to choose the best option possible.
- Start trying potential solutions . If your options are limited, start trying them one by one to see which solution is best for achieving your desired goal. If a particular solution doesn't work, move on to the next.
- Take some time alone . Since insight is often achieved when you're alone, carve out time to be by yourself for a while. The answer to your problem may come to you, seemingly out of the blue, if you spend some time away from others.

## Obstacles to Problem-Solving

- Assumptions: When dealing with a problem, people can make assumptions about the constraints and obstacles that prevent certain solutions. Thus, they may not even try some potential options.
- Functional fixedness : This term refers to the tendency to view problems only in their customary manner. Functional fixedness prevents people from fully seeing all of the different options that might be available to find a solution.
- Irrelevant or misleading information: When trying to solve a problem, it's important to distinguish between information that is relevant to the issue and irrelevant data that can lead to faulty solutions. The more complex the problem, the easier it is to focus on misleading or irrelevant information.
- Mental set: A mental set is a tendency to only use solutions that have worked in the past rather than looking for alternative ideas. A mental set can work as a heuristic, making it a useful problem-solving tool. However, mental sets can also lead to inflexibility, making it more difficult to find effective solutions.

## Get Advice From The Verywell Mind Podcast

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## How to Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills

- Recognize that a problem exists . If you are facing a problem, there are generally signs. For instance, if you have a mental illness , you may experience excessive fear or sadness, mood changes, and changes in sleeping or eating habits. Recognizing these signs can help you realize that an issue exists.
- Decide to solve the problem . Make a conscious decision to solve the issue at hand. Commit to yourself that you will go through the steps necessary to find a solution.
- Seek to fully understand the issue . Analyze the problem you face, looking at it from all sides. If your problem is relationship-related, for instance, ask yourself how the other person may be interpreting the issue. You might also consider how your actions might be contributing to the situation.
- Research potential options . Using the problem-solving strategies mentioned, research potential solutions. Make a list of options, then consider each one individually. What are some pros and cons of taking the available routes? What would you need to do to make them happen?
- Take action . Select the best solution possible and take action. Action is one of the steps required for change . So, go through the motions needed to resolve the issue.
- Try another option, if needed . If the solution you chose didn't work, don't give up. Either go through the problem-solving process again or simply try another option.

Dunbar K. Problem solving . A Companion to Cognitive Science . 2017. doi:10.1002/9781405164535.ch20

National Alliance on Mental Illness. Warning signs and symptoms .

Mayer RE. Thinking, problem solving, cognition, 2nd ed .

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## How to Solve Problems

To bring the best ideas forward, teams must build psychological safety.

## Partner Center

Lean Events and Training / Forms and Templates

## Forms and Templates

Downloads for A3 problem solving, standard work , project management, and value stream mapping .

## Problem Solving Templates

A3 Action Plan Form (from Getting the Right Things Done)

- The action plan template helps define the who, what, when, where, and how of a plan on one page.
- Helps track progress and highlight problems so action can be taken.

A3 Status Review Form (from Getting the Right Things Done)

- Top box provides an overview with respect to our critical end-of-pipe metrics.
- Second box provides an overview of activities, and usually reflects what’s been prescribed on the action plan of the right side of the strategy A3.

A3 Strategy Form (from Getting the Right Things Done)

- A strategy A3 is a one-page storyboard on 11-inch by 17-inch paper that helps tell the strategy “story.”
- Logic flows from top left to bottom right, and each box leads to the next one.

Detailed A3 Template (from Managing to Learn)

PDSA A3 Template (from On the Mend)

Managing to Learn: Using the A3 management process

Beau Keyte , Tom Shuker and Judy Worth

## Standard Work Templates

Standard Work Operator Balance Chart (OBC)

Standard Work Process Study Sheet

Standard Work Production Analysis Board

Standard Work Skills Training Matrix

- The Skills Training Matrix shows the required and attained skills of every operator.
- The training schedule also should be shown.

- The standardized work chart shows operator movement and material location in relation to the machine and overall process layout.
- It should show takt time, work sequence, and standard WIP.

