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Writing a Problem Statement: A Guide (With an Example)

How to Formulate a Problem Statement: Address Workplace Difficulties

Employees that exhibit initiative and problem-solving abilities are exhibiting their capacity to manage challenging or unexpected situations at work. Businesses depend on people and groups that can identify issues and provide workable solutions.

In this post, we provide guidance on how to formulate a problem statement and provide an extensive example that you may refer to.

A issue statement is what?

A problem statement enumerates an existing issue or problem that has to be addressed right now in order to make things better. The barrier that the current issue creates between a workable process and/or product and the existing (difficult) situation is succinctly explained by this remark.

This statement excludes all subjective opinions and is entirely objective, concentrating only on the problem’s facts. Asking yourself who, what, when, where, and why will help you structure your problem statement more easily.

Additionally, it will be simpler to write and read, and the issue at hand will be easier to understand and, consequently, solve. The problem statement defines an urgent matter and serves as a preamble to  a proposal of a timely, effective solution.

What characteristics make up a problem statement?

A problem statement consists of three primary components. These are:

The problem: Describe the issue in detail and explain why it needs to be resolved.

The suggested remedy is: Specifics of the remedy you’ve suggested.

Why the solution resolves the issue and the manner in which it will be applied: Information on how you plan to apply your solution and why it solves the problem.

When to apply a statement of problems

In order to define, comprehend, and generate potential solutions for a problem, problem statements are essential. Additionally, these statements offer significant data that is essential for making decisions about these projects or procedures.

When to use a problem statement is as follows:

To make clear what is anticipated

The problem statement defines the expected result in addition to stating the issue and the suggested remedy. Establishing the ideal solution’s appearance aids in giving the project’s general concept. This statement clarifies the proposed solution’s objectives, scope, and goals.

As a project manual

Once the project starts, the problem statement serves as a roadmap. For the duration of the project, it is constantly referred to in order to keep the team motivated and focused.

This statement is brought up once more close to the project’s conclusion to confirm that the solution has been applied as intended and that the original issue has been resolved. This may assist in ensuring that appropriate action is being taken to stop the same issue from occurring in the future

Writing a problem statement: A guide

A problem statement is a tool used to win stakeholders’ and management’s support and approval for the project. It must therefore be precise and well-written. When creating a problem statement, there are a few important components to consider that can improve the project’s outcome.

1. Explain the proper procedure.

You should start by giving some background information that will help the reader better understand the issue. Commence by outlining the proper operation of this specific procedure. Before bringing up the issue, succinctly explain how the procedure would work in the absence of the current one, keeping the end user in mind. Let’s take an example where you know how to optimize resource utilization by making a process more efficient. To get started on your proposal, you could start by outlining a hypothetical scenario in which the system performs better. To stay on course, you should always remember who, what, when, where, and why.


2. Describe the issue and indicate its significance.

The problem statement should explain the nature of the issue as well as its significance and the need for a solution. The other “W” questions will, for the most part, naturally flow from this. For instance: Why should this issue be resolved? Because it wastes resources and raises consumer prices, it has an impact on the effectiveness of departments X, Y, and Z.

This discusses the nature of the issue, those it affects, and the need for a solution. You might also think about mentioning previous attempts to solve the issue and the reasons they weren’t successful. Give a succinct explanation of all you know about the current issue.

3. Describe your financial issue prices

You should discuss the costs of not fixing the issue with decision-makers when you present the problem to them. Businesspeople speak in terms of money, so it makes the most sense to frame the issue and suggested remedy in terms of financial outlays.

For instance, make sure you explain the issue precisely, clearly, and in terms they can comprehend if it is actively costing the business money that isn’t needed, keeping it from making more money, or negatively affecting the company’s reputation. Try to determine the precise monetary values of the problem’s cost.

4. Support your assertions

You must be ready to provide proof for any claims you make that the issue is costing the business money. If you skip this step, you might not be given much consideration. Prepare the data for presentation, conduct thorough research, and properly credit your sources.

5. Offer a resolution.

Your suggested solution or solutions to the problem should be explained in the problem statement. You won’t be concentrated on coming up with a single solution at this point, but you should have a firm understanding of the issues at hand and be ready to suggest workable solutions. Outline your goals by offering carefully considered strategies for tackling the issue.

6. Describe the advantages of the solution(s) you’ve suggested.

You’ve now presented a perfect situation in which the issue doesn’t arise. You have identified the issue, described the financial and statistical consequences of taking no action, and put forth some practical ideas for solving it.

