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Problem Solving, Not the magic way for solutions !

Updated: Feb 14

"problem solving considered the most complex of all intellectual functions, problem solving has been defined as higher-order cognitive process that requires the modulation and control of more routine or fundamental skills" (Goldstein & Levin, 1987).

A problem: is present unsatisfactory state that needs to be changed to the desired state as soon as possible and Some deviation from the expected standard which prevent the achievement of objectives

Problem-solving: is bridging the gap between the way things are and the way they ought to be and it's a, therefore, part and clear way to making a decision


The problem-solving model is a step by step approach to solving problems The approach is as follows:


1- Recognize that there is a problem and define it

What is the specific problem you are faced with? Write this down in clear simple language and as objectively as possible


2- Gather information

Ask about: Who – is causing it and whom does it affect, What – are the visible signs of a problem, When – does/did it occur, Where – does it occur/have an impact, Why – did it occur, How –Should the ideal situation be?


3- Analyze the information

Analysis of causes, results and past solutions, the goal is discovering useful information, suggesting conclusions, and supporting decision-making


4- Develop solutions and choose the best

Identify all the features of an ideal solution, including the conditions it has to satisfyEliminate solutions which do not satisfy the conditions/requirementsAssess the risks associated with the 'best' solutionDecide to implement this solution


5- Implement the solution

Take the appropriate action and monitor its effects


6- Evaluate the solution

Review the ultimate success of the action


The Purpose of Structured Problem Solving:

To permanently solve problems To prevent similar problems in the future To resolve problems more quickly To document and communicate the problem solution To improve our products and processes To provide a competitive advantage To provide customer satisfaction


To effectively solve problems, it is important to keep the following in mind:

Isn't just a form, it’s a process but the form is the "documentation" of the process. Isn't the end result, it’s a means to permanently solve problems and prevent them from reoccurring. Isn't a simple recipe for a checklist, it is a systematic guide to think through the process. Isn't only the Quality department's responsibility, it's a team effort that requires the involvement of experts.


The Inhibitors to Effective Problem Solving:

Problem poorly described/understood Poor team leadership or lack of critical participation Management impatience or interference Lack of management support (resources, status reviews, …) Customer impatience or interference Failure to use a logical problem-solving process Lack of technical knowledge/skills (involvement of experts)


To reach a Successful Problem Solving:

Clear goals, roles, and expectations Clear communication Time for leader and members to perform their work Leader & team member have knowledge of problem-solving tools and techniques Accurate data collection, analysis, and documentation Knowledgeable, motivated, and experienced team


Article by: Ahmed Gamal AbdelHamid

Consultation Manager and Food safety Auditor at TAKAMOL

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