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The 8 Step Problem-Solving Methodology

The eight-step problem-solving process is commonly employed as a problem solving and preventative corrective action methodology. This method defines a step-by-step process to follow from problem identification to problem solving (preventative) actions.

Problem Solving Methodology

1. Problem Identification
Identify the problem and why it’s a problem. Define how it was identified and the impact to the business.

2. Problem Definition
Define the problem in clear and specific terms so later on you can take meaningful, actionable actions to correct.

3. Create a “Goal”
Define your objective, detailing the benefits of eliminating it. Set a plan with owners and target dates to accomplish the “goal.” 

4. Determine the absolute Root Cause of the Problem
Focus on the true cause of the problem. Don’t get distracted by problems which are the result of more deeper, central problems.  Collect information and analyze it to identify any deeper issues. Validate and focus on the true cause of the problem.

5. Define Corrective Actions
Create your list of actions, owners, completion dates to correct the “root cause” problem. Meaningful actions will prevent re-occurrence.

6. Execution
Follow through and up on the actionable, preventative corrections. Involve the entire team affected, explaining why delegating as necessary. Communicate the objective of each action so it’s clear how it connects back to the “goal” and overall problem resolution.

7. Observation and Evaluation
Measure the effectiveness of the actions and evaluate against the problem identification. Collect data, communicate, and adjust if necessary based on new information gained.

8. Follow Up
If successful, integrate into the routine. If not, determine where the break-down occurred and return to that step and continue through the process again until successful. Share results with your team.