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Effective problem statements have these 5 components

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We’ve all encountered problems on the job. After all, that’s what a lot of work is about. Solving meaningful problems to help improve something. 

Developing a problem statement that provides a brief description of an issue you want to solve is an important early step in problem-solving .

It sounds deceptively simple. But creating an effective problem statement isn’t that easy, even for a genius like Albert Einstein. Given one hour to work on a problem, he’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes finding solutions. (Or so the story goes.)

Einstein was probably exaggerating to make a point. But considering his success in solving complex problems, we think he was on to something. 

As humans, we’re wired to jump past the problem and go directly to the solution stage. In emergencies, this behavior can be lifesaving, as in leaping out of the way of a speeding car. But when dealing with longer-range issues in the workplace, this can lead to bad decisions or half-baked solutions. 

That’s where problem statements come in handy. They help to meaningfully outline objectives to reach effective solutions. Knowing how to develop a great problem statement is also a valuable tool for honing your management skills .

But what exactly is a problem statement, when should you use one, and how do you go about writing one? In this article, we'll answer those questions and give you some tips for writing effective problem statements. Then you'll be ready to take on more challenges large and small.

What is a problem statement?

First, let’s start by defining a problem statement. 

A problem statement is a short, clear explanation of an issue or challenge that sums up what you want to change. It helps you, team members, and other stakeholders to focus on the problem, why it’s important, and who it impacts. 

A good problem statement should create awareness and stimulate creative thinking . It should not identify a solution or create a bias toward a specific strategy.

Taking time to work on a problem statement is a great way to short-circuit the tendency to rush to solutions. It helps to make sure you’re focusing on the right problem and have a well-informed understanding of the root causes. The process can also help you take a more proactive than reactive approach to problem-solving . This can help position you and your team to avoid getting stuck in constant fire-fighting mode. That way, you can take advantage of more growth opportunities.  

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When to use a problem statement

The best time to create a problem statement is before you start thinking of solutions. If you catch yourself or your team rushing to the solution stage when you’re first discussing a problem, hit the brakes. Go back and work on the statement of the problem to make sure everyone understands and agrees on what the real problem is. 

Here are some common situations where writing problem statements might come in handy: 

  • Writing an executive summary for a project proposal or research project
  • Collaborating   on a cross-functional project with several team members
  • Defining the customer issue that a proposed product or service aims to solve
  • Using design thinking to improve user experience
  • Tackling a problem that previous actions failed to solve 

problem-statement-colleagues-solving-at-laptop

How to identify a problem statement

Like the unseen body of an iceberg, the root cause of a specific problem isn’t always obvious. So when developing a problem statement, how do you go about identifying the true, underlying problem?

These two steps will help you uncover the root cause of a problem :

  • Collect information from the research and previous experience with the problem
  • Talk to multiple stakeholders who are impacted by the problem

People often perceive problems differently. Interviewing stakeholders will help you understand the problem from diverse points of view. It can also help you develop some case studies to illustrate the problem. 

Combining these insights with research data will help you identify root causes more accurately. In turn, this methodology will help you craft a problem statement that will lead to more viable solutions. 

What are problem statements used for?

You can use problem statements for a variety of purposes. For an organization, it might be solving customer and employee issues. For the government, it could be improving public health. For individuals, it can mean enhancing their own personal well-being . Generally, problem statements can be used to:

  • Identify opportunities for improvement
  • Focus on the right problems or issues to launch more successful initiatives – a common challenge in leadership
  • Help you communicate a problem to others who need to be involved in finding a solution
  • Serve as the basis for developing an action plan or goals that need to be accomplished to help solve the problem
  • Stimulate thinking outside the box  and other types of creative brainstorming techniques

3 examples of problem statements

When you want to be sure you understand a concept or tool, it helps to see an example. There can also be some differences in opinion about what a problem statement should look like. For instance, some frameworks include a proposed solution as part of the problem statement. But if the goal is to stimulate fresh ideas, it’s better not to suggest a solution within the problem statement. 

In our experience, an effective problem statement is brief, preferably one sentence. It’s also specific and descriptive without being prescriptive. 

Here are three problem statement examples. While these examples represent three types of problems or goals, keep in mind that there can be many other types of problem statements.        

Example Problem Statement 1: The Status Quo Problem Statement

Example: 

The average customer service on-hold time for Example company exceeds five minutes during both its busy and slow seasons.

This can be used to describe a current pain point within an organization that may need to be addressed. Note that the statement specifies that the issue occurs during the company’s slow time as well as the busy season. This is helpful in performing the root cause analysis and determining how this problem can be solved. 

The average customer service on-hold time for Example company exceeds five minutes during both its busy and slow seasons. The company is currently understaffed and customer service representatives are overwhelmed.

Background:

Example company is facing a significant challenge in managing their customer service on-hold times. In the past, the company had been known for its efficient and timely customer service, but due to a combination of factors, including understaffing and increased customer demand, the on-hold times have exceeded five minutes consistently. This has resulted in frustration and dissatisfaction among customers, negatively impacting the company's reputation and customer loyalty.

Reducing the on-hold times for customer service callers is crucial for Example company. Prolonged waiting times have a detrimental effect on customer satisfaction and loyalty, leading to potential customer churn and loss of revenue. Additionally, the company's declining reputation in terms of customer service can have a lasting impact on its competitive position in the market. Addressing this problem is of utmost importance to improve customer experience and maintain a positive brand image.

Objectives:

The primary objective of this project is to reduce the on-hold times for customer service callers at Example company. The specific objectives include:

  • Analyzing the current customer service workflow and identifying bottlenecks contributing to increased on-hold times.
  • Assessing the staffing levels and resource allocation to determine the extent of understaffing and its impact on customer service.
  • Developing strategies and implementing measures to optimize the customer service workflow and reduce on-hold times.
  • Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the implemented measures through key performance indicators (KPIs) such as average on-hold time, customer satisfaction ratings, and customer feedback.
  • Establishing a sustainable approach to maintain reduced on-hold times, taking into account both busy and slow seasons, through proper resource planning, training, and process improvements.

Example Problem Statement 2: The Destination Problem Statement

Leaders at Example company want to increase net revenue for its premium product line of widgets by 5% for the next fiscal year. 

This approach can be used to describe where an organization wants to be in the future. This type of problem statement is useful for launching initiatives to help an organization achieve its desired state. 

Like creating SMART goals , you want to be as specific as possible. Note that the statement specifies “net revenue” instead of “gross revenue." This will help keep options open for potential actions. It also makes it clear that merely increasing sales is not an acceptable solution if higher marketing costs offset the net gains. 

Leaders at Example company aim to increase net revenue for its premium product line of widgets by 5% for the next fiscal year. However, the company currently lacks the necessary teams to tackle this objective effectively. To achieve this growth target, the company needs to expand its marketing and PR teams, as well as its product development teams, to prepare for scaling. 

Example company faces the challenge of generating a 5% increase in net revenue for its premium product line of widgets in the upcoming fiscal year. Currently, the company lacks the required workforce to drive this growth. Without adequate staff in the marketing, PR, and product development departments, the company's ability to effectively promote, position, and innovate its premium product line will be hindered. To achieve this kind of growth, it is essential that Example company expands teams, enhances capabilities, and strategically taps into the existing pool of loyal customers.

Increasing net revenue for the premium product line is crucial for Example company's overall business success. Failure to achieve the targeted growth rate can lead to missed revenue opportunities and stagnation in the market. By expanding the marketing and PR teams, Example company can strengthen its brand presence, effectively communicate the value proposition of its premium product line, and attract new customers.

Additionally, expanding the product development teams will enable the company to introduce new features and innovations, further enticing existing and potential customers. Therefore, addressing the workforce shortage and investing in the necessary resources are vital for achieving the revenue growth objective.

The primary objective of this project is to increase net revenue for Example company's premium product line of widgets by 5% in the next fiscal year. The specific objectives include:

  • Assessing the current workforce and identifying the gaps in the marketing, PR, and product development teams.
  • Expanding the marketing and PR teams by hiring skilled professionals who can effectively promote the premium product line and engage with the target audience.
  • Strengthening the product development teams by recruiting qualified individuals who can drive innovation, enhance product features, and meet customer demands.
  • Developing a comprehensive marketing and PR strategy to effectively communicate the value proposition of the premium product line and attract new customers.
  • Leveraging the existing base of loyal customers to increase repeat purchases, referrals, and brand advocacy.
  • Allocating sufficient resources, both time and manpower, to support the expansion and scaling efforts required to achieve the ambitious revenue growth target.
  • Monitoring and analyzing key performance indicators (KPIs) such as net revenue, customer acquisition, customer retention, and customer satisfaction to measure the success of the growth initiatives.
  • Establishing a sustainable plan to maintain the increased revenue growth beyond the next fiscal year by implementing strategies for continuous improvement and adaptation to market dynamics.

Example Problem Statement 3 The Stakeholder Problem Statement

In the last three quarterly employee engagement surveys , less than 30% of employees at Eample company stated that they feel valued by the company. This represents a 20% decline compared to the same period in the year prior. 

This strategy can be used to describe how a specific stakeholder group views the organization. It can be useful for exploring issues and potential solutions that impact specific groups of people. 

Note the statement makes it clear that the issue has been present in multiple surveys and it's significantly worse than the previous year. When researching root causes, the HR team will want to zero in on factors that changed since the previous year.

In the last three quarterly employee engagement surveys, less than 30% of employees at the Example company stated that they feel valued by the company. This indicates a significant decline of 20% compared to the same period in the previous year.

The company aspires to reduce this percentage further to under 10%. However, achieving this goal would require filling specialized roles and implementing substantial cultural changes within the organization.

Example company is facing a pressing issue regarding employee engagement and perceived value within the company. Over the past year, there has been a notable decline in the percentage of employees who feel valued. This decline is evident in the results of the quarterly employee engagement surveys, which consistently show less than 30% of employees reporting a sense of value by the company.

This decline of 20% compared to the previous year's data signifies a concerning trend. To address this problem effectively, Example company needs to undertake significant measures that go beyond superficial changes and necessitate filling specialized roles and transforming the company culture.

Employee engagement and a sense of value are crucial for organizational success. When employees feel valued, they tend to be more productive, committed, and motivated. Conversely, a lack of perceived value can lead to decreased morale, increased turnover rates, and diminished overall performance.

By addressing the decline in employees feeling valued, Example company can improve employee satisfaction, retention, and ultimately, overall productivity. Achieving the desired reduction to under 10% is essential to restore a positive work environment and build a culture of appreciation and respect.

The primary objective of this project is to increase the percentage of employees who feel valued by Example company, aiming to reduce it to under 10%. The specific objectives include:

  • Conducting a comprehensive analysis of the factors contributing to the decline in employees feeling valued, including organizational policies, communication practices, leadership styles, and cultural norms.
  • Identifying and filling specialized roles, such as employee engagement specialists or culture change agents, who can provide expertise and guidance in fostering a culture of value and appreciation.
  • Developing a holistic employee engagement strategy that encompasses various initiatives, including training programs, recognition programs, feedback mechanisms, and communication channels, to enhance employee value perception.
  • Implementing cultural changes within the organization that align with the values of appreciation, respect, and recognition, while fostering an environment where employees feel valued.
  • Communicating the importance of employee value and engagement throughout all levels of the organization, including leadership teams, managers, and supervisors, to ensure consistent messaging and support.
  • Monitoring progress through regular employee surveys, feedback sessions, and key performance indicators (KPIs) related to employee satisfaction, turnover rates, and overall engagement levels.
  • Providing ongoing support, resources, and training to managers and supervisors to enable them to effectively recognize and appreciate their teams and foster a culture of value within their respective departments.
  • Establishing a sustainable framework for maintaining high employee value perception in the long term, including regular evaluation and adaptation of employee engagement initiatives to address evolving needs and expectations.

problem-statement-man-with-arms-crossed-smiling

What are the 5 components of a problem statement?

In developing a problem statement, it helps to think like a journalist by focusing on the five Ws: who, what, when, where, and why or how. Keep in mind that every statement may not explicitly include each component. But asking these questions is a good way to make sure you’re covering the key elements:

  • Who: Who are the stakeholders that are affected by the problem?
  • What: What is the current state, desired state, or unmet need? 
  • When: When is the issue occurring or what is the timeframe involved?
  • Where: Where is the problem occurring? For example, is it in a specific department, location, or region?
  • Why: Why is this important or worth solving? How is the problem impacting your customers, employees, other stakeholders, or the organization? What is the magnitude of the problem? How large is the gap between the current and desired state? 

