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With a well-defined problem analysis and problem solving process in place, you will realise major business benefits

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Practical Problem Solving Tips

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Practical problem solving tips

Practical Problem

Solving Tips

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

E:[email protected]


Practical problem solving tips

Introduction

This slide set is designed to help us become

more effective in problem analysis and problem

solving

It will:

Look at some common approaches

Present some interesting challenges to overcome

Provide pragmatic, useable tips and techniques to

help us refresh and improve our problem analysis and

problem solving skills

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

E:[email protected]


Practical problem solving tips

Question

What is a

Problem?

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

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Practical problem solving tips

Answer

A discrepancy between

what is and whatshould be

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

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Practical problem solving tips

Types of problem solving

Fire fighting

Fishbone diagrams

Mind mapping

Analytical

Creative

Brainstorming

Teamwork

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

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Practical problem solving tips

Some benefits

 The more often we follow a

consistent approach

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

E:[email protected]


Practical problem solving tips

The 4 Ps of problem solving

Patience

Practice

Persistence

Perseverance

Plus a good dose of

Common Sense

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

E:[email protected]


Practical problem solving tips

Current situation?

Problems often take too long to identify and

solve?

We jump straight in with a solution without

assessing the problem properly?

Too much time spent fire-fighting?

Inconsistent approach?

No formal and documented approach/process?

Go for the complex solution and ignore the

obvious one?

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

E:[email protected]


Practical problem solving tips

If only we KNEW what we KNOW

88% of organisational knowledge is currently not

searchable or retrievable

Up to 20% of our time is spent finding answers

to problems that have already been solved

As much as 12% of our time is spent looking for

sources of information

- Delphi Group

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

E:[email protected]


Practical problem solving tips

The SIX key questions

What?

 Where?

 When?

 How?

 Why?

 Who?

“I keep six honest serving men.

They taught me all I know:

Their names are What and Why

and When and How and Where

and Who.”

Rudyard Kipling

(The ‘Just So’ stories)

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

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Practical problem solving tips

Known barriers to effective decision-making

 Indecision

 Stalling

 Overreacting

 Vacillating

 Half measures

 Making assumptions

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

E:[email protected]


Practical problem solving tips

Problem solving on the ‘phone

Simple guidelines

Requires a well-structured approach

Talk to customers in business language

Don’t expect them to be an ‘expert’ in IT

Remember they are an expert in their field

Ensure you understand their issue

Ask questions to confirm your understanding

Re-state the ‘problem’ for clarification

Document what they are saying

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

E:[email protected]


Practical problem solving tips

Problem solving on the ‘phone

Simple guidelines

NEVER make assumptions

Be empathic

Think before you speak - customer perception

Advise the customer YOU cannot immediately

solve their problem - if this is true

Ensure the customer feels confident that the

team will look after their interests and keep them

informed

Be professional at all times (not matter what the

provocation!)

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

E:[email protected]


Practical problem solving tips

Influences on group decisions

Peer pressure:

Members are reluctant to go against the majority viewpoint

Critical reasoning stifled, leading to wrong decisions being

made - group think

Successful groups are over confident and so take riskier

decisions

Majority view:

Groups make more extreme decisions than each

individual's decisions

Group polarisation

Pulling your weight:

Individuals put in less effort into achieving decisions than

other members - social loafing

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

E:[email protected]


Practical problem solving tips

Find the best solution for the situation

 Don't view any alternative as the ‘perfect solution’.

If there were such a thing, there probably wouldn't be a

problem in the first place.

 Suspend judgment and criticism when first collecting

ideas

 Involve a trusted colleague

 Is there something you missed?

 Do they see a problem with your approach /solution?

 Compromise

 Consider compromise when you have a full grasp of the problem

and your alternatives

 Competing solutions may yield a hybrid solution.

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

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Practical problem solving tips

Knowing when to escalate is essential

Many IT specialists mistakenly believe that

escalating a problem is an admission of

incompetence, so they violate established

escalation guidelines.

