Section J Problem‐solving Process

The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.

Theodore Rubin

Projects can be described as a series of problems laid end to end. These problems are a series of obstacles preventing the project team from achieving a successful project on time and to budget. Problems are unexpected because if you had expected them, you would have dealt with them. The snag is that the client's reaction is to fix them regardless of the budget available for the activity. It is not an opportunity to redesign the project. Problem‐solving is, therefore, an essential skill for the project manager, and it requires one to follow a logical sequence of steps. It may not be necessary to comply with every step in sequence, and following the steps does not guarantee arriving at the best solution. As the project manager, you and the project team may be deciding on a plan of action or recommending one to a client, and by using each step the chances of mistakes are reduced.

In many cases, problems within groups are caused by failure of communication. The project manager must ensure that all project problems are communicated to them regardless of whether the individual involved believes that the problem can be solved or not.

Peter Drucker distinguishes between two types of problems:

The Generic: These types of problem underlie many situations or occurrences and are solved tactically by a ...

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