A problem statement is usually one or two sentences to explain the problem your process improvement project will address. In general, a problem statement will outline the negative points of the current situation and explain why this matters.

One of the most important goals of any problem statement is to define the problem being addressed in a way that’s clear and precise. Its aim is to focus the process improvement in the desired area and steer the scope of the research.

Creation of a problem statement is an activity that is best completed in a small group (4­6 people). It is helpful to have a couple of people who are involved in the process and a process owner involved in the activity.

  1. Get each person to write his or her own problem statement without conferring. Compare each of the sentences/ looking for common themes and wording.
  2. Start to write an improved statement using the common themes.
  3. Ensure that the problems include the customer’s perspective
  4. Ensure that the statement focuses on existing problems.
  5. Try to include the time frame over which the problem has been occurring.
  6. Try to quantify the problem. If you do not have the data to hand, defer writing the final problem statement until you have been able to quantify the problem.

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