Are you wondering why you do not have the amazing problem-solving skills of your peers? Are they natural leaders or you have performance anxiety? In this article at Project Bliss, Leigh Espy discusses 7 steps to up your problem-solving skills at work.
Scaling Your Problem-Solving Skills
Leaders make bad decisions and the consequences are scary—reputation loss, demotion, or even getting fired. Though these are credible fears, you cannot avoid the responsibilities that come along with the project manager designation. Following are the 7 steps to up your problem-solving skills at work:
Finding the Actual Problem: Several problems can erupt out of a single loophole. Find out the real issue and how it is impacting your organizational growth. Discuss 5 Whys with peers to know if it needs immediate resolution or there are bigger problems to prioritize.
Investigating the Issue: Find out more information to create a foolproof solution. Ask the opinions of the ones close to the problem or have dealt with similar problems before. Ask relevant questions regarding factors, impact, the impacted, the person with information, the problem-solver, the related departments, and the solution. Try Ishikawa’s fishbone diagram to increase your problem-solving skills.
Creating a Problem Statement: A problem statement will help you discuss problems with peers more clearly. You can get buy-ins, budget allocation, and resource scheduling faster. Also, create an opportunity statement and include issues, impacts, anticipated results, and paybacks in it.
Figuring Out Potential Results: Conduct a workshop to come up with a solution. Involve people that know about the problem and probable solutions. Invite people that were involved in the processes and would facilitate handoffs, when necessary. Problem-solving skills require involving with correct people and correct software. Affinity diagram helps you in this case.
Picking Out the Best Option: Ensure you pick only the best solution. Understand the factors that would influence the problem-solving process. Consider time, resolution urgency, timeline, cost, team capabilities, resource availability, effort and complication density, risks, and solution credibility.
Working on the Best Solution: Problem-solving skills require you to work and communicate with others seamlessly. Create implementation and communication plans to maintain transparency and engage stakeholders. State the required tasks, the task owner, and the actual and expected outcomes. Jointly plan outsourcing tasks and third-party service usages. Create a timeline and set milestones as you progress. Establish quantifiable metrics to measure progress wherever possible. Your tools are projected schedule, project budget, communication plan, and basic project management skills.
Evaluating the Results: Evaluate the results of your efforts. Use metrics and data collection procedures to detect changes. For undesired results, find out the team’s focus, the implementation plan, and other viable methods.
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