How do you write a problem statement?

There are many frameworks designed to help people write a problem statement. One example is outlined in the book, The Conclusion Trap: Four Steps to Better Decisions, ” by Daniel Markovitz. A faculty member at the Lean Enterprise Institute, the author uses many case studies from his work as a business consultant.

To simplify the process, we’ve broken it down into three steps:

1. Gather data and observe

Use data from research and reports, as well as facts from direct observation to answer the five Ws: who, what, when, where, and why. 

Whenever possible, get out in the field and talk directly with stakeholders impacted by the problem. Get a firsthand look at the work environment and equipment. This may mean spending time on the production floor asking employees questions about their work and challenges. Or taking customer service calls to learn more about customer pain points and problems your employees may be grappling with.    

2. Frame the problem properly  

A well-framed problem will help you avoid cognitive bias and open avenues for discussion. It will also encourage the exploration of more options.

A good way to test a problem statement for bias is to ask questions like these:

3. Keep asking why (and check in on the progress)

When it comes to problem-solving, stay curious. Lean on your growth mindset to keep asking why — and check in on the progress. 

Asking why until you’re satisfied that you’ve uncovered the root cause of the problem will help you avoid ineffective band-aid solutions.

Refining your problem statements

When solving any sort of problem, there’s likely a slew of questions that might arise for you. In order to holistically understand the root cause of the problem at hand, your workforce needs to stay curious. 

An effective problem statement creates the space you and your team need to explore, gain insight, and get buy-in before taking action.

If you have embarked on a proposed solution, it’s also important to understand that solutions are malleable. There may be no single best solution. Solutions can change and adapt as external factors change, too. It’s more important than ever that organizations stay agile . This means that interactive check-ins are critical to solving tough problems. By keeping a good pulse on your course of action, you’ll be better equipped to pivot when the time comes to change. 

BetterUp can help. With access to virtual coaching , your people can get personalized support to help solve tough problems of the future.

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Madeline Miles

Madeline is a writer, communicator, and storyteller who is passionate about using words to help drive positive change. She holds a bachelor's in English Creative Writing and Communication Studies and lives in Denver, Colorado. In her spare time, she's usually somewhere outside (preferably in the mountains) — and enjoys poetry and fiction.

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Composition Type: Problem-Solution Essays

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In composition , using a problem-solution format is a method for analyzing and writing about a topic by identifying a problem and proposing one or more solutions. A problem-solution essay is a type of argument. "This sort of essay involves argumentation in that the writer seeks to convince the reader to take a particular course of action. In explaining the problem, it may also need to persuade the reader concerning specific causes" (Dave Kemper et al., "Fusion: Integrated Reading and Writing," 2016).

The Thesis Statement

In many types of report writing, the thesis statement is posed front and center, in one sentence. Author Derek Soles writes about how the thesis statement in a problem-solution paper differs from a straight "report of findings" type of text:

"[One]  expository  mode is the problem-solution essay, topics for which are typically framed in the form of questions. Why did fourth-graders from poor families score low on a nationwide math test, and how can educators improve math education for this group? Why is Iran a threat to our national security, and how can we reduce this threat? Why did it take the Democratic Party so long to select a candidate for the 2008 presidential election, and what can the party do to make the process more efficient in the future? These essays have two parts: a full explanation of the nature of the problem, followed by an analysis of solutions and their likelihood of success."
("The Essentials of Academic Writing," 2nd ed. Wadsworth, Cengage, 2010)

Readers need additional context before you get to your thesis, but that is not to say that the thesis has to be posed as a question in the introduction:  

"In a problem-solution essay, the thesis statement usually proposes the solution. Because readers must first understand the problem, the thesis statement usually comes after a description of the problem. The thesis statement does not have to give details about the solution. Instead, it summarizes the solution. It should also lead naturally to the body of the essay, preparing your reader for a discussion of how your solution would work."
(Dorothy Zemach and Lynn Stafford-Yilmaz, "Writers at Work: The Essay." Cambridge University Press, 2008)

Sample Introductions

It can be helpful to see completed examples before writing in order to examine what makes for an effective piece. See how these introductions give some context before posing the topic and lead naturally into the body paragraphs, where the evidence will be listed. You can imagine how the author has organized the rest of the piece.

"We buried my cousin last summer. He was 32 when he hanged himself from a closet coat rack in the throes of alcoholism, the fourth of my blood relatives to die prematurely from this deadly disease. If America issued drinking licenses, those four men—including my father, who died at 54 of liver failure—might be alive today."
(Mike Brake, "Needed: A License to Drink."  Newsweek , March 13, 1994)
"America is suffering from overwork. Too many of us are too busy, trying to squeeze more into each day while having less to show for it. Although our growing time crunch is often portrayed as a personal dilemma, it is, in fact, a major social problem that has reached crisis proportions over the past twenty years."
(Barbara Brandt, "Whole Life Economics: Revaluing Daily Life." New Society, 1995)
"The modern-day apartment dweller is faced with a most annoying problem: paper-thin walls and sound-amplifying ceilings. To live with this problem is to live with the invasion of privacy. There is nothing more distracting than to hear your neighbors' every function. Although the source of the noise cannot be eliminated, the problem can be solved."
(Maria B. Dunn, "One Man's Ceiling Is Another Man's Floor: The Problem of Noise")

Organization

In "Passages: A Writer's Guide, " how to organize a problem-solution paper is explained:  

"Though to some extent [your organization of the paper] depends on your topic, do make sure that you include the following information:
Introduction: Identify the problem in a nutshell. Explain why this is a problem, and mention who should be concerned about it.
Problem Paragraph(s): Explain the problem clearly and specifically. Demonstrate that this is not just a personal complaint, but a genuine problem that affects many people.
"Solution Paragraph(s): Offer a concrete solution to the problem, and explain why this is the best one available. You may want to point out why other possible solutions are inferior to yours. If your solution calls for a series of steps or actions to be followed, present these steps in a logical order.
"Conclusion: Reemphasize the importance of the problem and the value of your solution. Choose a problem that you have experienced and thought about—one that you have solved or are in the process of solving. Then, in the essay itself, you may use your own experience to illustrate the problem. However, don't focus all the attention on yourself and on your troubles. Instead, direct the essay at others who are experiencing a similar problem. In other words, don't write an I essay ('How I Cure the Blues'); write a you essay ('How You Can Cure the Blues')."
(Richard Nordquist, Passages: A Writer's Guide , 3rd ed. St. Martin's Press, 1995)
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What is a Solution Statement? (Definition and Examples)

How do you define a solution, and how do you frame it into a solution statement for your startup business?

problem solution statement meaning

What is a Solution Statement? 🤷🏼

Your solution statement should directly explain what opportunities there are to solve the problem that you stated in your problem statement . It's the "how" to your "why" and the time to communicate your brilliant idea. Your problem statement should set the stage for your solution to shine.

Let's look at a successful startup, Lime, who found a great solution to an existing problem. Lime is an e-scooter and bike-sharing startup that, since its launch in 2017, has rapidly grown into one of the world's biggest e-scooter and bike-sharing networks since its launch. In their pitch, the founders said they were poised to change urban transportation as we know it by solving the last-mile problem.

The Last-Mile Problem 🚶

When people consider the nearest bus or train station is too far to walk and too close to drive, adding other factors such as weather (too hot/cold), terrain (hills), and time, they end up just driving straight to their work, university, shops, etc. Lime managed to make that 'last mile' a lot more accessible and manageable for commuters while reducing the number of cars and pollution. They had a straightforward solution to an apparent problem.

problem solution statement meaning

The E-Scooter Solution Statement 🛴

When defining the solution in your business plan, it needs to be kept short, simple, engaging, to the point, and easy to understand. Steer clear of complicated technical terms. Rule of thumb? Even your grandma should get it. In the case of Lime, their solution statement would have sounded a little like this:

"People need access to an alternative transport option that provides an easy, convenient, fast and sustainable way to get to main transport links without the need to drive or walk."

The Netflix Example 🍿

In another example, we used the case of Netflix in our problem statement article, where we explained how painfully inconvenient going to a video store is. We want the solution statement to connect directly to that problem:

Problem: "Going to the video store requires fighting traffic, wandering the aisles, and waiting in long lines just to get a single movie."Solution: "Netflix allows anyone to enjoy thousands of titles streamed directly to their home or delivered to their mailbox." (Yep, mail-order movies was where Netflix started before streaming was a thing).

The Ed-Tech Startup Example 🧑‍🔬

Meet Labster - a learning platform for virtual labs and science simulations. They use virtual reality and immersive simulations paired with game-based learning to make the science lab much more engaging. All the student needs is a computer and an internet connection. Pretty cool! This is how they would have connected their solution statement to the problem:

Problem: "Students are finding science experiments boring and have difficulty staying engaged and arriving prepared for lab work."

Solution: "To transform the way science is taught by making immersive digital experiences with engaging storylines and project-based learning."

How Do You Frame The Solution For Your Startup? 🖼

Defining your solution can take time. For some, it might not come as naturally or easily as they had first imagined. But don't fret. It will come at a good time if you understand how to frame it properly. How you do this early in the idea stage can be the difference between success and failure later on. Success is clearly what everyone aims for, so what steps should you take to frame your solution successfully? You need to be able to answer the following questions:

  • What is your solution offering? 
  • Are you actually solving the problem? 
  • Does the solution create a viable business model? 
  • Is your solution different or unique from your competitors? 

These questions serve as a checklist for yourself to verify whether your solution is appropriate ✅

Remember that you want to keep people engaged. Don't exhaust them with long explanations on how your solution works, how you will develop it, and what it will cost; you will have plenty of time for that later. Now that you have successfully defined your solution, you are ready to move on to your Unique Value Proposition . 

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  • How to Write a Problem Statement | Guide & Examples

How to Write a Problem Statement | Guide & Examples

Published on November 6, 2022 by Shona McCombes and Tegan George. Revised on November 20, 2023.

A problem statement is a concise and concrete summary of the research problem you seek to address. It should:

  • Contextualize the problem. What do we already know?
  • Describe the exact issue your research will address. What do we still need to know?
  • Show the relevance of the problem. Why do we need to know more about this?
  • Set the objectives of the research. What will you do to find out more?

Table of contents

When should you write a problem statement, step 1: contextualize the problem, step 2: show why it matters, step 3: set your aims and objectives.

Problem statement example

Other interesting articles

Frequently asked questions about problem statements.

There are various situations in which you might have to write a problem statement.

In the business world, writing a problem statement is often the first step in kicking off an improvement project. In this case, the problem statement is usually a stand-alone document.

In academic research, writing a problem statement can help you contextualize and understand the significance of your research problem. It is often several paragraphs long, and serves as the basis for your research proposal . Alternatively, it can be condensed into just a few sentences in your introduction .

A problem statement looks different depending on whether you’re dealing with a practical, real-world problem or a theoretical issue. Regardless, all problem statements follow a similar process.

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The problem statement should frame your research problem, giving some background on what is already known.

Practical research problems

For practical research, focus on the concrete details of the situation:

  • Where and when does the problem arise?
  • Who does the problem affect?
  • What attempts have been made to solve the problem?

Theoretical research problems

For theoretical research, think about the scientific, social, geographical and/or historical background:

  • What is already known about the problem?
  • Is the problem limited to a certain time period or geographical area?
  • How has the problem been defined and debated in the scholarly literature?

The problem statement should also address the relevance of the research. Why is it important that the problem is addressed?

Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to do something groundbreaking or world-changing. It’s more important that the problem is researchable, feasible, and clearly addresses a relevant issue in your field.

Practical research is directly relevant to a specific problem that affects an organization, institution, social group, or society more broadly. To make it clear why your research problem matters, you can ask yourself:

  • What will happen if the problem is not solved?
  • Who will feel the consequences?
  • Does the problem have wider relevance? Are similar issues found in other contexts?

Sometimes theoretical issues have clear practical consequences, but sometimes their relevance is less immediately obvious. To identify why the problem matters, ask:

  • How will resolving the problem advance understanding of the topic?
  • What benefits will it have for future research?
  • Does the problem have direct or indirect consequences for society?

