We often see a problem and solution clearly, but stumble on how to actually make a change and move forward. At Imprint Plus name badges, we use the “8 Step Lean Problem Solving Model” to attack issues. It really helps, so I thought I would share the 8 Lean problem solving steps here.
The Lean 8 Step Problem Solving System:
1. Agree on the problem: Ensure the problem is clearly defined and understood by the people involved. If you can’t agree on the problem, fixing it becomes impossible.
2. Agree on the impact of the problem: Define why we care about the way things are now. How does this problem affect us? Quantify the impact if possible.
3. Agree on the root causes and determine what we can work on now: The root causes of a problem can be determined a number of ways but the tool we use is “The Five Whys”. This is a simple but powerful tool that requires asking why five times until the root cause of the problem is determined.
4. Identify “countermeasures” and agree on which ones to implement: Countermeasures are actions we could take that would make the current situation better.
5. Agree: Get a consensus on the countermeasure implementation.
6. Prioritize countermeasures: Use impact as the criteria and begin implementation
7. Monitor: Make sure that the implementation is proceeding as planned and adhere to deadlines where applicable.
8. Do a post mortem: Evaluate the implementation and collect the lessons learned.
The 8 problem solving steps might seem complicated, but by applying them consistently, problem solving becomes just another Lean Management process to be learned and fine-tuned.