301-ProblemStmtLesson - Katie Ploeger BUAD 301 Spring 2008...

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Katie Ploeger BUAD 301 Spring 2008 PROBLEM STATEMENTS “One cannot guess the real difficulties of a problem before having solved it.” Carl Ludwig Siegel 18 th c German Mathematician FACTS ABOUT PROBLEM STATEMENTS AND ALTERNATIVES A problem statement: Can be written as a question (How can we do X?) or a statement (We need to do X.). Is specific (1 issue or problem per statement). This can appear to be a very small problem. Is the subject and focus of one strategic memo. Is stated clearly in the first paragraph of the memo. Don’t be subtle or imply the problem. Each alternative: will completely solve the problem as stated. Is complete unto itself; it doesn’t need additional steps or resources to solve the problem. is different from the other alternative; in other words, one alternative doesn’t restate or duplicate the other one. solves one specific (small) problem. Avoid these problems: Do NOT suggest a two-step process, so that you are really proposing only one alternative. Do NOT suggest that both alternatives be used to solve the problem, even if they aren’t related. Do NOT be too wordy. Go to a second page if you must. Do NOT solve a problem from another department. Keep to your own department’s responsibilities and area of control. Do NOT speculate about the cause of the problem if the cause is officially unknown at this time. PROCEDURE TO CREATE A PROBLEM STATEMENT 1. List all problem areas most like to be impacted. You can add others as needed. 2. Brainstorm all factors (facts, stakeholders, who is demanding a solution) involved in the situation, categorizing by problem area as ideas come to you. Get as many factors as possible. 3. Pick one problem area to tackle. This should be consistent with your perspective (department) and your responsibility.
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