Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mistakes in Problem Solving

Problem solving happens in everyday life. When it comes to problem solving in business the problems become much more difficult. Having taken 4 classes focusing on quality that requires problem solving and how to problem solve. I wanted to focus on some of the mistakes that teams make while in the process of problem solving from my experience and an article I have read about general problems of problem solving.  I am going to focus on three general mistakes that teams make the lack of GEMBA walks, Root Cause analysis, and Performance Measure.

Many teams when problem solving, hear the problem from the person if affects and does not actually experience the problem. GEMBA, are walks that problem solvers take to see the problem. I have had experience where three of us are in a room trying to solve the problem with hypothetical guesses. A team that guesses about the process they have not seen normally doesn't work. Take the team to go see the current situation and utilize the information and facts that you collect from the GEMBA walk and talking to the workers and the customers.

Root Cause is a key component of problem solving. All teams do a version of a root cause analysis however, there needs to be a strong leader during this step to keep the team focused on what the plausible causes could be while brainstorming and finding the root cause. The problem that often occurs when trying to find the root cause are teams often get focused on the results or open up a new generic problem that is not focused on the problem at hand. It is important for the leader of the team to keep the team focused, break down every problem and harness the team to stay with in the scope of the problem.

Finally, the other mistake that I have personally witnessed is lack of performance measuring.  The burden of measuring performance with outdated software tends to be a nuisance in businesses however that is not a problem nor excuse not to measure performance. There should be two questions that are asked before you begin problem solving. 1 What should be happening? 2 What is actually happening? And the next step is to quantify those questions with actual data. It is not a matter of having computer software to tell you the data but rather having the right people to go out and find and collect the correct data. If there is not a significant measurable gab then a problem solving report such as a A3 will be extremely difficult to measure. You will not know the countermeasures are effectively addressing the root cause.


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