Finally, the problem statement should frame how you intend to address the problem. Your goal here should not be to find a conclusive solution, but rather to propose more effective approaches to tackling or understanding it.

The research aim is the overall purpose of your research. It is generally written in the infinitive form:

  • The aim of this study is to determine …
  • This project aims to explore …
  • This research aims to investigate …

The research objectives are the concrete steps you will take to achieve the aim:

  • Qualitative methods will be used to identify …
  • This work will use surveys to collect …
  • Using statistical analysis, the research will measure …

The aims and objectives should lead directly to your research questions.

Learn how to formulate research questions

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You can use these steps to write your own problem statement, like the example below.

Step 1: Contextualize the problem A family-owned shoe manufacturer has been in business in New England for several generations, employing thousands of local workers in a variety of roles, from assembly to supply-chain to customer service and retail. Employee tenure in the past always had an upward trend, with the average employee staying at the company for 10+ years. However, in the past decade, the trend has reversed, with some employees lasting only a few months, and others leaving abruptly after many years.

Step 2: Show why it matters As the perceived loyalty of their employees has long been a source of pride for the company, they employed an outside consultant firm to see why there was so much turnover. The firm focused on the new hires, concluding that a rival shoe company located in the next town offered higher hourly wages and better “perks”, such as pizza parties. They claimed this was what was leading employees to switch. However, to gain a fuller understanding of why the turnover persists even after the consultant study, in-depth qualitative research focused on long-term employees is also needed. Focusing on why established workers leave can help develop a more telling reason why turnover is so high, rather than just due to salaries. It can also potentially identify points of change or conflict in the company’s culture that may cause workers to leave.

Step 3: Set your aims and objectives This project aims to better understand why established workers choose to leave the company. Qualitative methods such as surveys and interviews will be conducted comparing the views of those who have worked 10+ years at the company and chose to stay, compared with those who chose to leave.

If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

Methodology

  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility

 Statistics

  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

Once you’ve decided on your research objectives , you need to explain them in your paper, at the end of your problem statement .

Keep your research objectives clear and concise, and use appropriate verbs to accurately convey the work that you will carry out for each one.

I will compare …

All research questions should be:

  • Focused on a single problem or issue
  • Researchable using primary and/or secondary sources
  • Feasible to answer within the timeframe and practical constraints
  • Specific enough to answer thoroughly
  • Complex enough to develop the answer over the space of a paper or thesis
  • Relevant to your field of study and/or society more broadly

Writing Strong Research Questions

Research objectives describe what you intend your research project to accomplish.

They summarize the approach and purpose of the project and help to focus your research.

Your objectives should appear in the introduction of your research paper , at the end of your problem statement .

Your research objectives indicate how you’ll try to address your research problem and should be specific:

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How to Create a Convincing Problem and Solution Statement

Female entrepreneur speaking with a colleague about the problem she is solving for customers with her business idea.

Makenna Crocker

10 min. read

Updated November 3, 2023

“Every sale a business makes is related to a problem. In every case, there is a story.” – Tim Berry

A powerful problem and solution statement should tell a story about your customers and the solution you provide. It’s how you position your business within your business plan . 

But crafting a short and compelling description of your problem and solution is easier said than done. This guide will walk you through the process. 

Why you need to describe the problem you’re solving

So you’ve got a solid business idea . That’s a great starting point, but it’s just that—a starting point. 

The key to moving forward is identifying a real-world problem your product or service aims to solve. This isn’t just a box to tick off; it has serious implications for your business. 

Here’s why:

1. Validate real-world demand

First, you need to show actual demand for your offering. This goes beyond mere speculation or gut feelings; you need tangible evidence that proves you have a viable solution. 

Example: If you’re planning on opening a gluten-free bakery, for instance, it’s not enough to say there’s a need for one—you should back it up with data.

2. Zero in on your ideal customer

Once you’ve established that a need exists, it’s time to get specific about who you’re targeting . Understanding who will benefit the most from your solution helps you fine-tune nearly every aspect of your business. 

Example: In the case of a gluten-free bakery, you’re not targeting just anyone who likes baked goods; you’re focusing on those with specific dietary needs or preferences.

3. Carve out your niche

Knowing the problem you’re solving gives you a leg up when positioning yourself in the market. This is where you find the gaps that competitors are missing and jump right in. 

Example: Maybe there are plenty of bakeries, but none have a robust gluten-free selection. That’s your territory; that’s how you stand out.

What’s your biggest business challenge right now?

4. keep the team on the same page.

A clearly defined problem serves as a guidepost for you and your team . It ensures that everyone knows what the goal is and stays aligned. Whenever there’s a question about what the business should focus on, you can always circle back to that original problem statement.

5. Make stakeholders take notice

A well-defined problem and solution make it easier for stakeholders like potential investors or partners to understand why your business is worth paying attention to. It’s one thing to offer up data; it’s another to weave that into a compelling narrative about why your business matters.

“Stories are the oldest and arguably best way to communicate ideas, truth, beliefs, and even numbers,” says Palo Alto Software founder and business planning expert Tim Berry.
“Stories are powerful… They resonate. We recognize their truths.”

Example:   You’re inspired to start a gluten-free bakery because of your niece, who has Celiac disease. Her limited dietary options make social events like birthday parties isolating for her. While some bakeries offer gluten-free items, they are often uninspired and don’t allow her to fully enjoy celebrations with her friends.

Your bakery aims to solve this by providing delicious, gluten-free sweet treats that kids and adults with gluten allergies can freely enjoy.

A well-articulated problem statement is crucial for attracting investors and business partners. Not only does it make them care about the problem you’re solving, but it also simplifies the process of writing your executive summary —the first thing lenders or investors are likely to read in your business plan.

  • How to develop your problem and solution statement

Developing your problem and solution statement is an ongoing process, not a one-off task. And it’s not just a random explanation, but something that speaks to the core of why you started your business . 

So it’s important to arrive at a clear, succinct, and informative statement. To help develop a strong problem and solution statement, take the following steps:

Identify the problem

When it comes to identifying the problem your business solves, it’s crucial to understand the market you are targeting. You’ll do this by conducting market research . This is the process of gathering information about potential customers. 

It helps you find answers to questions like:

  • Who are your customers?
  • What is the size of your potential customer base?
  • What are their shopping habits?

You’ll eventually get into deeper questions like:

  • What struggles do these people face?
  • What do they desire?
  • What currently exists to help fix their problem?
  • What would they be willing to pay?
  • Are there other, more pressing problems?

After you’ve done the research necessary to reference your target market in your statement—you need to identify the problem . Consider things like:

  • How much time, money, or mental anguish does this problem cause?
  • Why is no one else solving it?
  • How do people cope currently?

Example: With the gluten-free bakery, the problem is there are not enough local options for allergy-friendly fresh baked goods. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Why hasn’t anyone started a gluten-free bakery already?
  • What are people with gluten allergies doing to satisfy their sweet tooth?

Answering questions like these will help you explore all potential problems and narrow it down to the key elements of the real problem you’re solving.

Define your solution

By now, you should have a clear understanding of who your customers are, what problems they’re experiencing, and how others in the market are trying to solve those problems.

Now it’s time for your proposed solution. Earlier, we mentioned the importance of being able to define the unique value of your business. When you align that value with your customer’s problems, you have a unique value proposition – the thing that sets your solution apart in the eyes of your customers.

As you think about your solution, ask yourself:

  • How does your product or service differ from others in the market?
  • What makes it valuable?
  • Why is it better than other solutions?

Answering these questions will help ensure that you can communicate the value of your business to your target market. After all, if you can’t communicate your value to your customers, they probably won’t see it, either.

  • How to write your problem statement

After using your research to identify your problem, it’s time to turn that work into a well-crafted problem statement.

Start by boiling down the core issues you found in your research to pinpoint the most significant problem your business aims to solve.

This is where it can be really important to gather additional feedback beyond your own research. It could include getting feedback from potential customers , creating surveys, or even convening focus groups. These conversations will help ensure that you focus on a genuine problem people are experiencing.

When writing the problem statement, be sure to:

  • Clearly and succinctly define the problem. Avoid jargon and complex language.
  • Be precise in describing who the problem affects and what the implications are for them

Example: Circling back to our gluten-free bakery—a problem statement might look like this:

“There are no local gluten-free bakeries to serve the growing community of individuals with gluten intolerance. Instead, they’re forced to rely on major grocery store chains with limited selections of poor quality, highly processed baked goods.”

As you can see, the statement starts by generally reciting the problem. Within your business plan, supporting statistics from your market research will follow. For now, we’re sticking to the mechanics of writing the statement.

Make sure your problem statement directly aligns with the solution your business offers. It’s also important to highlight how addressing this problem sets your business apart from competitors.

Be sure to also seek feedback on your problem statement from stakeholders, potential customers, or a mentor to ensure it accurately represents the issue.

  • Sell your solution
“The problem is half the story; the solution is the other half. It’s the shoe waiting to drop.” – Tim Berry

You need your solution to hold as much weight as the problem. 

So what does it mean to sell your solution? Think about your elevator pitch – you have just a moment to explain how your solution solves a problem in the market. It can’t be convoluted or complex, even if the actual solution is to some degree.

Your solution statement should address how your product or service addresses the core issue or issues raised by the problem statement. It also needs to be grounded in reality – don’t promise a grand solution that you can’t actually deliver on.

Just like with the problem statement, keep the solution statement clear and simple. Using the gluten-free bakery example, you could say: “Our bakery provides a wide range of fresh, locally made gluten-free products to satisfy the cravings and meet the dietary needs of customers with gluten intolerance.”

Let’s look at a real-life example. When the video streaming giant Netflix launched in the late 1990s, it explained its problem and solution statement this way :

Problem: “Going to the video store requires fighting traffic, wandering the aisles, and waiting in long lines just to get a single movie.”

Solution: “Netflix allows anyone to enjoy thousands of titles… delivered to their mailbox.”

Now let’s apply the idea to our bakery example:

Problem: “The area does not have a local spot that offers a wide variety of quality and appealing gluten-free baked goods for those with allergies and intolerances.”

Solution: “Our bakery specializes in beautifully decorated and tasty gluten-free baked goods, so no one misses out on the chance to indulge.”

You’ve already illustrated the target demographic’s pain points in your problem, and your solution clearly explains exactly how you are helping them.

Craft and refine

Now it’s time to edit and perfect your problem and solution statement. Be critical of your own work. Here are some questions to ask yourself: 

  • If you show the problem and solution statement to your friends or family, can they understand what your business does and get the problem?
  • Can you easily remember and recite the statement?
  • Is your statement as short as can be? (Tip: focus on making it 3 sentences or less.)
  • Would this statement work in ads or on your business website ?
  • Problem and solution statement examples

Sometimes, you don’t know what works for you until you are given some samples. Below are some product and solution statement examples to help visualize your final statement. Feel free to copy and rework them for your own business!

Mobile dog groomer example:

Problem: Many dog owners cannot take their dogs to a groomer due to mobility issues, busy schedules, or location.

Solution: Our mobile dog groomer service goes directly to the client, allowing them to stay home while their dog is groomed right outside.

Fertility clinic app example:

Problem: Individuals and couples seeking fertility care struggle to find information on nearby clinics offering the treatment they seek.

Solution: Our fertility clinic app allows users to enter their location and the treatment they are looking for and generates an interactive map that details clinics in and around their area that specialize in their needs.

Home loan company example:

Problem: Recent hikes in interest rates have led to a decline in home purchases, adversely affecting both mortgage companies and potential home buyers.

Solution: Our home loan company introduces a tailored refinancing program that provides existing homeowners with more manageable repayment terms while also assisting prospective buyers in securing mortgage loans with favorable rates to make it easier for individuals looking to sell their current home to purchase a new one.

  • Start your business plan

Crafting a compelling problem and solution statement is not just a task – it speaks to why you decided to get into business and is one of the most important sections of your business plan. 

If you are ready to get started on your business plan, you have access to over 550 free business plan examples from the Bplans library. 

Download your free business plan template today to get started!

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Content Author: Makenna Crocker

Makenna Crocker is the Social Brand Manager at Palo Alto Software. Her work focuses on market and social trends, educational content creation, and providing entrepreneurs with small business tips and tools. With a master’s degree in Advertising and Brand Responsibility from the University of Oregon, she specializes in generating a strong and responsible brand presence through social media and sharable content.

