Problem Solving

For decades I’ve used a six-step method for solving problems. There are 8-step variations and shorter versions that combine steps. The keys to prevent recurrences are to fully understand the current situation (step 2), search until you find actual root causes (step 4), then monitor long enough to verify the countermeasures worked (step 6). The other steps make these steps more palatable.

Too often we want to briefly describe the problem and jump in with solutions before we know exactly what the problem is or why it’s occurring.

The Six Steps: DISSEV

Describe the Problem

Investigate the Current Situation

Specify the Target Conditions

Search for the Root Causes

Experiment with Countermeasures

Verify Countermeasures Addressed Root Causes

Two other tools need mentioning here: PDCA and A3