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8 Step Problem Solving

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  1. 8 Step Problem Solving

  2. Exercise I • Choose a problem you are facing. • Document your problem and how you would solve it here.

  3. Why 8-Step..? Every employee needs to solve problems every day. The 8-step Problem-Solving Process is the standard practice, because: • It is a foundational skill for Lean • Brings clarity to what problem is being addressed • Ensures a thorough analysis of the problem and that root cause investigation is carried out • Helps user complete all steps • The Process is scalable • Common language

  4. 8-Step – A3 The A3 Report is a Toyota-pioneered practice. A3 is an international paper size, in the US its equivalent is 11”x17”

  5. A3 – 8-Step Process Recording • Communication tool • Share this regularly with your team and leaders • Display it…keep it visible! • Living record • Use pencil, edit, change as more is learned • Template helps ensure all steps are covered • This guide will get you started. • Once you are familiar with the technique, any blank 8-step sheet will work • Scalability • Dependent on the impact of the problem being solved • Solving the problem of where to go to lunch – no need for an A3 • Solving a problem that impacts our company financials - Yes • Accelerating implementation of our enterprise strategy – Yes

  6. A3 – 8-Step Story Board • Not a form, not even a standardized format • Adjusted for the type of story being told (e.g., quality problem versus company strategy) • Always complete the 8-Steps in sequence • No exact or specific look or format • The more visual the better (pictures, charts, no small print) • Fits on one page, break down if necessary • Flow as a story (visual story teller)

  7. 8-Step Process Recording

  8. Step 1 – Define the Problem

  9. Define the Problem What is a problem..? A gap between where you want to be and where you are Two Kinds of Gaps: • Sub-standard performance - Correct a variation to standard • Raise the Bar – A gap between current performance and where you want it to be Note: Select one you own and haven’t delegated

  10. Writing Problem Statements • Clear • Concise • Measurable (where possible) • Factual – what is known and how • Visual • Impact of doing nothing included Example format The Software Requirements Memory Jogger Write the problem statement in pencil. Erase and re-write as you learn more.

  11. Step 2 – Clarify the Problem

  12. Clarify the Problem THINK CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION! • Go to where the problem is occurring • Experience the actual process and validate ownership • Ask questions, “Only the facts.” • Interview participants • Collect artifacts, gather data - in relation to the Problem • Can you isolate or narrow down the leads for future analysis?

  13. Step 3 – Define the Goal

  14. Define the Goals • What is the end goal or desired future state? • What will you accomplish if you fix this problem? • What is the desired timeline for solving this problem? • A good goal statement is: • Specific • Measurable • Achievable • Relevant • Time based • Set individual goals for each of the down-selected ideas from Step 2 13

  15. Step 4 – Identify the Root Cause

  16. The 5 Whys Process Many tools can be used to drill down to an issue’s root cause. – for standardization and best practice it is recommended to use The 5 Whys Process. • It is a consistent approach • It can be universally applied to most situations • It provides a method to identify • Direct Root Cause • Detectability - Why the issue was not detected • Systemic Root Cause. Keep in mind: • More than 5 questions can be used when necessary. • People do not fail, processes do

  17. Effects and Causes Source: Apollo Root Cause Analysis, 3rd Ed, Dean L. Gano, 2007

  18. Step 5 – Develop Action Plan

  19. Develop an Action Plan For the selected Root Causes to be addressed • Generate a list of actions required to solve the problem (solution) • Assign an owner to each action • Assign completion date • “Lock-in” the due date – hold the team accountable for giving a reasonable date to start with and then for delivering by that date. • Identify intended benefit

  20. Step 6 – Execute Action Plan

  21. Execute Action Plan • Up until now, no changes have been made, solutions have only been offered and plans made to implement them • Implement action plan to address the root cause • Consider piloting improvements on small scale to reduce risk • Be cautious of over-analyzing • Don’t wait for the perfect solution • Verify actions are completed • Document the process

  22. Step 7 – Evaluate the Results

  23. Evaluate the Results • Monitor progress • Are you on target to meet your goals? • If not, reassess the 8-Step Problem-Solving Process • Were there any unforeseen consequences? • Did you experience ah-ha moments?

  24. Step 8 – Continuously Improve

  25. Continuously Improve • Look for additional opportunities to implement the same solution • Another product line with same design? • Where can we standardize Processes? • Communicate lessons learned • Share your problem and solution with other teams – you never know who may be trying to solve the same or similar problem • Ensure problem will not come back • Implement controls and metrics • Repeat the process to drive further improvements • Celebrate your successes

  26. Iterative Process Step 1 Step 2 Step 4 Step 5

  27. Common pitfalls • Someone else owns the process • Trying to tackle everything… choose your battles!!! • Sizing the problems: break them down into smaller problems • Not understanding the actual problem • Problem is not measurable…if you don’t know where you started, you won’t know whether you improved • No or unreliable data • Use of junk words or data • Jumping to conclusions and solutions… Problem Statement (with pitfalls): We have too many customer complaints about various things that are caused by some of our own plants. We need to reduce the number of complaints by paying more attention when we get the orders, quote and invoice them.

  28. Common pitfalls…continued • Going fast, but getting no where…how long does it take to solve a problem? …it is not about Speed, it is about moving Correctly at the Right speed. • Earn the right…study examples to understand the concepts, don’t just copy. • Lessons Learned is missed…what have we learned and how can we get better • Sustainment through standardization is missed…how do you make sure we don’t fall back?

  29. Exercise II • Think about the same problem from earlier exercise. • Utilize the 8-Step Problem Solving Process to address the same problem.



  32. Recommended Skills for more Effective Problem Solving + Critical Thinking (CBT) Better Solutions Overcoming Biases 8-Step Problem Solving = Crucial Conversations (ILT) We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

  33. References http://www.lean.org/ A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® Section 8.1.4

  34. Questions