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How to write a problem statement: Template and examples

problem solution statement meaning

In your time as a product manager, it is likely that you and your team will face many different customer pain points, needs, and opportunities. Problems (and the reasons why they occur) always seem to be never ending — whether it’s customers complaining about your product’s poor user experience, its high cost, or other issues that seem innocuous to you but serious to your customers.

How To Write A Problem Statement: Template And Examples

There are a number of different problems for your team to solve, and these problems can also be poorly defined from a customer perspective. This implies that it’s difficult to figure out what you and your team need to do to remedy the vague or little known pain point.

As a product manager, it is your responsibility to help define the problem, to scope and set boundaries over it, and to point to a definition of success for resolving that problem. This helps your team understand the issues that your customers are facing, ideate potential solutions, and make necessary trade-offs.

The description, definition, and scope of the problem can be succinctly described as part of a problem statement. In this article, we will walk through what a problem statement in product management is, the advantages of having a well-defined problem statement, key frameworks to use when defining your problem statement, and elements of an effective problem statement.

What is a problem statement?

As mentioned in the name, a problem statement is a written statement about the customer problem — usually expressed as a pain point, need, or opportunity — that you and your team are trying to resolve. You can do this by either coming up with a technical solution ( like an initiative that becomes epics and user stories) or consulting about it with another function of the organization. For example, if the pain point relates to pricing, it’s best to consult with your revenue and account management team.

Although it sounds simple in theory, it can be a difficult and frustrating exercise in practice. Firstly, problems can be ill-defined by the customer in the first place — meaning that it doesn’t necessarily have the shape and structure to enable your team to find a well-scoped solution. Furthermore, there may be a number of different hidden problems masking the “real reason” the issue occurred in the first place.

As such, time needs to be invested to figure out if the problem presented by the customer at first instance is the real and only problem, or if there are layers underneath that need to be explored to determine if there is a deeper, systemic issue instead.

It helps to have a well-structured, evidence-based problem statement that allows your team to dial into the actual problem. A focused solution can then be implemented to resolve the real or foundational customer need, pain point, or opportunity presented by the problem statement.

The advantages of having a well-defined problem statement

There are a number of advantages to having a well-defined problem statement. We’ll go over them in detail below.

Helps see the problem from the customer’s perspective

Problem statements are usually written from the customer’s point of view. That is, it usually considers the types of problems that the customer faces because of the “life role” they are currently using your product for. Whether your product is a web or mobile application, whether it’s for consumer or business consumption, or whether it’s a SaaS product, chances are that your customer is facing the problem with your product based on what they are at that moment.

For example, a customer of a social media application will have different problems, pain points, needs, or opportunities compared to a customer of a stock trading platform application. They are trying to do different things on each individual app, and due to this, they will run into different problems that only they will experience as the bespoke customers of your application.

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Creates an understanding of the job that the customer is trying to do with your product

Further along to the first point, by seeing the role that your customer is playing at the moment of using your product, you also get the chance to understand the job that they are trying to complete by using your product.

A job in this sense is different from what you might think about traditionally — this is the thing that they are trying to complete at that point in time. The only way that they can complete the thing is by using the functions and features from your product.

By understanding the job that your customer is trying to achieve with the product, along with the “life role” they are playing when using your product, your team will have a unique understanding of the problems that they are facing and the reasons why those problems are serious. They are preventing the customer from getting the job done.

Say you are a social media user. A possible job that you want to get done is to post a picture on the internet for your friends to see. To do that, you need to have a function or feature on the app that allows you to choose a picture from your camera roll and possibly have a chance to edit or tweak the photo before posting it online. However, if the upload button is not working, you can’t post your pictures on the internet and, as a result, can’t get your job done.

Keeps the team focused on delivering a real solution to solve a real problem

As we wrap up to the above two points, by understanding both the role and job that the customer is trying to achieve, your team focuses on the actual pain point and translates this focus into a viable solution.

This helps the team avoid the build trap, e.g., building functions and features for the sake of building. Instead, a well-written problem statement should help them really understand the “why” and “what” they are building, as well as the connection that the solution has to the pain point, issue, or opportunity.

Frameworks to use when defining a problem statement

In structuring a proper problem statement, it can help to fall back on several tried and tested frameworks, methods, and theories.

Writing from a user persona perspective

A user persona is a fictional profile based on your real life user’s traits, which should be a reflection of your product’s typical customer . By having a well-developed user persona, a product manager is capable of understanding the key traits, goals, and responsibilities of their typical customer. This enables them to translate that understanding into problem discovery and focus from a customer’s perspective.

In the context of developing a problem statement, a user persona is useful to assist you in understanding the exact job that they want to complete on your application or product. By understanding the job that they want to get done based on the goals and traits of their user persona, you will gain deeper insight into the real reasons why they are experiencing the problem and how best you can solve it.

The Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) Framework

Based on Anthony Ulwick’s book What Customers Want , the Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) framework stems from the idea that customers buy products and services to get the job done. In using your product, a customer will decide whether or not they will purchase or continue using your product based on how well it delivers on the outcomes that they are looking for, e.g. the job that they want to get done by using your product.

Using the JTBD framework together with a well crafted user persona provides you a holistic view of the customer, what they want to do with your product, why they want to do that particular job using your product, and the current problems preventing them from getting said job done using your product.

In this way, you help narrow your problem statement down to issues that, if resolved, will help with the resumption or increased frequency of the customer getting the job done using your product.

Problem statement template

Using the frameworks above, a typical problem statement sounds something like this:

As a [USER];

I’m trying to [MOTIVATION];

So I can [EXPECTED OUTCOME];

But [PROBLEM];

Which makes me feel [EMOTION].

You can use that as a template to write successful, actionable problem statements. You don’t need anything super fancy, as long as you hit on these points to get a holistic view of the problem:

Problem Statement Template Graphic

The following is a breakdown of how we write this:

Examples of realistic problem statements

Going off of the previous section where we looked at a problem statement template, let’s now review some examples:

Follow the above tips and you’ll be writing expertly crafted and well defined problem statements in no time. Thanks!

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How to write a problem statement

problem solution statement meaning

What is a problem statement?

Why write a problem statement, when are problem statements commonly written, how do i write a problem statement, the format of a problem statement, the trademarks of a good problem statement, an example of a problem statement, frequently asked questions about problem statements, related articles.

A problem statement is a clear and concise description of the problem or issue a team aims to address in a project.

A problem statement identifies a problem’s current state, desired future state, and the gaps that lie between the two. It doesn't define the solution to the problem or provide a road map for solving the problem; it only gives an outline of what the problem is.

However, the researcher or team can later use the problem statement to validate that their work delivered an outcome that resulted in the solution.

A problem statement is a useful communication tool, as it keeps the whole team on track and tells them why the project is important. A problem statement helps someone to define and understand the problem, identify the goals of the project, and outline the scope of work.

A problem statement is especially relevant for projects that aim to improve processes, as it allows for the easier development of solutions. Referencing it helps guide the activities carried out and aids the research team in staying focused. The information in a problem statement also helps a team make important decisions.

When the desired solution is implemented later on, a problem statement can help make sure that steps are put into place to prevent the original problem from recurring in the future.

Problem statements are used in both academic and business contexts. In a business environment, project managers can use them to help execute process improvement projects.

But in an academic setting, they can help researchers to contextualize and understand the significance of the problem in a research project. This guide focuses on academic problem statements.

Before planning or writing out your academic problem statement, ask yourself some important questions, and make notes with your answers:

  • What is the problem?
  • How often does the problem occur?
  • Where does the problem occur?
  • When does the problem occur?
  • Who does the problem impact?
  • What causes the problem?
  • How would things ideally work if the problem wasn't present?
  • Why is this a problem, and why does it matter?
  • What impact does the problem cause?
  • Which possible solution/s to the problem are you going to propose?
  • What are the predicted benefits or outcomes of your solutions?

When you write your problem statement, split it into four sections:

  • Problem: Here, simply define what your problem is, clearly and concisely. Make it no longer than one or two sentences.
  • Background: This is the section where you can describe what causes the problem, how often it occurs, where and when it occurs, and who the problem impacts.
  • Relevance: You'll want to show how the problem is relevant, as well as why it matters and requires a solution. This is a great space to specify why it's a problem and what impacts it causes. If it fits comfortably, you can also articulate how things would ideally work if the problem wasn't present.
  • Objectives: This section doesn't require great detail or length, as the problem statement isn't the area of your research project in which to specifically problem-solve. However, you should lay out a brief plan of what you're going to do to investigate and how that should help you formulate solutions. You can also hypothesize on possible solutions you're going to propose, and the benefits you predict from these.

A quality problem statement should be:

  • Concise: You should be able to summarize your problem, as well as the different elements of how and why it's a problem, in succinct sentences. If you can't, revisit your initial notes and clarify what you want to achieve with your project.
  • Specific: Only write about one issue in a problem statement, even if there's more than one impact of that issue. Your research and actions then only have to focus on solving the one problem, and there's no confusion.
  • Measurable: Be clear about how you're able to measure and convey both the problem and your proposed objectives. This is usually by communicating the problem in terms of degree and frequency.

Below is an academic problem statement example. You don't need to include any headers in your real problem statement, but we'll do so here to show you how the sections of the document function in practice.

There is worryingly low uptake of free cervical cancer screening in the UK amongst women aged 25 to 35.

According to an assessment conducted by X Health Trust, only 60% of 25- to 35-year-old female patients attended cervical cancer screening appointments within the last two years.

This could be due to several contributing factors:

  • Female patients in this age group may be more likely to believe they are not susceptible to cervical cancer due to their younger age.
  • There has been an absence of regular and informative public health announcements on this subject within the last seven years.
  • Cervical cancer screening has a reputation for being an unpleasant experience, which could be off-putting for patients due to attend one.

Cervical cancer is the 14th most common cancer in females in the UK, representing a notable health risk. As of 2017, there were around 3,200 new cervical cancer cases, with 850 consequent deaths, in the UK every year.

Although mortality rates in the UK for cervical cancer are highest in females aged 85 to 89, incidence rates for the disease are still highest in females aged 30 to 34.

When cervical cancer is diagnosed at its earliest stage, 96% of people diagnosed will survive their disease for one year or more. This is compared with only 50% of people when the disease is diagnosed at the latest stage.

Screening is a vital health service as many cervical cancer patients will be symptomless until they are in a later stage of the disease.

We are going to conduct a survey of 10,000 females in the UK between the ages of 25 and 35. We will first ask them the question of whether they have attended a cervical screening appointment in the last five years. For those who answer “no,” we will then present them with multiple-choice options that answer the question, “why not?”

From the results we gather, we should be able to accurately assess the most common reasons why there is a low uptake in cervical cancer screening in this age group. We will then propose interventions to the medical community based on our findings.

Our ultimate goal is to increase the uptake of cervical cancer screening by females between 25 and 35 in the UK over the next five years.

🔲 Background

🔲 Relevance

🔲 Objectives

A problem statement helps you define and understand a problem, identify the goals of your project, and outline the scope of your work. A problem statement is especially important for projects that aim to improve processes, as it allows for the easier development of solutions.

A good problem statement is concise, specific and measurable. It summarizes the different elements of how and why it's a problem. It focusses on solving this one problem, and there is no confusion as to what the problem is and how it is solved. It is clear how the problem can be solved and how this can be measured.

To start a problem statement, first ask yourself some important questions to define the problem, like:

  • Which possible solutions to the problem are you going to propose?

When you write your problem statement, split it into these sections:

A smart problem statement is concise, specific and measurable. It should briefly describe the problem, where it is occurring, the timeframe over which it has been occurring, and the size and magnitude of the problem.

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How to Write a Problem Statement

Last Updated: January 17, 2024 Approved

This article was co-authored by Joe Simmons . Joe Simmons is a Corporate Trainer based in West Palm Beach, Florida. Joe specializes in operations management, leadership, learning and development, and employee training to help employees become high-performing teams. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from The University of South Florida. Joe’s coaching has helped numerous organizations with employee retention, revenue growth, and team productivity. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has 44 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 3,597,081 times.

