Seven step problem solving technique

publication date 23.04.2012

The Seven Step Problem Solving method is designed to provide systemic solutions to relatively complex problems. It is utilized to plan new processes, too. The method si appropriate for both individuals and teams alike.  

The History

The method was developed by The Quality Management Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, with its purpose being to find suitable solutions to problems identified.  


The Principle


The method is based upon PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) and SDCA (Standard-Do-Check-Act). It looks for the casuses of problems, aimed at improvement. It is process-oriented. The original wording of the method consists of the following steps: **Problem – Data – Cause – Solution – Results – Deployment – Debrief.** 


The Application Procedure


**1. Defining the problem** – describe the problem you have identified. Define the aim or commitment you need to achieve. Also, at this stage, it is appropriate to define the key parameters of the envisaged improvement.  


**2. Collecting and analyzing the data** – gather all the relevant data and information available. Analyze it and verify you have really defined the problem you need to resolve correctly. 


**3. Analyzing the causes** – determine all possible causes of the problem. You can utilize the Ishikawa diagram, brainstorming, experiment, analysis of historical data, information, trends, etc. Note down and file everything properly.  


**4. Developing and implementing the solutions** – identify a convenient solution to find out the most likely cause. Plan the implementation of the solution thoroughly.  


**5. Evaluation of the effect** – with the solution being applied in practice, verify whether you have reached the planned effect, and, in particular, whether you have eliminated the root cause.  


**6. Standardization of the solutions** – if the solution has proven its worth, include it in your standard procedures. Measure/monitor the solution´s effect for a specified period of time.  


**7. Lessons learned** – if you have really found a long-term solution to the problem, review the 7-step problem solving project and establish whether there are similar problems to be resolved.  Train the personnel concerned to apply new knowledge and experience.  


In using this method, it is also appropriate to check the costs of the solution. Appoint a responsible person to be in charge of the method´s implementation.  


It is indeed a method for everyone, being especially suitable for resolving more complex problems, as it would be too complicated and costly for trivial ones.  


This method can be classified as heuristic.  


The method description by "Jiří Střelec":, a consultant


Advisor ideas

„A consultant's mission is to identify suitable ways of solving his or her clients's problems and create systems to work for people.“ more >>

Jiří Střelec Jiří Střelec

If you are concerned with a person, worker, manager being able to develop themselves on their own, it is not appropriate to give them “advice“, but to show them possible directions. Then the person alone will choose such a road to walk as is close to their heart. One which is close to their abilities, one that they are inclined to walk down. It is up to the OwnWay consultant to search and show such roads as will help people resolve their problems. Roads invariably require a system. Whether it is a system for personal use (in private life, family) or corporate use. All these systems are supposed to be easy to use, usable … well, simply for the folks.

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