The six steps to problem solving are:
- Identify the problem: The very first step in problem solving is the identification of the problem. An objective assessment is needed to determine the real problem.
- Define and analyze the problem: Define what the problem is and analyze the basis of the problem (i.e., what caused this problem). The time spent in this step will help you make informed choices about the solution.
- Develop possible solutions: Once the problem is analyzed, try to come up with as many solutions as possible. Solutions are not evaluated at this stage and all the potential solutions (no matter how far-fetched they seem) are considered. This is the brainstorming part.
- solve by parts: Many a times, solutions are found by parts, i.e., problem is solved in small steps, instead of trying to solve it at one go.
- decision making: At this stage, evaluate the potential solutions developed in stage 3 and decide on the best course of action. You may also seek help from trusted colleagues or your team or your supervisor.
- Implement and evaluate the solution: Implement the best course of action, decided in step 5 and evaluate if the problem has been solved.
Now you are ready for next steps, or a future course of action.