A problem statement is a short, succinct explanation of a problem a business is facing and a proposed solution to the problem. Problem statements can be effective ways to define an issue and communicate a solution within a short span of time. Before you write your problem statement, think about the problem and your proposed solution, and be prepared to back it up with facts!

Sample Problem Statements

problem solution statement meaning

Writing Your Own Problem Statement

Step 1 Describe the

  • For instance, let's say that you work at a major airline and that you've noticed that the way passengers board your planes is an inefficient use of time and resources. In this case, you might begin your problem statement by describing an ideal situation where the boarding system isn't inefficient that the company should shoot for, like this: "The boarding protocols used by ABC Airlines should aim to get each flight's passengers aboard the plane quickly and efficiently so that the plane can take off as soon as possible . The process of boarding should be optimized for time-efficiency but also should be straightforward enough that it can be easily understood by all passengers."

Step 2 Explain your problem.

  • Let's say that you think you've developed a quicker, more efficient system for getting passengers aboard our planes than the typical "back to front" seating system. In this case, you might continue with a few sentences like, "However, ABC Airline's current passenger boarding system is an inefficient use of the company's time and resources. By wasting employee man-hours, the current boarding protocols make the company less competitive, and by contributing to a slow boarding process, they create an unfavorable brand image."

Step 3 Explain your problem's financial costs.

  • For our airline example, you might proceed to explain the problem's financial cost like this: "The inefficiency of the current boarding system represents a significant financial burden for the company. On average, the current boarding system wastes roughly four minutes per boarding session, resulting in a total of 20 wasted man-hours per day across all ABC flights. This represents a waste of roughly $400 per day or $146,000 per year."

Step 4 Back up your assertions.

  • In some corporate and academic situations, you may need to explicitly reference your evidence in the text of your problem statement, while in other situations, it may be enough to simply use a footnote or another form of shorthand for your citations. If you're unsure, ask your boss or teacher for advice.
  • Let's reexamine the sentences used in the previous step. They describe the cost of the problem but don't explain how this cost was found. A more thorough explanation might include this: "...Based on internal performance tracking data, [1] on average, the current boarding system wastes roughly four minutes per boarding session, resulting in a total of 20 wasted man-hours per day across all ABC flights. Terminal personal are paid an average of $20 per hour, so this represents a waste of roughly $400 per day or $146,000 per year." Note the footnote — in an actual problem statement, this would correspond to a reference or appendix containing the data mentioned.

Step 5 Propose a solution.

  • In our airline example, our solution to the problem of inefficient boarding practices is this new system you've discovered, so you should briefly explain the broad strokes of this new system without getting into the minor details. You might say something like, "Using a modified boarding system proposed by Dr. Edward Right of the Kowlard Business Efficiency Institute which has passengers board the plane from the sides in rather than from the back to the front, ABC Airlines can eliminate these four minutes of waste." You might then go on to explain the basic gist of the new system, but you wouldn't use more than a sentence or two to do this, as the "meat" of our analysis will be in the body of the proposal.

Step 6 Explain the benefits of the solution.

  • In our example, you might briefly describe how our company could conceivably benefit from the money saved with our solution. A few sentences along these lines might work: "ABC Airlines stands to benefit substantially from the adoption of this new boarding program. For instance, the $146,000 in estimated yearly savings can be re-directed to new sources of revenue, such as expanding its selection of flights to high-demand markets. In addition, by being the first American airline to adopt this solution, ABC stands to gain considerable recognition as an industry trendsetter in the areas of value and convenience."

Step 7 Conclude by summarizing the problem and solution.

  • In our airline example, you might conclude like this: "Optimization of current boarding protocols or adoption of new, more-effective protocols is crucial for the continued competitiveness of the company. In this proposal, the alternative boarding protocols developed by Dr. Right are analyzed for their feasibility and steps for effective implementation are suggested." This sums up the main point of the problem statement — that the current boarding procedure isn't very good and that this new one is better — and tells the audience what to expect if they continue reading.

Step 8 For academic work, don't forget a thesis statement.

  • For instance, let's say you're writing a paper on the problem of academic essay mills — companies that sell pre-written and/or custom works for students to purchase and turn in as their own work. As our thesis statement, you might use this sentence, which acknowledges the problem and the solution we're about to propose: "The practice of buying academic essays, which undermines the learning process and gives an advantage to rich students, can be combated by providing professors with stronger digital analysis tools."
  • Some classes explicitly require you to put your thesis sentence at a certain place in your problem statement (for instance, as the very first or very last sentence). Other times, you'll have more freedom — check with your teacher if you're not sure.

Step 9 Follow the same process for conceptual problems.

  • For instance, let's say that we're asked to write a problem statement for a report on the importance of religious symbolism in The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. In this case, our problem statement should identify some poorly-understood aspect of the religious symbolism in the novel, explain why this matters (for instance, you might say that by better understanding the religious symbolism in the novel, it's possible to draw new insights from the book), and layout how you plan to support our argument.

Polishing Your Problem Statement

Step 1 Be concise.

  • A problem statement is no place to add your own personal commentary or "flavor", as this makes the problem statement longer for no practical purpose. You may or may not have the opportunity to be more long-winded in the body of your document, depending on the seriousness of your topic and audience.

Step 2 Write to your audience.

  • "Who, specifically, am I writing for?"
  • "Why am I addressing this audience?"
  • "Does this audience know all of the same terms and concepts as I do?"
  • "Does this audience share the same attitude as I do towards this problem?"
  • "Why should my audience care about this problem?"

Step 3 Don't use jargon without defining it.

  • For instance, if we're writing for a board of highly-educated physicians, it may be OK to assume that they'll know what the term "metacarpal" means. However, if we're writing to an audience made up of both physicians and wealthy hospital investors who may or may not be medically trained, it's a good idea to introduce the word "metacarpal" with its definition- the bone between the first two joints of the finger.

Step 4 Stick to a narrow, defined problem.

  • A good rule of thumb is to only address problems that you can definitively solve beyond a shadow of a doubt. If you're not sure of a definitive solution that can solve your entire problem, you may want to narrow the scope of your project and change your problem statement to reflect this new focus.
  • To keep the scope of a problem statement under control, it can be helpful to wait until after completing the body of the document or proposal to write the problem statement. In this case, when you write your problem statement, you can use our actual document as a guideline so that you don't have to guess about the ground you may cover when you write it.

Step 5 Remember the

  • For instance, if you're writing a problem statement to propose a new building development to your local city council, you might address the five Ws by explaining who the development would benefit, what the development would require, where the development should be, when construction should begin, and why the development is ultimately a smart idea for the city.

Step 6 Use a formal voice.

  • The closest you can usually get to including purely "entertaining" content in academic writing in the humanities. Here, occasionally, it's possible to encounter problem statements that begin with a quote or epigraph. Even in these cases, however, the quote has some bearing on the problem being discussed and the rest of the problem statement is written in a formal voice.

Step 7 Always proofread for errors.

  • You'll never regret re-reading your problem statement before you turn it in. Since, by its very nature, the problem statement is usually the first part of a proposal or report that someone will read, any errors here will be especially embarrassing for you and can even reflect negatively on your entire document.

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  • ↑ Joe Simmons. Corporate Trainer. Expert Interview. 29 June 2021.
  • http://journals.lww.com/academicmedicine/fulltext/2001/09000/problem_statement,_conceptual_framework,_and.21.aspx

About This Article

Joe Simmons

The first thing you should do in a problem statement is to describe the ideal solution using words like "should." Then, introduce the problem by using words like "Unfortunately" or "However," followed by a clear 1-2 sentence description of what's wrong. In order to emphasize why this problem is important, explain the financial cost the business will suffer if the problem goes unsolved, and back your statement up with data. For more advice on how to propose a solution, including how to explain your solution in concrete concepts, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to write a problem statement: a step-by-step guide

what is a problem statement cover photo

Many great business ideas begin with a crucial problem that needed solving. While product teams and designers may be eager to build solutions, it pays to not rush your product out the door. If you’ve ever heard the phrase “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe,” you might understand why.

Instead of immediately switching into solution-mode, there’s value in taking time to understand a problem from all angles. One of the best ways to properly diagnose and solve problems is to write a problem statement.

In this article, we explain what problem statements are, how to write one, and share a few examples.

What is a problem statement?

Problem statements summarize a challenge you want to resolve, its causes, who it impacts, and why that’s important. They often read like a concise overview managers can share with stakeholders and their teams.

what is a problem statement definition

Why are problem statements important?

Problem statements help you share details about a challenge facing your team. Instead of rushing to a solution, writing a problem statement enables you to reflect on the challenge and plan your response.

The high-level perspective a problem statement offers lets teams focus on the factors they need to change. Managers also use this top-down vantage to oversee their teams as they work out solutions.

When to use a problem statement

Any time you face a challenge is an opportunity to write a problem statement. You can write a problem statement to improve operations in different contexts. For example, you might use a problem statement to:

  • Refine project proposals: Managers write project proposals to solve user issues. Problem statements inform these proposals, shaping their goals, plans, and approaches.
  • Develop your product offering: Many startups build their business model on solving a long-standing problem. Problem statements help clarify a company’s mission and core product design .
  • Clarify the outcome of solving a problem: Problem statements point out the long-term benefits of solving the issue, which can help you put the problem into context for stakeholders and secure necessary resources.
  • Collaborate with multiple teams: You can rally teams around a common goal if you frame it as a shared problem. Collaboration ensures you examine the problem and reach solutions from all possible angles.
  • Improve the user experience: Problem statements can identify pain points and ways to enhance a product. When teams act on problem statements, this can improve UX.

What are the elements of a problem statement?

You can break problem statements into a few core elements. While the format of a problem statement is flexible, aim to include the following:

  • Gap: the challenge, issue, or pain point you currently face
  • Orientation: a description of when and where you found the problem and the trend it creates or follows
  • Impact: a measure of your problem’s consequences in cost, time, quality, environment, or personal experience
  • Importance: why this problem matters to your organization and customers

problem statement elements

How to write a problem statement

Now that you understand the elements of a problem statement, you can write your own in five key steps.

how to write a problem statement

1. Identify the problem

Start by pointing out an issue and gathering data. Put yourself in the support or production environment where the problem arises and try to experience it firsthand. When gathering data, look for trends or overarching themes—they may help you find the root cause of your problem later.

After seeing the problem for yourself, interview others who know about it. Start with employees who run into the problem or offer support for it. In some cases, they may have a design brief with more information on the issue. Beyond that, customer testimonials and stakeholder interviews can lay out the full scope of your problem.

2. Put the problem into context

Describe how the problem impacts customers and stakeholders. Avoid personal bias and focus on developing a clear perspective. This approach helps prioritize the issue and explain why you need to solve it. If customers can't reach the benefits of your product because of an issue, that's a high-priority concern. If you’ve ever conducted design research , this process should feel similar.

You can put a problem into context by asking:

  • Does the problem lead to a reputational, financial, or logistical cost?
  • Is the main issue a symptom of a greater challenge?
  • Has your team already tried to solve this problem? Why didn’t past solutions work?
  • What do you and your team definitely know about the current problem?

3. Find the root cause

Ask yourself "why" questions about the problem to find its origin point. Your initial assumptions about a problem might stand in the way, so as you learn more about the issue, don’t be afraid to change how you look at it. You'll get closer to the root cause as you reframe your understanding around these discoveries.

If you need help uncovering the root cause or challenging your initial assumptions, these templates can help:

  • The 5 whys template helps you get to the root cause of a problem.
  • Reverse brainstorming templates reverse the way you frame problems to find new solutions.
  • A DMAIC template lets you define, measure, analyze, improve, and control a problem.
  • Mind map templates allow for brainstorming causes, effects, and solutions in a shared space.

4. Describe your ideal outcome

Now that you understand the problem, think about your ideal outcome. Whether you're solving a problem with your product or an internal process, remember to avoid scenarios where you put a Band-Aid on the issue. Even if you can avoid specific symptoms in the short term, letting a core problem go unsolved can lead to other setbacks later.

In some cases, you can describe safeguards that let a process work as intended. You can also write an alternative process that avoids the issue altogether. This ideal outcome will inform your goals and objectives in the next step.

5. Propose a solution and outline its benefits

Finally, your problem statement should include solutions to the problem. Including more than one solution gives stakeholders and your team options for deciding your approach. Note the benefits of each solution, highlighting why it stands a chance of working or how it can save on time and costs.

