"We need to first define the problem. Albert Einstein once said: “If I had an hour to save the world I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute finding solutions” And I find in most organizations people are running around spending sixty minutes finding solutions to problems that don’t matter." — Stephen Shapiro
The problem statement is a clear and concise statement that describes the symptoms of the problem to be addressed. Defining the problem statement provides three benefits for the team:
- creates a sense of ownership for the team
- focuses the team on an accepted problem
- describes the symptoms in measurable terms
- Define the problem - In the problem statement, team members define the problem in specific terms. They present facts such as the product type and the error made.
- Identify where the problem is appearing - Identifying where the problem is appearing, or manifesting, as specifically as possible helps the team focus its improvement efforts.
- Describe the size of the problem - The size of the problem is described in measurable terms.
- Describe the impact the problem is having on the organization - The description of the problem's impact on the organization should be as specific as possible.