Get more done with these required problem solving skills.
When faced with a problem, many of us are prone to either delay working on the issue, or hope that the problem just goes away. Anyone who has been in this situation well understands that problems seldom go away on their own, intervention is required. Having the ability to solve problems keeps the project moving forward, this is not just for projects but any aspect of life, once obstacles are removed. Hence, the quicker a problem can be resolved the quicker work can be done and the review of the solution can commence.
Once armed with both the skills and tools to solve problems effectively and swiftly assists not only when in a current job, but for futures ones as well. Regardless on the level and how quick a problem can be solved, once encountered, it can always be improved. Thus the following seven problem solving skills are important regardless on your work experience.
Do the Research
The ability to be thorough in research, this means doing the due diligence before embarking on executing a project, it is the foundation on which all problem solving resides. To not put it down as a fundamental skill that all good problem solvers have in common would leave a big hole in problem-solving skills. Ensure lessons learnt are well documented, this provides a precedent for responding to the problem. To understand the way others fixed a problem is to find a way out of the one faced.
The deeper delved into the research, the less likely a problem will be had to begin with. This and familiarity with a process will make for a better ability to identify an issue before it becomes a problem. Also team brainstorming only expands the knowledge base and improves problem solving, especially if the participants are experienced and have documented that experience into research of their own.
Analysis in conjunction with research sows the seed of knowledge. It’s a way to take what is known and use it to understand why something is not proceeding as it should. Analysis comes in many forms, cost benefit analysis, gap analysis or any other form that helps understand current state. Analytical skills enables to visually see a situation and pull from it the core issue that is causing the problem. This problem-solving skill provides a pathway through the problem, developing effective solutions to resolve it.
These analytical skills are not merely good for triage, though it helps, but they can also assist prior to the problem when during the research stage. The problem with research is understanding, what is important and what it not. Analytical skills provide the tools to prioritize effectively, as time is always of the essence with any major problem.
The ability to find a solution that is unique, this means not reactively responding to a problem, or providing a safe solution that will likely bring unsatisfactory results. Creativity is the ability to look at a problem from many perspectives. The creative-thinking skills include brainstorming, which opens discussions to more than one point of view and widens the lens to open a broader view of the landscape. Brainstorming is a type of collaboration, which is a great way to think creatively because it adds more voices to the mix.
Understanding the problem and discussing how to respond to it, does not provide resolution. Accepted that some action is better than none at all however the decision must be built based on research and analysis conducted in order to have the desired effect. Evaluate the best solution, and there are going to be more than one, and choose that which is most suitable and realistic.
Experience can assist with the ability to act fast, without a great amount of experience, the research and analytical skills provides the balance to work through issue. Upgrading decision-making process is one of the fastest ways to improve problem solving, so be aware of how and why decisions are being made.
Ability to Communicate
Communication is an essential part of a project; nothing can be done without the communication skills to deliver the solution to those who are responsible for its resolution. It’s not just being able to communicate clearly to orders, but knowing the right channel to communicate the message is also important. That message needs to go to the right people and reach them as soon as possible. Finding a solution to a problem is only one link in a larger chain. If that solution isn’t delivered to the parties that need it to repair the problem for the project to move forward, then it wasted time and effort. Clearly map out your communications to get the best results.
If you are not a natural communicator, there are ways to learn how to communicate better. It takes empathy and active listening to develop trust and loyalty. Without that bond between a team, no matter how explicitly a message is communicated it will be misheard or even ignored.
There are exercises which can be performed to gain problem-solving skills, which assist with the ability to better respond to problems and solve them quickly. Logic reasoning tests help organize thoughts clearly, analyze them and choose the best course of action quickly. These tests will help recognize and avoid the typical logical fallacies.
Spatial-temporal reasoning tests your ability to mentally visualize objects, which is important to correctly perceive space and orienting ourselves. Numerical reasoning helps to understand structure, organize and solve problems with mathematical methods or formulas. Logical reasoning also helps with problem-solving skills in that it offers different propositions by using what is already known and what is believed to be known and even what is not known.
The IDEAL Method
The IDEAL method is an acronym that stands for Identify (the issue), Define (the obstacles), Examine (your options), Act (on an agreed course of action) and Look (how it turns out and whether any changes are needed). This process incorporates much of what has already been discussed and provides a clear template to addressing problems and quickly resolving them. When identifying a problem, hear from everyone on the team. Then define not only the obstacles but the projects goals when resolving. The exploration of possible solutions should look at not only if it will work, but if it’s safe, reasonable, the best solution, and other agreed factors.
Learning is an essential component of the IDEAL method. Whatever course of action is taken, it’s critical to monitor and report on how it worked or didn’t work. If it doesn’t work, then go back to the beginning and start fresh. This will also inform on what to do and what not to do the next time a similar problem happens.
Problems occur in any project, to think or believe otherwise is naive, they can be planned but never totally avoided. Projects can be corrected with the right problem-solving skills. ProjectManagercompanion.com provides a selection of cloud-based project management software which has the features needed to monitor and report on issues that arise, so they can be resolved before they grow into problems. See how it can help your team by taking any one of the free 30-day trial today.