To ensure you arrive at the best solution, be sure to:

  • Ask your team if the proposed solution matches their understanding of the problem.
  • Consider more than one solution. Sometimes, you can choose between multiple options or apply more than one solution at once.
  • Include long-term financial, intangible, and operational benefits the solution provides.
  • Consider whether your solution has blind spots or causes changes that could lead to more issues.

Problem statement examples

Now that you know how to write problem statements, here are some examples.

Example 1: Support ticket wait times

Suppose you’re a support manager at a midsize SaaS company. Ideally, you want to respond to every support request within a few hours. However, your team can’t reach turnaround times fast enough to meet customer expectations. Start by breaking down the elements of your problem statement:

  • Gap: Customers have long wait times for their support tickets to get a response.
  • Orientation: This problem began in the last few months and has only worsened.
  • Impact: Customers aren't happy with their quality of service, and your teams feel burnt out from trying to keep up.
  • Importance: Retaining customers with support is essential for sustaining your business.

Now that we’ve laid out the details, we can format it as a problem statement:

  • Identify the problem: You have high support ticket turnaround times. Gather data by tracking how the time has lengthened in the past few months and talking to customers about inconsistencies in wait times.
  • Put it into context: Customers upset about their wait could switch to competitors. You initially assumed it was seasonal demand rising, but wait times haven’t tapered off, which could cause reputational and financial problems.
  • Find the root cause: You initially assumed demand had increased. Support tickets have remained steady, but your AI support designed to solve minor problems has had fewer tickets. This lack of AI support has your teams stretched thin.
  • Describe your ideal outcome: AI support should be able to handle more advanced queries. This way, your service teams can focus solely on tickets too advanced for AI.
  • Propose a solution: Choose between assigning devs to revamp your AI or investing in a new solution to handle tickets. You can also consider reworking support agents' workflows to focus more on direct customer contact.

Example 2: New feature development

Assume you're a project manager at a tech company. You offer a platform that tracks goals and finds inefficiencies in your programmer's workflows. Your leadership wants to release a tool that lets customers estimate the amount of money earned for each workflow issue they correct. However, you aren't sure you have the resources to implement the feature.

  • Gap: You need to create a payoff calculator, but you may not have the necessary resources.
  • Orientation: The problem began when you received the assignment. The more time you spend researching the new tool , the less time you have to implement it.
  • Impact: Failure to get this feature off the ground will give competitors who offer this tool an advantage.
  • Importance: You need this feature to stand out from competitors and for lead generation.

With this information, you can turn it into a problem statement:

  • Identify the problem: Your team doesn’t have the resources to design and implement a new feature. Start by interviewing stakeholders and employees who have worked on tools like this—they can explain the issues and solutions that go into adding this feature.
  • Put it into context: Not implementing this feature would give competitors an edge and potentially push customers interested in payoff calculators away from your product.
  • Find the root cause: Your team currently isn't tracking the necessary metrics to use in an ROI calculator. Your team also doesn't have enough experience with the kind of tool to build it from scratch.
  • Describe your ideal outcome: Your devs add the calculator to your platform. This feature draws in new customers interested in the tool and helps current ones make the switch.
  • Propose a solution: Your devs learn more about the feature’s framework and add the ability to track ROI-centric metrics. From there, you can create a project roadmap to get this feature added to the platform in a few months.

Problem statement template

Ready to start writing your own problem statement? Try our problem statement template below.

problem statement example cover photo

Get your team on the same page to solve problems faster

Project managers used to putting out fires can tell you how much of their job comes down to problem-solving. But before working on solutions, you need to organize your team around a clear problem statement. Find actionable, collaborative solutions by rallying everyone around a shared understanding of a problem.

Once you square away your problem statement, check out our library of over 300 templates . With FigJam, your team can plan and strategize around every step of your project. The right online whiteboard helps you exchange feedback and loop in other teams to find solutions faster.

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Home » Job Tips » Career Advice » What is a Problem Statement? Elements, Importance, & More

What is a Problem Statement? Elements, Importance, & More

What is a Problem Statement

Vague research and overrepresented problems could hamper the productivity of the team undertaking an improvement project. A stand-alone document with the problem statement is helpful to outline the problem clearly and concisely. This blog discusses what is a problem statement, why is it needed, what it includes, and how one writes it, along with a problem statement example to help you draft one.

Table of Contents

What is a Problem Statement?

A problem statement is a brief description of the problem that a project aims to address. The purpose of this statement is to identify the gap between the current state and the desired future state of a process. It helps the team members to focus on the main issue to be addressed. A standard problem statement definition states that is it used to create a framework to find a possible solution to a problem. A problem statement makes your business analytics tasks and projects more organized.

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Why the Need for a Problem Statement?

A problem statement is essential for the following reasons:

  • To identify the goals of the project
  • To outline the project’s scope
  • To identify opportunities for improvement
  • Guides the activities of the team members working on the project
  • A business or organization can garner support through this for their project
  • Stimulates brainstorming and leads to the generation of creative ideas

What Does a Problem Statement Include?

If you are wondering what is a good problem statement, here are the main elements mentioned in one:

1. Ideal Situation

The problem statement begins with a description of the ideal situation or the situation that would have existed if the problem had not persisted. We also provide the main goal and scope of the project. It is necessary since it gives context to the team where the focus will be and the ideal environment that will exist after the resolution of the problem.

2. Current Situation

Here we will provide details of the current situation. Identify the problem and clearly define it. Give reasons why the problem exists and who all are affected by it. Additionally, state when and how the problem was identified. Talk about a specific problem instead of giving several vague issues.

3. Consequences

Next, we will state the consequences of the problem given. Describe the impact of the problem on people. Give quantifiable data to emphasize the magnitude of the impact. It will help highlight the relevance of the problem and how a solution for it is necessary.

4. Proposal

The last section of the problem statement will include several possible solutions to the problem and their possible benefits. It does not need to be a detailed plan but only briefly discuss the steps that we are going to take to investigate the problem and formulate solutions. The plan is for the guidance of the team regarding the research they will undertake to resolve the problem.

How to Write a Problem Statement?

One can define a problem statement by answering certain questions. The process of writing the problem statement through this method is called “5W2H”. The name refers to the following questions:

  • What is the problem?
  • Why is it a problem?
  • When the problem was identified?
  • Where the problem was identified?
  • Who does the problem impact?
  • How are they impacted by the problem?
  • How much of an impact the problem has?

You can begin your problem statement by identifying the problem and then answering these questions to formulate the rest of the statement.

Problem Statement Example

Problem statements are helpful for every department of the company. For instance, in a large organization that posts a lot of job vacancies , the Human Resources department can work on problem statements to expedite hiring. Here is another example of inventory management in a business for you to understand how to define a problem statement better.

In an ideal scenario, our business envisions a streamlined inventory management system where we have optimal stock levels, minimized transportation costs, and reduced stockouts. The aim is to have real-time visibility into the inventory to ensure prompt deliveries of orders to customers and reduce operational inefficiencies. 

Currently, our inventory management is facing issues such as stockouts, inaccurate forecasts of demand, and the use of manual tracking methods. It has led to missed sales opportunities, customer dissatisfaction, and a strain on cash flow. 

There are consequences of the problem mentioned above. Inaccurate forecasts of demand have led to stockouts on multiple occasions. The stockouts have led to missed revenue, a high rate of customer dissatisfaction, and potential long-term damage to our brand reputation. The use of manual tracking methods has decreased productivity by many folds.

Our company seeks to resolve these issues with the following suggested steps:

  • Implementation of Inventory Management Software: Invest in advanced inventory management software equipped with features such as real-time tracking, demand forecasting, and automated reorder triggers. It will streamline the replenishment process.
  • Improvement in Demand Forecasting: Improve demand forecasting accuracy by historical sales data, market trends, and seasonality patterns. It will help in adjusting stock levels according to customer demands.
  • ABC Analysis: The analysis based on the ABC model will categorize items based on their value and frequency of sales. It helps allocate resources effectively and prioritizes those items that generate more revenue.
  • utomated Reorder Point: Set up automated reorder points based on demand variability and desired service levels. It helps in the timely replenishment of stock and prevents stockouts.
  • Regular Audits: Conduct regular inventory audits to verify the accuracy of the inventory. It will help identify the discrepancies between recorded and actual inventory records.
  • Cross-Functional Collaboration: The sales, marketing, and operations departments should collaborate to share insights and align inventory strategies. Ensure to change strategies according to the changing market conditions and customer behavior.

A problem statement is a necessity for not just identifying the problem but also providing the necessary measures one can take to tackle the problem. Every project must have this statement to maintain a professional approach while finding a resolution to problems. So, remember what a problem statement is and its elements to write one with ease for your next project at work.

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problem solution statement meaning

Shailja Kaushik has been an Editor with Internshala since March 2023. She loves creative writing and experimenting with different forms of writing. She has explored different genres by working with journals and radio stations. She has also published her poems and nano tales in various anthologies. She graduated at the top of her class with Bachelor's in English and recently completed her Master's in English from the University of Delhi. Her experiments with writing continue on her literary blog.

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How to Write an Effective Problem Statement

Published: April 9, 2018 by Rod Morgan

problem solution statement meaning

Continuous improvement specialists are challenged to solve problems for their organizations or clients. They have acquired a wide array of tools, methods and techniques for that purpose.

If continuous improvement practitioners are able to establish the winning conditions for change, they can look forward to successful outcomes. However, the devil is in the details, making continuous improvement jobs interesting and challenging.

One of those “little devils” that often gets overlooked is the need to construct an effective problem statement at the start of any improvement project.

What Is a Problem Statement?

Adapted from an article by Alan Bryman in the International Journal of Social Research Methodology : A problem is a statement about an area of concern, a condition to be improved upon, a difficulty to be eliminated, or a troubling question that exists in theory or in practice that points to the need for meaningful understanding and deliberate investigation.

Why Is It So Hard to Write an Effective Problem Statement?

One of the challenges in writing a great problem statement is the distractions that can come from a variety of sources.

  • Symptoms associated with the problem add to the confusion when trying to describe a problem. For example, arriving at the physician’s office and stating, “Doctor, I am experiencing pain in the back of my thigh down to the lower part of my leg! I need you to ‘fix’ my leg!” It is only after a thoughtful evaluation that the doctor concludes that your problem lies with your sciatic nerve and originates in your lower back.
  • Solutions are often an early consideration when wrestling with a problem. When one is faced with a problem, alleviating that pain as quickly as possible is a natural, almost reflexive, action. It is, however, extremely important to avoid jumping to solutions until a profound understanding of the current state is achieved.
  • The search for causes of your pain is a natural reaction that also needs to be avoided when first describing a problem. Establishing root cause will be a part of the ensuing investigative procedure but should be reserved for the appropriate time in the lifecycle of the problem-solving method.
  • Blame is also a natural reflex when one is afflicted with a problem. A quote attributed to John Burroughs, American naturalist and nature essayist, may be all that needs to be said on this subject: “You can get discouraged many times, but you are not a failure until you begin to blame somebody else and stop trying.”

In short, a great problem statement must be free of causes, solutions and blame, and careful consideration must be given to ensure symptoms do not become a distraction.

What Is in a Problem Statement?

A problem statement should describe an undesirable gap between the current-state level of performance and the desired future-state level of performance. A problem statement should include absolute or relative measures of the problem that quantify that gap, but should not include possible causes or solutions!

problem solution statement meaning

Key elements of an effective problem statement include:

  • Gap : Identify the gap (pain) that exists today.
  • Timeframe, location and trend : Describe when and where the problem was first observed and what kind of trend it is following.
  • Impact : Quantify the gap (cost, time, quality, environmental, personal, etc.)
  • Importance : To the organization, the individual, etc. to better understand the urgency.

What Method Can I Employ to Author a Great Problem Statement?

The ability to articulate an effective problem statement is not simply a business skill – it is a life skill. How can children, youth and adults begin to solve problems if they haven’t been able to adequately describe them? This holds true for continuous improvement specialists.

The 5W2H (what, when, where, why, who, how, how much) method is deceptively simple. Ask the right questions in the right order and let the answers lead you to a great problem statement.

Example of Developing a Problem Statement

Let’s walk through the 5W2H method for manufacturing and call center examples.

Question 1 : What is the problem that needs to be solved?

