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

„Do not give credence to what they tell you without verification or without knowing it comes from a reliable information source.“ more >>

Jiří Střelec Jiří Střelec

It is all very easy to trust nice words of the others: how many skills they possess, how hard they will work, how they work overtime, etc. The reality, however, is anything but ideal. Company owners know their bit about it. Most likely to complain are managers and owners who do not check on new workers, who do not ask for references, do not call their last employer or carry out a spot check. Regardless of whether you are in production, construction, a sweetshop or a development department, it si always essential to verify information. It may not be outright fraud or a lie, very often it is just ignorance, different experience, etc. A timely checking will spare you a lot of time and money.

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