Standardized Work Combination Table

- The standardized work combination table shows the combination of manual work time, walk time, and machine processing time for each operation in a production sequence.
- This form is a more precise process design tool than the Operator Balance Chart.
- It can be very helpful to identify the waste of waiting and overburden, and to confirm standard.

Standardized Work Job Instruction Sheet

- The job instruction sheet is used to train new operations.
- It lists the steps of the job, detailing any special knack that may be required to perform the job safely with utmost quality and efficiency.
- It can also be useful for experienced operators to reconfirm the right operations.

Standardized Work Process Capacity Sheet

- The Process Capacity Chart is used to calculate the capacity of each machine to confirm true capacity and to identify and eliminate bottlenecks.
- Processing capacity per shift will be calculated from the available production time, completion time, and tool-change time (and other factors as necessary) for each work piece.

Waste Walk Template (from Perfecting Patient Journeys)

- Taking a “waste walk” is one way to make the waste visible again.
- A waste walk is simply a planned visit to where work is being performed to observe what’s happening and to note the waste. It differs from go-see activities in that you are specifically looking for waste.

Toshiko Narusawa and John Shook

## Training Within Industry (TWI) Templates and Downloads

8-step TWI problem solving card - as presented by IBM

Template of Job Breakdown Sheet

- Job breakdown sheets are created to list the steps and highlight the main factors or key points that go into completing a job.
- It also provides reasons for these key points.

James (Jim) Womack, PhD and Dan Jones

## Project Management Templates

Master Schedule and Action Plan Template for One Goal (from Perfecting Patient Journeys)

End of Project Review Template (from Perfecting Patient Journeys)

Master Schedule Template (from Perfecting Patient Journeys)

Team Board Form (from Getting the Right Things Done)

- A team board is a window on both routine and improvement work.
- The board on this template addresses both daily production and strategic issues, and is organized according to SQDCM—safety, quality, delivery, cost, and morale.

Value Proposition Template (from Perfecting Patient Journeys)

- Align the stakeholders around what will be included in addressing the problem,
- Identify the stakeholders who will be added to the project team and actively engaged in creating the current- and future-state value-stream maps,
- Identify additional stakeholders necessary to drive the implementation of the future state,
- Serve as an agreement—a proof of consensus—on the specific problem to be solved, and with the problem statement serve as authorization for the entire project.

Action Planning Template (from Perfecting Patient Journeys)

- Identify the specific changes that need to be made and translate those changes into clearly stated goals and actions (i.e., the means) to achieve those goals.
- Identify the specific methods and action steps you think will help you achieve the goals. These action steps and targets constitute the action plan to achieve a specific goal.

## Value-Stream Mapping Templates

Value-stream Mapping Icons for Excel

Lean Enterprise Institute , Mike Rother and John Shook

Mapping to See: Value-Stream Improvement Workshop

Beau Keyte , Jim Luckman , Kirk Paluska , Guy Parsons , John Shook , Tom Shuker and David Verble

## Improvement Kata / Coaching Kata

Improvement Kata Learner's Storyboard

## Subscribe to get the very best of lean thinking delivered right to your inbox

## 7.3 Problem-Solving

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

- Describe problem solving strategies
- Define algorithm and heuristic
- Explain some common roadblocks to effective problem solving

## PROBLEM-SOLVING STRATEGIES

- When one is faced with too much information
- When the time to make a decision is limited
- When the decision to be made is unimportant
- When there is access to very little information to use in making the decision
- When an appropriate heuristic happens to come to mind in the same moment