  • Manufacturer : Window frames and parts are ending up in the assembly department missing required weep holes or slots.
  • Call center : The assessment call is too complex, time consuming and administratively heavy, resulting in a diminished experience for the client as well as the staff member performing the work.

Question 2 : Why is it a problem? (highlight the pain)

  • Manufacturer : If identified (visual inspection), the affected parts must be sent back for rework, thereby increasing the overall cost of manufacturing, creating higher inventory levels (WIP) and increasing risk since some of the defects may not be detected until later in the process, or worse, they may end up being incorrectly shipped to the job sites.
  • Call center : This results in higher variability and length of call handling time, clients having to repeat their “story” as the move through the assessment and downstream case worker (meeting) process, clients providing more information than may be required, increased workload for the assessment worker and increased wait times in the (telephone) queue. The overall impact is reduced service levels as well as diminished client and assessment worker experience.

Question 3 : Where is the problem observed? (location, products)

  • Manufacturer : This problem is observed in the assembly department, downstream departments as well as ultimately in the field with customer complaints and costly field repairs and replacements.
  • Call center : This problem is observed in all assessment calls but will vary in magnitude depending on the client (needs and circumstance), assessment worker (experience) and other factors that contribute to variation in the handling of assessment calls.

Question 4 : Who is impacted? (customers, businesses, departments)

  • Manufacturer : This problem affects the assembly department that is tasked with trying to inspect for the error and react accordingly, rework occurring in the department/work cell responsible for weep holes and slots, the company as a whole in terms of cost, brand and reputation, and, most importantly, the customer who is affected by this problem if it makes it to the field.
  • Call center : This affects the client associated with the call, clients waiting in the queue, client’s families, and the organization and employers in the community being served.

Question 5 : When was the problem first observed?

  • Manufacturer : This has been an ongoing issue going back as far as memory serves in the long-term employees, but with increased volume and more customization and higher complexity in design, the impact and severity of this problem has increased rapidly over the last two years.
  • Call center : This is a latent problem that has always existed but has become more evident with recent changes, including changes in funding, legislation, demand for services, client demographics and recent integration efforts in the organization as part of their ongoing commitment to continuous improvement of service pathways and client experience.

Question 6 : How is the problem observed? (symptoms)

  • Manufacturer : Customer (in-field installation and service) complaints, increased warranty costs, manufacturing non-conformance reports (NCR), complaints from assembly department team and increased costs in fabrication.
  • Call center : This problem is observed in the variation in call-handling times, wait times in the telephone queue, call abandon rates, increased stress in front-line staff (workload and client anxiety/dissatisfaction) and ambiguity in call handling protocols.

Question 7 : How often is the problem observed? (error rate, magnitude, trend)

  • Manufacturer : There is an observed 62,000 parts per million (PPM) for this specific defect, taking into consideration rework completed in-house and observed defects in the field. The PPM is derived from the number of weeping holes and slots required per unit assembly versus the actual number of deficiencies overall observed for the same number of units.
  • Call center : This is a daily operational occurrence but increases in call complexity related to changes in the knowledge base – multiple programs and changes in the environment (client demographics and needs/circumstances, legislation, etc.) – have resulted in an increase in severity and stress on the system.

Think of a problem you have encountered in your personal or professional life, or a problem you are currently tasked to solve. Employ the preceding method of asking seven simple questions and see where it takes you.

Teach this simple and effective method to your friends, colleagues and family. Writing problem statements truly is a life skill and, when employed correctly, will place anyone in good stead to start solving the problem.

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The Problem-Definition Process

Developing the right solution.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

problem solution statement meaning

When we try to solve business problems, we can often pressurize ourselves to find solutions quickly.

The problem with this is that we can end up only partially solving the problem, or we can solve the wrong problem altogether, with all of the delay, expense, and lost business opportunity that goes with this.

The Problem-Definition Process helps you avoid this. In this article, we'll look at this process and we'll see how to apply it.

Dwayne Spradlin published the Problem-Definition Process in September 2012's Harvard Business Review . (We refer to this with permission.)

Spradlin was the President and CEO of Innocentive, an organization that connected organizations with freelance problem solvers. He developed the process over 10 years, while working with a community of more than 25,000 "problem solvers" such as engineers, scientists, and industry experts.

The process gives you four steps that help you better understand complex problems. These steps are:

  • Establish the need.
  • Justify the need.
  • Understand the problem and its wider context.
  • Write a problem statement.

The Problem-Definition Process encourages you to define and understand the problem that you're trying to solve, in detail. It also helps you confirm that solving the problem contributes towards your organization's objectives.

This stops you spending time, energy, and resources on unimportant problems, or on initiatives that don't align with your organization's overall strategy.

It also encourages you to fully define the problem and its boundaries. You can then use this information to justify the need for change, brief designers and contractors, and kick-off new projects successfully.

Use the Problem-Definition Process alongside tools such as Simplex and Hurson's Productive Thinking Model . These will guide you through the full problem-solving process .

Using the Problem-Definition Process

The four main steps in the Problem-Definition Process contain several smaller questions that, once answered, help you define and clarify the problem thoroughly.

Let's look at each step in more detail.

The process we present below is an adaptation of Spradlin's original model. We’ve included additional questions and sub-steps where appropriate.

1. Establish the Need

The first step is to identify why you need a solution to the problem. To do this, answer these questions:

a. What is the basic need? First, write your problem down in simple terms. Then, identify the basic need that you'll fulfill once you've solved the problem.

For example:

b. What is the ideal outcome? Next, identify the outcome that you want to see once you've implemented a solution.

Don't think of any particular solutions at this point – your aim is to visualize the result of a successful solution, not the solution itself.

It helps to be specific here: "Increase weekly sign-ups by 20 percent" is more useful than "Increase weekly sign-ups."

c. Who will (and won't) benefit? Finally in this step, identify all of the stakeholders who will benefit, both directly and indirectly, once you've solved the problem and reached your desired outcome. Write down who these people or groups are, and the advantages that they'll see.

Also consider who may be at a disadvantage if you solve the problem.

Tools like Impact Analysis and the Futures Wheel are useful here, as they help identify the possible consequences of a change.

As you work through the next steps of this process and get more of an understanding of your problem, you may find it useful to go back and refine your answers to previous questions.

2. Justify the Need

Once you understand the need for solving the problem, you must then justify why you should solve it. To do this, answer these questions:

a. Is effort aligned with your overall strategy? This problem, and the effort that you'll be putting into solving it, must align with your organization's strategic priorities , as well as its mission and values .

b. What benefits do we want, and how can we measure these? Identify what benefits your organization, as a whole, will see when you solve this problem, and think about how you can measure these in relation to its overall strategy and objectives. Be as specific as possible.

c. Are we likely to be able to implement a solution? Think about factors such as how you'll get support from stakeholders and decision-makers, and how you'll access the required resources and expertise. This may involve speaking with senior managers in your organization to understand what resources may be available.

3. Understand the Problem and Its Wider Context

In steps 1 and 2, you identified why you need a solution, and why it's important to your strategy and mission.

The three questions in this third step encourage you to look at the problem in more depth, and to look back into the past to see what you can learn from past efforts.

a. What's the cause? First in this step, make sure that you've identified all of the causes of your problem, using tools like CATWOE , Root Cause Analysis , Cause and Effect Analysis , Systems Diagrams , and Interrelationship Diagrams .

b. What solutions already exist? Have other people in your organization tried to solve this or a similar problem in the past? If so, what did they do? What worked and what didn't work?

Next you need to find out if people outside of your organization have already tried to do something about this problem. Widen your search to include trade journals, field studies, past research, competitors, industry experts, and your personal network.

Your goal is to look at what's been done already, and what hasn't worked, so that you don't waste time working on a solution that already exists, or working on a solution that's likely to fail.

c. What are the constraints? By now, you're starting to have a deeper understanding of the problem and how it relates to your organization. Now you can brainstorm factors that might prevent you from implementing a solution. (Use your answers from question c in step 2 to help with this.)

First, look at internal constraints. Will you have access to enough people, money, and other resources to solve this problem? Are there any stakeholders who might try to block your efforts? Are there any rules or procedures that you must follow? (For instance, a new website would need to align with your organization's brand guidelines.)

Next, look externally. Are there any government regulations or laws that might stall or block your solutions? Is the technology available?

d. What requirements must a solution meet? Write down the requirements that the solution must meet in order to solve the problem successfully. As part of this, also identify other factors that, while not essential for solving the problem successfully, would add value to the final solution. For example, you might want "quiet machinery," or a "database that you can access from anywhere with an Internet connection."

e. How will we define success? Identify how you'll define success once you've implemented a solution.

4. Write a Problem Statement

The final step is to pull together all of the information that you've gathered into a clear, comprehensive problem statement. This should provide a thorough overview of the problem, and outline a plan for how you will go about solving it.

If someone else (for example, a contractor, outside organization, or other department) will be tasked with solving the problem, also work through the following questions, and include the answers to these in your problem statement:

a. Which problem solvers should we use? Identify who, specifically, is best placed to help solve this problem. This could be a person, a team, or an outside firm.

b. What information and language should the problem statement include? The problem statement needs to be clear, specific, and understood by the people who should solve it. Avoid industry jargon , and make sure that it relates to its intended audience.

c. What do problem solvers need to produce? What will you or your organization need from them? For instance, will you need a comprehensive report, or a presentation on the proposed solution? Do you want a prototype? Is there a deadline? Spell the details out here.

d. What incentives do solvers need? This question addresses motivation. If an internal team will be working on the solution, how will they be rewarded? If an external team or firm will be addressing this problem, what incentives are you offering?

e. How will we evaluate the solutions? Who will be responsible for analyzing proposals, and what evaluation method will you use?

Dwayne Spradlin published the Problem-Definition Process in the September 2012 Harvard Business Review.

The process presents four steps that help you better understand complex problems. These four steps are:

The main advantage of using the process is that it helps you to define and understand the problem in detail, and helps you understand how important a problem is in relation to your organization's mission and strategy. From this, you can determine whether or not it's worth developing a solution.

Spradlin, D. (2012) 'Are You Solving the Right Problem?' Harvard Business Review . Available here . [Accessed November 8, 2018.]

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Problem Statement: What It Is And Examples

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Problem statements are a document that evaluates a problem and presents a solution to it. Having a written problem statement helps to determine the issue that you’re trying to ameliorate, as well as how you plan to go about it. It ensures that everyone on the team knows what the goal is and the steps needed to achieve it.

If you’re writing a problem statement, have been presented with a problem statement, or just want to know what that is, then keep reading. Problem statements are official business documents, which means that there are standards for writing them.

Key Takeaways:

A problem statement evaluates an issue for a business and presents one or several solutions to highlight the necessity of fixing the problem.

A problem statement helps clarify goals and generates support for its solutions.

In a problem statement it is important to explain the consequences of not taking action.

Solutions in a problem statement must be backed up with evidence to persuade stakeholders.

Problem Statement: What It Is And Examples

What is a business problem statement?

Why is a problem statement important, how to write a problem statement, problem statement example, a second way to write a problem statement, example problem statement #2, final thoughts, problem statement faqs.

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A business problem statement is an evaluation of an issue expected to be addressed or a specific condition that can be improved upon in a timely manner. The problem statement briefly explains the issue at hand. It should address the current state, the desired future state of the problem, and any gaps identified between the two.

Articulating a problem statement is an important tool to help communicate to your team what they’re trying to solve on any given project. Ensuring everyone on your team understands the problem at hand ensures everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal. It also ensures everyone understands the importance of the project and what, specifically, they’re working towards.

This statement should be entirely objective, and free of subjective opinions. This might be difficult, especially if you are living with this problem and have been for a while.

An easy way to approach this is to ask who, what, when, where, and why, and create the structure of your problem statement from there. This will create a logical and sensible problem statement that you can share with your team. By ensuring it’s easy to comprehend, you ensure it’s a feasible solution.

A problem statement is important for a project that’s reaching for improvement because it will clearly identify goals and outline a clear path for a solution. It will help guide the activities and decisions of people working on the project.

Additionally, if you require funding or buy-in on your project, a problem statement can help a business or organization gain support . This allows stakeholders to verify the problem and goals as accurate and valuable before they provide their support.