This is an excellent opportunity to show why your solution will work, emphasizing once more its effectiveness and financial impact. Talk about the costs your solution will save, the revenue streams it will open up, and the intangible benefits it will provide—like higher customer satisfaction. All of this ought to fit into one brief paragraph.

7. Summarize the issue and its resolution to close.

You will now proceed to your conclusion.

This should include the issue, the justification for fixing it, and a succinct justification for your solution being the most effective one.

By following this format, everyone who reads it will be better able to comprehend the issue and be willing to think through potential solutions.

example given below

While problem statements can vary in length based on the complexity of the situation, they typically adhere to the same general format. This is an illustration of a simple problem statement:

Problem: Over the past ten years, voter turnout in Florida’s southwest region has been drastically declining, while voter turnout in other parts of the state has continued to rise.

Background: According to surveys done by the Florida Voter’s Association, low-income households (those earning less than $30,000 per year for a two-person household) and individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 have the lowest voter turnout. Although studies on voting behavior in other southern U.S. states point to the possibility of a larger trend, the demographics of this area point to the possibility that it could become a more serious issue [explain in detail and provide references].

While efforts to increase voter turnout have been made and somewhat successful in other parts of the nation, comparable strategies haven’t had the desired impact in southwest Florida [cite sources]. Further investigation is required to determine the reasons behind these initiatives’ failures as well as the most effective approaches for connecting with younger and lower-class households.

Relevance: Research has demonstrated a correlation between low voter turnout and higher rates of civil unrest, as well as lower levels of civic engagement and social cohesion. This has grown more concerning in recent years for certain areas of the United States. [Give examples and cite sources].

Research indicates that the absence of political representation among specific segments of the population can lead to a gradual erosion of their trust in democracy and a systematic emergence of challenges in governance [explanation and sources]. By tackling this issue, regional parties will receive much-needed information that will enable them to modify their platforms and electioneering tactics to appeal to a wider range of voters. Additionally, it will help to develop a more sophisticated comprehension of the patterns in voter behavior.

The aim of this study is to investigate proactive engagement strategies for raising voter turnout in Florida’s southwest region. Through surveys, interviews, and social experiments aimed at observing the effect of each of these strategies on voter turnout, it will identify the most significant factors contributing to non-voting. 

Things not to put in an issue statement

Here are a few last pointers about what not to include in your problem statement:

1. Use plain language that is easy to understand.

2. Concentrate only on your issue; don’t discuss other issues that are comparable to yours.

3. Avoid becoming overly technical and maintain a broad readership.

Frequently requested inquiries

What are the five W’s and how do problem statements relate to them?
The questions who, what, where, when, and why are referred to as the five W’s. Well-crafted problem statements typically answer these queries and clarify how they connect to the current issue. The following outlines how you can use these inquiries in your problem statements:

Who: List the parties involved in the current problem and mention the staff members in charge of coming up with a solution in your statement. Clearly defining who your statement is intended for is also beneficial.

What: The current issue is referred to as the “what” in the five W’s. Provide a concise explanation of the problem and its consequences in your statement, and specify the final objective the business wants to accomplish.

Where: Describe the department and operations that the issue affects as well as where in the company it started.

When: when writing your statement, indicate the exact moment the issue arose and provide a schedule for its resolution.

Why: Give an explanation of your motivations for crafting the problem statement and the reasons it needs to be solved.

Written problem statements by whom?

The number of persons who draft a problem statement may vary depending on the organizational structure of the company. The writer is typically a significant stakeholder impacted by ongoing problems within the organization. These people are typically managers or leaders with the power to assign staff and resources and put solutions into action.

Who handles a problem also depends on its extent and nature. If the issue only affects a small portion of a department, a mid-level manager might be in charge of formulating a problem statement and carrying out fixes. On the other hand, if the issue affects the entire business, a board member or executive may formulate the issue statement and assign managers to carry out the fixes.

What advantages does employing a problem statement offer?

Creating a strong problem statement can benefit businesses in many ways. The following are some of the main benefits that a problem statement provides:

Focus: Teams can more precisely concentrate on present problems by using problem statements. This makes it possible for them to solve problems and distribute resources more skillfully.

Waste prevention: If an issue is not clearly defined, a business may misdiagnose its root causes and use resources inefficiently. By putting together a problem statement, stakeholders can come up with solutions without squandering corporate funds.

Accountability: You can designate various company personnel with varying degrees of accountability when you draft a problem statement. This can guarantee that important leaders strive toward solutions and increase accountability.

Business success: Employing problem statements enables organizations to address issues head-on, focus resources on thorough solutions, and put quicker fixes into place. By doing this, businesses can avoid waste, maintain profits, and accomplish their long-term objectives.



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