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

E:[email protected]


Practical problem solving tips

Business impact assignment

You need an agreed business impact, urgency

and priority assignment approach that ensures

business critical issues are handled first

Ensure you have a clear incident process and

procedure in place. This will ensure a structured

approach is followed when you are under

pressure

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

E:[email protected]


Practical problem solving tips

Keep customers informed

It’s imperative that the correct people are kept

informed

 Customers experience major frustration when they

have to wait for a status update

 Managing customer expectation is the key to success

 Customers appreciate knowing what’s been done, the

current status of their problem and when to expect a

resolution

 Don’t forget about your own management team – they

won’t like to be embarrassed

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

E:[email protected]


Practical problem solving tips

Proactive problem analysis & trending

“We never seem to make

the time to be proactive,

but always have the time

to be reactive”

Dr Don Page

“The Too Busy Syndrome”

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

E:[email protected]


Practical problem solving tips

Proactive problem analysis & trending

 Identify and resolve problems before new Incidents

occur

 Identify potential problems quicker

 Verify implemented improvements have been

successful:

• Incidents are being solved faster

• The same incidents and problems are not

re-occurring

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

E:[email protected]


Practical problem solving tips

Questions to drive analysis

 Why is it necessary?

 When should it be done (e.g. now, after hours, weekly)?

 Where is the information for analysis located?

 Who should do it?

 What should be done?

 How should it be done?

 How should it bedocumented?

 Who should we inform and when?

 How should we inform others?

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

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Practical problem solving tips

Analysis should identify/highlight

 Request types having the biggest business impact

 Request types occurring the most often (and who

experiences them most)

 Where requests are occurring

 When requests are occurring

 Who/what is experiencing the most requests

 Request types taking up staff time the most

 Request types taking the longest time to turn around

 If service improvements have been successful

 Customer training needs

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

E:[email protected]


Practical problem solving tips

Trending focuses

 Service affected

 Reported symptom

 Affect configuration item(s) (Optional)

 Identified root cause

 Resolution applied

 Service agreement used (Optional)

 Actual individual time spent

 Elapsed time spent

 Location

 Business impact

 Cost/revenue impact (Optional)

 Customer satisfaction

Ensure all incidents

are classified with

A ROOT CAUSE and

RESOLUTION code

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

E:[email protected]


Practical problem solving tips

Proactive perception analysis

Proactive perception analysis should primarily

focus on:

Requests not meeting agreed targets

Re-scheduled requests

Poor customer satisfaction

Incidents being ‘bounced’ around

Re-opened requests

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

E:[email protected]


Practical problem solving tips

Things we can do to save time in problem solving

Record/document everything

we do

Provide diagnostic scripts,

checklists and staff skills

matrix

Improved testing and release

process

Provide up-to-date processes

and procedures

Share knowledge and

communicate better

Have accurate configuration

management database

(CMDB)

Enter detailed classification

into incident records

Perform regular analysis and

link to KPIs

Develop knowledge base with

access to known errors,

solutions and workarounds

Spend more time planning

and evaluating risks

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

E:[email protected]


Practical problem solving tips

Top tip: ask "Why?" five times

 Ask "Why" a problem is occurring - and then ask "Why" four more

times. For example...

1. Why has the machine stopped?

A fuse blew because of an overload

2. Why was there an overload?

There wasn't enough lubrication for the bearings

3. Why wasn't there enough lubrication?

The pump wasn't pumping enough

4. Why wasn't lubricant being pumped?

The pump shaft was vibrating as a result of abrasion

5. Why was there abrasion?

There was no filter, allowing chips of material into the pump

Installation of a filter solves this problem

From "What a Great Idea" by Chic Thompson

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

E:[email protected]


Practical problem solving tips

200 IT staff surveyed

The top 10 common mistakes we make

 Making quick assumptions (an assumption is

something that is accepted as true without verification)

 Not collecting/having/being given the facts

 Being supplied with inaccurate/incomplete information

 Not properly evaluating/reproducing the condition

 Pressure from customer/business to deliver NOW

 Agreeing a time frame without understanding the

problem, impact, risks and resources required

 Trying to fix things beyond our skillset

 Not escalating a request early enough

 Not involving the right people

 Not keeping the customer/business informed

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

E:[email protected]


Practical problem solving tips

Summary

With a well-defined problem analysis and problem

solving process in place, you will realise major

business benefits:

 Repetitive problems solved permanently

 Reduction in the number of incidents and

problems

 Minimised business impact

 Shared knowledge

 Reduced resolution time

 Improved productivity

 Confidence in IT improved/maintained

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

E:[email protected]


Practical problem solving tips

About Marval

Marval offers a

customer-centric

approach to IT service

management (ITSM),

encompassing ITSM

software, consultancy

and education

People

Process

Technology

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

E:[email protected]


Practical problem solving tips

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

E:[email protected]


Practical problem solving tips

Thanks for watching

© 2016 Marval Software Limited

www.marval.co.uk

E:[email protected]


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