December 18, 2018 Last updated December 11th, 2018 1,901 Reads share

The Five-Step Problem-Solving Approach in the Workplace

Image Credit: Depositphotos

Professional life demands individuals to portray a variety of skills to excel at their workplace. Problem-solving is one of the critical skills that an individual should possess to survive in this highly competitive world. Whenever a problem arises or a crisis occurs at the workplace, a successful business requires individuals to take a problem-solving approach. They also need to act collaboratively. Only then can tasks be executed effectively and completed in a timely fashion. On such and other occasions, individuals and teams should be skilled enough to resolve problems at hand.

Let’s face it. Problems occur when you work on a project. They are part and parcel of every project. Only 2.5 percent of companies are 100 percent able to successfully complete their projects. The figure is, indeed, more shocking than disappointing. Your project may face issues related to poorly defined objectives, improper communication, unrealistic timelines, inadequate team skills, lack of project management software, and much more. You may be unable to figure out the root cause of such problems but, you need to solve them.

Before we learn the seven-step approach to solving problems at the workplace, let us understand what kind of problems crop up.

#1. The Problem of Deadline

A project that was supposed to be completed within two weeks; takes months, if you do not have a team with the right problem-solving skills. Projects cross their deadlines with your workforce disagreeing on how things should be done. Nobody does anything to solve the problem at hand. The project gets unnecessarily delayed and this affects business success.

#2. The Problem of Culture

When the management does not pay attention to honing the problem-solving skills of its employees or coming up with a solution to the ongoing issue, company culture gets affected. Your employees are least interested in getting rid of the issue. Instead, they learn to live with it. Most importantly, people may find it difficult to work at a place where issues are swept under the rug.

#3. The Problem of Productivity

Team productivity matters a lot to complete the project. You cannot be productive or meet your project goals with a team that lacks the requisite knowledge and skills. Managers should document the core set of skills needed to accomplish the task at hand. They need to then analyze the strengths and weaknesses of those on the team. Training the workforce to enhance their knowledge and build on the skills not only makes them productive but also, complete the project within the stipulated timeframe.

#4. The Problem of a Project Management Software

Not employing a project management software is one of the grave mistakes that companies commit today. Your team ends up wasting its precious time and efforts. Having a collaborative project management software helps organizations to plan better. They can maintain the project information and resources – all in one place. Majority of the successful companies use project management software.

#5. The Problem of Communication

Ineffective communication is recognized as the primary contributor to project failure one-third of the time. There is also a negative impact on project success over half the time. Project managers realize the importance of effective communication in a project. They invest time and energy to build these skills in their team members. Ascertain proper communication flows for project members and devises a strategy to share only the needful information with project members. Using project management software in the workplace makes communication effective.

Here, we look at the five steps for effective problem-solving.

#Step 1

Identifying the issue(s)

  • Be clear about the problem;
  • Different teams may have different views on issues.
  • Pick up what issue interests people from the list of issues. They may like to resolve it first.

# Step 2

Fulfilling everyone’s interests is the key

  • Resolving issue based on the team’s interests helps a great deal.
  • Managers need to consider every opinion before coming up with the solution.
  • Put down your differences and actively listen to your team members.
  • Remember the best solution is the one that satisfies everyone’s interests.
  • Interests need not influence the final solution.

#Step 3

List all the possible solutions

  • Brainstorm to list down all the possible solutions to the problem at hand.
  • Evaluate different options as solutions and choose the most ideal solution.
  • The solution should be pragmatic and acceptable.

#Step 4

Documentation is important

  • Write down all that is discussed during the brainstorming.
  • Revisiting all the details and implications before landing up with the final solution is indispensable.
  • Ensuring that the desired solution is in the team’s interests and also based on their opinion.

#Step 5

Contingency agreement, monitoring, and evaluation

  • Life is unpredictable, so, are work conditions.
  • Make contingency agreements about anticipated future events.
  • Monitor compliance and follow-through for project success.
  • Create opportunities for the evaluation of the agreement and its implementation.

Role of Technology in Problem-Solving at the Workplace

Technology plays a crucial role in resolving problems in the workplace. A collaborative project management software empowers everyone in an organization to carry out their tasks without any hurdles. The tool allows you to organize tasks and work efficiently in teams.

The importance of project collaboration software in the workplace is realized after looking at the benefits it brings.

Advantages of a Project Collaboration Software

Collaborate on Projects

A project management software, like ProProfs Project, helps project team members to collaborate by discussing documents, pending work, and deadlines. Collaboration leads to on-time project completion, as everyone knows about their role in the project.

  • Budget Management

    Budgeting is the most important factor you need to consider when it comes to exercising control over a project. The software aids the project manager to ascertain the working budget; planned versus actual. Only can then the work be aligned. Project success depends on how well you implement the same within the specified budget.
  • Internal and External communication project management software helps to develop a funnel for communicating project-related tasks and your progress on achieving the set objectives. The communication is both internal and external. With the software in place, the business can communicate with their clients and other stakeholders. Your clients can log in and view only the relevant project-related data. They can provide direct feedback this way. Also, your client can make edits and review progress. Note that two-thirds of companies communicate with their clients using project management software.
  • MonitoringMonitoring is key to the success of any project. The “dashboard” keeps every employee focused and able to monitor his/her performance. This cuts the need for inquiring regular updates and wondering about the progress of the project. Keeping every member on the same page is what reflects the importance of project collaboration software at the workplace.
  • Document SharingDocument sharing comes in handy with a project management tool. The tool allows project managers and their teams to share and access more comprehensive documents, project specifications, and wireframes. Transparency and communication are, of course, crucial to the success of your project.
  • Optimized Decision MakingMake the most accurate decisions with collaborative project software that helps to keep all the details in one place. With easy access to all the project-related data, decision-making becomes quick.
  • Increased Customer SatisfactionEmploying a project management software in the workplace creates a win-win situation for your business as well as the client. A smart software offers the right set of tools to strengthen the customer-supplier relationship. Narrow your focus, attain your project objectives, improve deliverability, and the rate of success.

Consulting stock image

David Miller

David Miller

Read Full Bio