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Project Management Leadership: Building Creative Teams, 2nd Edition by Rory Burke, Steve Barron

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Chapter 23

Problem Solving

Learning Outcomes
After reading this chapter you should be able to:
  • Understand the problem-solving process.
  • Understand how problem solving and decision making are linked.
  • Carry out a brainstorming session.

Problems should not be seen as something negative that must be avoided. A problem may be defined as any obstacle that stands in the way of meeting the project’s objectives. A problem can also be seen as an opportunity to improve the current situation.

In many ways, project processes and the tools and techniques used to manage projects are parts of a problem-solving system. A project is often just a big problem that needs to be solved. At the corporate level, the business case is the solution and, at the project level, the project charter and project plan are the solutions. The success of a project can depend on the innovative way that problems and opportunities are dealt with.

The nature of problems is that, often, other smaller problems are hidden within the problem to be solved. So, a project can contain many problems that are hidden within. Project techniques can be used to work through these embedded problems, or a more generic approach can be used that provides a more streamlined approach.

It is important that the project manager or project leader sets up a problem-solving system and is able to identify problems early and respond quickly to opportunities with solutions and options, and also to make visionary decisions to keep the project ...

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