## Additional Problem Solving Strategies :

- Abstraction – refers to solving the problem within a model of the situation before applying it to reality.
- Analogy – is using a solution that solves a similar problem.
- Brainstorming – refers to collecting an analyzing a large amount of solutions, especially within a group of people, to combine the solutions and developing them until an optimal solution is reached.
- Divide and conquer – breaking down large complex problems into smaller more manageable problems.
- Hypothesis testing – method used in experimentation where an assumption about what would happen in response to manipulating an independent variable is made, and analysis of the affects of the manipulation are made and compared to the original hypothesis.
- Lateral thinking – approaching problems indirectly and creatively by viewing the problem in a new and unusual light.
- Means-ends analysis – choosing and analyzing an action at a series of smaller steps to move closer to the goal.
- Method of focal objects – putting seemingly non-matching characteristics of different procedures together to make something new that will get you closer to the goal.
- Morphological analysis – analyzing the outputs of and interactions of many pieces that together make up a whole system.
- Proof – trying to prove that a problem cannot be solved. Where the proof fails becomes the starting point or solving the problem.
- Reduction – adapting the problem to be as similar problems where a solution exists.
- Research – using existing knowledge or solutions to similar problems to solve the problem.
- Root cause analysis – trying to identify the cause of the problem.

- 1. Only one disk can be moved at a time.
- 2. Each move consists of taking the upper disk from one of the stacks and placing it on top of another stack or on an empty rod.
- 3. No disc may be placed on top of a smaller disk.

## Figure 7.02. Steps for solving the Tower of Hanoi in the minimum number of moves when there are 3 disks.

## Figure 7.03. Graphical representation of nodes (circles) and moves (lines) of Tower of Hanoi.

## GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY AND PROBLEM SOLVING

## Grande (another chimp in the group studied by Kohler) builds a three-box structure to reach the bananas, while Sultan watches from the ground. Insight , sometimes referred to as an “Ah-ha” experience, was the term Kohler used for the sudden perception of useful relations among objects during problem solving (Kohler, 1927; Radvansky & Ashcraft, 2013).

## How long did it take you to solve this sudoku puzzle? (You can see the answer at the end of this section.)

## Did you figure it out? (The answer is at the end of this section.) Once you understand how to crack this puzzle, you won’t forget.

## What steps did you take to solve this puzzle? You can read the solution at the end of this section.

1. A specific formula for solving a problem is called ________.

2. Solving the Tower of Hanoi problem tends to utilize a ________ strategy of problem solving.

3. A mental shortcut in the form of a general problem-solving framework is called ________.

4. Which type of bias involves becoming fixated on a single trait of a problem?

5. Which type of bias involves relying on a false stereotype to make a decision?

b. student load payment options

1. What is functional fixedness and how can overcoming it help you solve problems?

2. How does an algorithm save you time and energy when solving a problem?

Personal Application Question:

## Answers to Exercises

algorithm: problem-solving strategy characterized by a specific set of instructions

confirmation bias: faulty heuristic in which you focus on information that confirms your beliefs

heuristic: mental shortcut that saves time when solving a problem

hindsight bias: belief that the event just experienced was predictable, even though it really wasn’t

mental set: continually using an old solution to a problem without results

problem-solving strategy: method for solving problems

working backwards: heuristic in which you begin to solve a problem by focusing on the end result

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## Module 1: Problem Solving Strategies

1. Image of Pólya by Thane Plambeck from Palo Alto, California (Flickr) [CC BY

First, you have to understand the problem.

After understanding, then make a plan.

Look back on your work. How could it be better?

Problem Solving Strategy 1 (Guess and Test)

Step 1: Understanding the problem

We are given in the problem that there are 25 chickens and cows.

All together there are 76 feet.

Chickens have 2 feet and cows have 4 feet.

We are trying to determine how many cows and how many chickens Mr. Jones has on his farm.

Going to use Guess and test along with making a tab

Many times the strategy below is used with guess and test.

Make a table and look for a pattern:

Notice we are going in the wrong direction! The total number of feet is decreasing!

Better! The total number of feet are increasing!

1. Click on this link to see an example of “Guess and Test”

http://www.mathstories.com/strategies.htm

2. Click on this link to see another example of Guess and Test.

http://www.mathinaction.org/problem-solving-strategies.html

Videos to watch demonstrating how to use "Draw a Picture".

