PROBLEM SOLVING APPLICATION
A useful tool for analyzing and solving problems in every industry and occupation
Instructions for Using PSA versions
The first two screens are applicable to Prosolve only. The Network version of the application is shown in these instructions. The Free version lacks the Client and Project tables and starts from the Goals table, but is the same in every other way.
In Prosolve enter client details. You can search for existing clients from this screen with the Find Record button, or the record selector or unfiltered search field in the bottom status bar. When you have the client you want, click the "Click to proceed with selected client" button.
Prosolve has a Change Link button. You can have multiple backend datafiles and multiple workstations connecting to one or more datafiles anywhere on the network. Click the Change Link button and follow the instructions to link to a new datafile.
Enter a project name for problem(s). Enter the ownr of the project, usually the party paying you. Set a priority if appropriate. At any screen you can click the Back button to return to the previous screen. From this screen you can print reports by project. In the free version you can print reports by selected goals. Double click a project to proceed to the project's Goal(s).
To print a report you must click on a Project (or Goal in the case of PSA Free) in order to select it for preview or printing. You can click on multiple rows to select them. Click here to see a typical report layout.
The free version starts at the following screen. You can print reports by goal from this opening screen.
The problem solving process begins at this screen. You need to define your problem in terms of the goal or desired outcome that is being threatened. What does the solved problem look like? Think about the problem. Discuss it with the client or with other people.
A client may have come to you with a list of economic and ecological problems described in the screen after the one below. What outcome does s/he actually want? What the client may describe as problems are usually Impediments to a desirable outcome.
After discussing it with the client, in this case we define the goal/desired outcome as an "Economically viable and ecologically sustainable global civilization". It sums up the outcome the client wants when the problem is solved. At this point you need to ask, is the goal realistic and achievable? Can all the impediments to this goal be resolved? In this case, perhaps not; but we will proceed anyway to see if solutions are available. It may be necessary to modify goals if they prove unrealistic.
Define the owner of each goal and establish the priority of the goals. In some cases the owner of a goal is not the person paying you. If other people's goals are part of the problem, it is best if they are included in the problem solving process. It can be difficult to solve other people's problems if they do not participate in the process. Do you really know what that person wants? Does it conflict with your client's goals?
You need to double click table records to proceed to the next step. In this case you would double click the first Goal to proceed to Impediments.
In this screen the impediments or threats to each goal are listed. Note the item you just double clicked on the previous screen appears above the working table on subsequent screens.
What is stopping the client from attaining the goal? Once the goal is defined, other impediments or threats may spring to mind. Establish a weight for each impediment or threat. Which have the most influence over reaching the goal? Which are more important to address? A fiield is provided on subsequent screens to mark each as Done when complete. Double click an impediment to proceed to Probable Causes.
In the following screen, probable causes are listed for each impediment, if applicable. Generally it is best to resolve impediments at their root cause; but sometimes the cause unknown, unable to be resolved or otherwise irrelevant to a solution - in which case mark it as Not Applicable and focus on resolving the impediment. Establish a weight for the relevance of each probable cause. Which are most relevant to resolving the impediment and attaining the goal? Double click a cause to process to Possible Solutions.
At the following screen you start developing possible solutions. In this case Overpopulation was double clicked. There were only two logical solutions that sprang to mind. "Do Nothing" is always an option; but it rarely achieves much. Some solutions may be unpalatable or impossible; but they are worth listing. Add a weight for the likely impact on resolving the problem at its root cause.
In this case, "Increasing the death rate in the most overpopulated areas" would probably have more effect on the cause of the impediment; but reducing births seemed more palatable. When investors stop wanting large markets for their products, or world war provides an opportunity to resolve some long term problems, you can expect military leaders to point out that increasing the death rate is easier and more effective than reducing births. Double click a solution to proceed to Actions and Resources.
The next screen is for developing actions and resources required to implement your selected solutions.These can be strategic or tactical. What is required to implement the solution. How will it be done? Who needs to do it? Where is the equipment or money coming from? What priority does each task have?
Click Help for the Help section for each screen Top
A typical Project or Goal Report Top
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