Step by step guide for Problem Solving Workshop

The SAFe recommends 6 steps to manage problem solving workshop

# 1. Agree on the Problem(s) to Solve

“A problem well stated is a problem half solved”

• Define problem statement clearly. It shouldn’t suggest solution
• The team should focus on the problem which they can control or influence
• The highest weightage should be economic impact. This would inspire team to put in best possible effort to fix it
• Focus on few and pick the most important one or max two

Tip – You should be looking at ‘What’, ‘Where’, ‘When’, ‘Impact’ but not ‘Who’. The ‘Who’ would result in blame game which is not the intention

For example:  if your problem is something related with important papers that should be stamp, you must think how to make a stamp on a digital word, in that way the solutions are getting faster and easier.

# 2. Perform Root Cause Analysis

By repeating why five times, the nature of the problem, as well as its solution, becomes clear. – Taiichi Ohno

• SAFe preloads main bones with 5 categories people, process, environment, program and tools but this can be anything.
• The team brainstorm the causes and write them against each bone. Brainstorm potential causes before putting things up on the fishbone
• Apply 5 Whys technique for each of the root cause

Example

Why? – The battery is dead. (First why)

Why? – The alternator is not functioning. (Second why)

Why? – The alternator belt has broken. (Third why)

Why? – The alternator belt was well beyond its useful service life and not replaced. (Fourth why)

Why? – The vehicle was not maintained according to the recommended service schedule. (Fifth why, a root cause)

Tip – The problem-solving teams should attempt to get at least one problem statement under at least three of the five bones

# 3. Identify the biggest root cause by using Pareto Analysis

• The teams will use a Pareto Analysis to find 20% of the root causes that caused 80% of the problem.
• Team members vote on all the root causes which came up during step 2 to identify the most significant root cause.

# 4. Restate the new problem for the biggest root-cause

• The original problem statement may no longer be a core issue. Instead it’s the root cause which led to the original problem statement
• The next step is to pick the cause with the most votes and restate it clearly as a problem. Precisely,
redefine the problem statement keeping the root cause in the mind (Highest votes)

# 5. Brainstorm solutions

• The team members will brainstorm solutions for the newer problem statement with root cause
• The team brainstorms as many possible corrective actions as they can think of within a fixed time box (about 15–30 minutes)

# 6. Create Improvement Backlog Items

• The teams would rank top 3 most likely solutions and out of which they will create improvement backlogs which would be fed to upcoming PI
• If you don’t take the action on the problem in upcoming PI, the team will lose confidence on the entire effort