1. Click on this link to see an example of “Draw a Picture”

2. Click on this link to see another example of Draw a Picture.

Problem Solving Strategy 3 ( Using a variable to find the sum of a sequence.)

Gauss's strategy for sequences.

last term = fixed number ( n -1) + first term

Ex: 2, 5, 8, ... Find the 200th term.

To find the sum of a sequence: sum = [(first term + last term) (number of terms)]/ 2

Sum = (2 + 599) (200) then divide by 2

Check in question 3: (10 points)

Find the 320 th term of 7, 10, 13, 16 …

Then find the sum of the first 320 terms.

Problem Solving Strategy 4 (Working Backwards)

Videos to watch demonstrating of “Working Backwards”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FFWTsMEeJw

1. We start with 11 and work backwards.

2. The opposite of subtraction is addition. We will add 7 to 11. We are now at 18.

3. The opposite of doubling something is dividing by 2. 18/2 = 9

4. This should be our answer. Looking back:

Christina is thinking of a number.

Problem Solving Strategy 5 (Looking for a Pattern)

Definition: A sequence is a pattern involving an ordered arrangement of numbers.

We first need to find a pattern.

Example 3: 10, 7, 4, 1, -2… find the next 2 numbers.

In this sequence, the numbers are decreasing by 3. So the next 2 numbers would be -2 -3 = -5

Example 4: 1, 2, 4, 8 … find the next two numbers.

So each number is being multiplied by 2.

1. Click on this link to see an example of “Looking for a Pattern”

2. Click on this link to see another example of Looking for a Pattern.

Problem Solving Strategy 6 (Make a List)

Example 1 : Can perfect squares end in a 2 or a 3?

List all the squares of the numbers 1 to 20.

1 4 9 16 25 36 49 64 81 100 121 144 169 196 225 256 289 324 361 400.

Videos demonstrating "Make a List"

How many ways can you make change for 23 cents using only pennies, nickels, and dimes? (10 points)

Problem Solving Strategy 7 (Solve a Simpler Problem)

How would we find the nth term?

1. To get from 1 to 3 what did we do?

2. To get from 3 to 9 what did we do?

Looking back: How would you find the nth term?

Find the 10 th term of the above sequence.

Problem Solving Strategy 8 (Process of Elimination)

This strategy can be used when there is only one possible solution.

It is more than 1 but less than 100.

a. We know it is an odd number between 1 and 100.

b. It is greater than 20 but less than 35

21, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31, 33, 35. These are the possibilities.

Check in question 6: (8 points)

The sum of the digits is divisible by 2.

The number is a multiple of 11.

Click on this link for a quick review of the problem solving strategies.

https://garyhall.org.uk/maths-problem-solving-strategies.html

## IMAGES

## VIDEO

## COMMENTS

Problem Solving Strategies by Arthur Engel Topics Problems, Mathematics, Olympiad Collection opensource Language English Problem-Solving Strategies is a unique collection of competition problems from over twenty major national and international mathematical competitions for high school students.

claim to be problem-driven but are in fact solution-driven. They define their problem as the lack of a preferred solution which often leads to standardized interventions that never address the root causes of the problem. PDIA is about building capability to solve problems through the process of solving good problems. A good problem is one that:

PEL-083 A PELP Problem-Solving Approach . 2 . Teams rarely move through each step sequentially, and might get stuck and revisit earlier steps throughout the process. However, each step is critical to improving system-wide performance. Steps . Identify the Problem. The first and most critical step of solving a performance problem is to

can use problem solving to teach the skills of mathematics, and how prob-lem solving should be presented to their students. They must understand that problem solving can be thought of in three different ways: 1. Problem solving is a subject for study in and of itself. 2. Problem solving is an approach to a particular problem. 3.

Problem-solving strategies From Problems and Solutions in Introductory Mechanics (Draft version, August 2014) David Morin, [email protected] TO THE READER: This book is available as both a paperback and an eBook. I have made a few chapters available on the web, but it is possible (based on past experience) that a pirated

Here's how you can effectively break down the problem-solving process with your team: 1. Identify the problem that needs to be solved One of the easiest ways to identify a problem is to ask questions. A good place to start is to ask journalistic questions, like: Who: Who is involved with this problem? Who caused the problem?

Here are some examples of problem-solving strategies you can practice using to see which works best for you in different situations: 1. Define the problem Taking the time to define a potential challenge can help you identify certain elements to create a plan to resolve them.

STRATEGIES FOR SOLVING PROBLEMS problem is in fact solvable), so you can go searching for it. It might be a conservation law, or an F = ma equation, etc. 3. Solve things symbolically. If you are solving a problem where the given quantities are speciﬂed numerically, you should immediately change the numbers to letters and solve the problem in ...

The problem-solving process involves: Discovery of the problem Deciding to tackle the issue Seeking to understand the problem more fully Researching available options or solutions Taking action to resolve the issue Before problem-solving can occur, it is important to first understand the exact nature of the problem itself.

MATH PROBLEM SOLVERS THINK STRATEGICALLY -Response Here are some strategies to solve a math problem. These strategies begin with Math Practice Standard 1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. They all start with read the problem carefully to figure out what it asks. Read each sentence carefully to make sure you comprehend it.

You need to stop and identify these different stages to make sure the group is aligned. For example, while one colleague might join a problem-solving discussion ready to evaluate assumptions...

of problem solving. Evolutionary flexon Evolutionary algorithms have won games of chess and solved huge optimization problems that overwhelm most computational resources. Their success rests on the power of generating diversity by introducing randomness and parallelization into the search procedure and quickly filtering out suboptimal solutions.

(PDF) Problem Solving Strategies Problem Solving Strategies Authors: Fons Vernooij Abstract Problem-based learning requires the development of problem solving skills. Therefor cognitive...

Problems become more difficult when there is no obvious solution and strategies that you have tried in the past don't work. These types of problems cause a great deal of stress and anxiety, and they require a new and different strategy. The Steps to Solving Daily Life Problems Step 1: Is there a problem?

Handbook on Problem-solving Skills 5 2 Causes of Poor Problem-Solving Ineffective or poor problem-solving can be the result of any of the following factors. These factors act like blinkers, constricting the perspective of person in the process of problem-solving. 1. Bounded Rationality: Propounded by Herbert Simon, the concept of bounded

We use these clues to write an equation. Number problems don't usually arise on an everyday basis, but they provide a good introduction to practicing the problem solving strategy outlined above. Exercise 3.1.7. The difference of a number and six is 13. Find the number.

and solve problems using quantitative, or mathematical, methods. Generally, there are three basic steps in solving a mathematics problem: • Step 1: Understand the problem • Step 2: Carry out a strategy for solving the problem • Step 3: Check your answer Here is a description of the three steps, followed by a list of useful strategies for ...

A3 Strategy Form (from Getting the Right Things Done) A strategy A3 is a one-page storyboard on 11-inch by 17-inch paper that helps tell the strategy "story.". Logic flows from top left to bottom right, and each box leads to the next one. Download.

Various methods of studying problem solving exist within the field of psychology including introspection, behavior analysis and behaviorism, simulation, computer modeling, and experimentation. A problem-solving strategy is a plan of action used to find a solution. Different strategies have different action plans associated with them (table below).

As mentioned above, every field uses problem solving and each field has a different perspective on how problem solving works for them. This section covers a few definitions of problem solving in four most common fields. Psychology Problem solving is used in psychology to try and obtain solutions to problems dealing with mental health.

Problem Solving Strategies | PDF 67% (3) 925 views 415 pages Problem Solving Strategies Original Title: problem solving strategies Uploaded by Any Trisetyorini Description: its good to increase your math ability Copyright: Attribution Non-Commercial (BY-NC) Available Formats Download as PDF or read online from Scribd Flag for inappropriate content

Step 2: Devise a plan. Going to use Guess and test along with making a tab. Many times the strategy below is used with guess and test. Make a table and look for a pattern: Procedure: Make a table reflecting the data in the problem.