A problem statement is a guiding light for any project. It can establish focus and ensure the team stays on task . At the end of the project, a team can look back on the problem statement and any associated metrics and ensure what they’ve accomplished truly solves the problem identified at the start of the project.

It’s important to understand that the problem statement doesn’t define all the details of a solution or tasks necessary to reach that solution. It’s simply the declaration of the problem and the gap between it and the goal you’re looking to achieve.

A written problem statement needs to be as clear and accurate as possible. That allows for both the problem and solution to be easy to understand and work towards. Also, a problem statement is a business document, which means that there are expectations in terms of how it’s written and formatted.

Describe your ideal process. Context is necessary to ensure everyone understands the problem at hand. The best way to articulate this is to describe how the process should actually work if the current issue didn’t exist. Keep the end-user in mind when you’re going through this process.

Explain the problem and why it matters. The problem statement should not just include the “what” of the problem, but “why” it’s a problem and why it’s so vital that you develop a solution. Ask yourself, why should we fix the problem?

Include financial costs. The stakeholders (such as designers, partners, or rate analysts) who analyze your problem statement want to understand the financial implications of the effort. To that end, you’ll want to avoid talking about all the money that needs to be poured into it. Instead, explain how costly it may be if the problem is not fixed.

Seeing this financial issue will hook some businesspeople, as their efforts are centered around being as cost-efficient as possible. Most likely, the problem at hand is adding more cost to any given project, and it could even damage the company brand or public image.

Come with proof. If you’re claiming that the problem is costing the company more money, you need to come up with evidence. You should be prepared for difficult questions and knowing specifics to back up your claims. Do not neglect this step.

Propose a solution. Your problem statement should also include your initial proposed solution to the problem. You shouldn’t focus on finding a single executable solution, but you should have a good idea of what is causing the problem and how you imagine solving it will look practically. State the objectives of your solution to really hook your stakeholders.

Give solution benefits. After you’ve pointed out the problem, explained the cost concerns of not solving it, and proposed some solutions, you should demonstrate why your solutions will work.

Conclude with a summary. The final piece of your problem statement is to conclude by summarizing what you’ve already stated. Summarize the problem, why it needs to be fixed, and a summarized argument of why your solution is the fix.

Remote workers across the organization should have the tools and means to communicate with their team members and colleagues efficiently and seamlessly, without getting inundated with unnecessary messages. Currently, messages are overwhelming many of our employees by getting lost through multiple email strings. This hinders productivity across teams and also disables effective communication. We estimate that without relevant and effective communication, employees, on average, are wasting 4 hours of their week trying to prioritize and clean out their inboxes. We propose that all employees use Google Hangouts for the majority of in-company communication, especially in customer-facing roles. Conversations can be organized by channels and searched for. It allows colleagues to problem-solve in real time without relying on a cluttered email box. This tool also allows colleagues to call each other quickly for short phone conversations during the workday without needing to schedule calendar time, ensuring communication is more efficient. In terms of the issue of crowded and cluttered email boxes, we propose the use of Slack for all internal messaging for ease of use and overall efficiency. More formal messaging can be sent via email.

There isn’t only one way to write a problem statement. Some industries prefer to break it out into four sections so it reads more like a report and less like a letter. If this is what the industry you work in prefers, or if it just makes more sense to you, you can instead format the problem statement this way.

Ideal. This part’s pretty similar to the method we described above. Start by considering exactly what you want the end result to be in an ideal world. This can also be described as your vision. It’s important to be descriptive but brief, as it should be simple to answer whether the problem has been solved or not at the end.

Reality. Next, describe how things currently stand. Pay special attention to the issues that are standing in the way of your idealized version of the process.

Consequences. Describe what’s at stake. You can go into current losses that the organization is facing due to this unresolved issue or project and predict the future consequences of inaction.

Proposal. Finally, propose a solution. You can also briefly touch on how you’ll check in to ensure progresis being made. Note that you can propose a variety of solutions, as long as you also describe (or have a plan for) how you’ll actually carry each solution out.

Ideal: Ideally, our offer for a 1-month free subscription would translate into more long-term subcribers or would lead users to another stage in the sales funnel. Reality: Currently, only 22% of users who try our 1-month free subscription continue their subscription after the first month. The most common feedback that we receive from users is that our paid service only offers features that they can find for free elsewhere. The second most common response we hear from users is that our interface is unintuitive to use, which plays out in the reality of engagement statistics as well. In particular, users commonly close the app after entering our budgeting page, which has been noted for its clunky design and usability. Consequences: Subscribers will continue to drop off and it’s likely that long-term subscriptions will continue to be rare if we don’t address the lack of value and usability in our current paid service. If we continue to only hold onto fewer than 40% of users for our subscription service after a 1-month free trial, this project will be a net loss and will likely have to be discontinued in the next 6 months. Proposal: The product team needs to develop a new budgeting tool that comes with a larger suite of features. At the same time, it needs to be easier to navigate and use, with an interface that feels pleasant and intuitive to use. Customer service managers should also focus on speaking directly to customers on the app store to let them know that we hear their complaints and are working on the improvements they’ve suggested.

Problem-solving begins by identifying and defining the problem to be solved, and a problem statement is a great way to organize this process. Using a problem statement will help make sure that everyone understands the problem and is on the same page, and can also help you lay out the plan for addressing the problem.

Do problem statements work?

Yes, problem statements do work and are very helpful for businesses. A problem statement provides an effective way for a team to analyze a problem. It clarifies the issue at hand, what the cost of the issue is incurring on the business, and what solutions are available to improve the situation.

How do you write a problem statement?

A problem statement can be written in a variety of ways, however it is important to retain certain key elements. The key elements of a problem statement include describing the ideal situation, the problem at hand, the consequences for not solving the problem, and a solution with proof to back it up.

Does my solution to a problem statement need evidence or proof that it will work?

Yes, your problem statement’s solution should come with evidence or proof to back it up. People in most business settings will not take a solution to a problem seriously unless they can see tangible benefits. This means that while you compose a problem statement it is important to do research into your solutions.

Does a problem statement have to be long?

No, a problem statement does not have to be long. There are a variety of different formats for problem statements, and they can be as long as or brief as you want. However, you should make sure that your problem statement covers pertinent details and gives sufficient information.

What are the five W’s and how do they relate to problem statements?

The five W’s refer to the different question words: who, what, when, where, and why. Well-written problem statements address each of these questions and explain where the solution goes from there. Here’s how you can incorporate each of these into a problem statement.

Who. The who in a problem statement can refer both to the people who have a stake in the problem, as well as the people who are most qualified to work on the solution. Who can also refer to the people that the problem statement is aimed at.

What. This is where you address what the current problem is. You need to answer what the problem is, what its effects are, and what you need to do to fix it.

Where. The answer to this can be physical — what building, for instance. Or it can be more abstract, in terms of what department or where the problem will have the greatest effect.

When. Creating a timeline is an important aspect of a problem statement. This is both in terms of when the problem will become an impediment (if it hasn’t already) and when you need to start working on your solutions.

Why. The why section is where you explain yourself. Why are you writing up a problem statement, why does it require a solution, and why is implementing this solution better and more effective?

MasterClass — Problem Statements: How to Write a Problem Statement

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Caitlin Mazur is a freelance writer at Zippia. Caitlin is passionate about helping Zippia’s readers land the jobs of their dreams by offering content that discusses job-seeking advice based on experience and extensive research. Caitlin holds a degree in English from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA.

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Problem Statements

What are problem statements.

Problem statements are concise descriptions of design problems. Design teams use them to define the current and ideal states, and to freely find user-centered solutions. Then, they use these statements—also called points of view (POVs)—as reference points throughout a project to measure the relevance of ideas they produce.

“If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” — Albert Einstein

How to Write a Problem Statement?

Well-constructed, valid and effective problem statements are vital for your design team to navigate the entire design process. Essential to design thinking, problem statements are what teams produce in the Define stage. To find the best solutions, your team must know what the exact problems are—i.e., you first need to define a problem statement.

The goal is to articulate the problem so everyone can see its dimensions and feel inspired to systematically hunt for suitable solutions. When you unite around a problem statement, your team will have a common view of how users see what they must tackle. From there, all your team will know exactly what to look for and what to avoid. Therefore, you should make your problem statements:

Human-centered : Frame problem statements from insights about users and their needs .

Have the right scope :

Broad enough to permit creative freedom , so you don’t concentrate too narrowly on specific methods for implementing solutions or describing technical needs; but

Narrow enough to be practicable , so you can eventually find specific solutions .

Based on an action-oriented verb (e.g., “create” or “adapt”).

Fully developed and assumption-free .

Design teams sometimes refer to a problem statement as a “point of view” (POV) because they should word problem statements from the users’ perspective and not let bias influence them . Your team will have a POV when it comes up with a narrowly focused definition of the right challenge to pursue in the next stage of the design process.

With an effective POV, your team can approach the right problem in the right way. Therefore, you’ll be able to seek the solutions your users want.

Point of View - Problem Statement

How to Define Problem Statements through a Point of View Madlib

To define a problem statement, your team must first examine recorded observations about users. You must capture your users’ exact profile in the problem statement or POV. So, you need to synthesize research results and produce insights that form solid foundations. From these, you can discover what those specific users really require and desire—and therefore ideate effectively.

Teams typically use a POV Madlib to reframe the challenge meaningfully into an actionable problem statement . The POV madlib is a framework you use to place the user , need and insight in the best way. This is the format to follow:

[ User … ( descriptive )] needs [need … ( verb )] because [insight… ( compelling ).]

Point of view Madlib, which reads as: [user] needs to [user's need] because [insight].

You articulate a POV by combining these three elements—user, need, and insight—as an actionable problem statement that will drive the rest of your design work. Find an example below.

Template of a point of view, that includes a table with the columns: User, Need and Insight.

With a valid problem statement, your team can explore the framed “why” questions with “how”-oriented ones. That’s how you proceed to find potential solutions. You’ll know you have a good problem statement if team members:

Feel inspired .

Have the criteria to evaluate ideas .

Can use it to guide innovation efforts .

Can’t find a cause or a proposed solution in it (which would otherwise get in the way of proper ideation).

When your team has a good problem statement, everyone can compare ideas, which is vital in brainstorming and other ideation sessions. It also means everyone can keep on the right track. Problem statements are powerful aids because they encourage well-channeled divergent thinking .

Rather than rush toward solutions that look impressive but aren’t effective, your team can work imaginatively to find the right ones. Once you’ve discovered what’s causing problems, you can give users the best solutions in designs they like using.

Learn More about Problem Statements

Take our course addressing problem statements .

See d.school’s illustrations of problem statements in action.

Explore Toptal’s example-rich examination of problem statements.

This piece exposes the practicalities of problem statements for startups.

Here’s a thought-provoking approach to problem statements.

Literature on Problem Statements

Here’s the entire UX literature on Problem Statements by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:

Learn more about Problem Statements

Take a deep dive into Problem Statements with our course Design Thinking: The Ultimate Guide .

Some of the world’s leading brands, such as Apple, Google, Samsung, and General Electric, have rapidly adopted the design thinking approach, and design thinking is being taught at leading universities around the world, including Stanford d.school, Harvard, and MIT. What is design thinking, and why is it so popular and effective?

Design Thinking is not exclusive to designers —all great innovators in literature, art, music, science, engineering and business have practiced it. So, why call it Design Thinking? Well, that’s because design work processes help us systematically extract, teach, learn and apply human-centered techniques to solve problems in a creative and innovative way—in our designs, businesses, countries and lives. And that’s what makes it so special.

The overall goal of this design thinking course is to help you design better products, services, processes, strategies, spaces, architecture, and experiences. Design thinking helps you and your team develop practical and innovative solutions for your problems. It is a human-focused , prototype-driven , innovative design process . Through this course, you will develop a solid understanding of the fundamental phases and methods in design thinking, and you will learn how to implement your newfound knowledge in your professional work life. We will give you lots of examples; we will go into case studies, videos, and other useful material, all of which will help you dive further into design thinking. In fact, this course also includes exclusive video content that we've produced in partnership with design leaders like Alan Dix, William Hudson and Frank Spillers!

This course contains a series of practical exercises that build on one another to create a complete design thinking project. The exercises are optional, but you’ll get invaluable hands-on experience with the methods you encounter in this course if you complete them, because they will teach you to take your first steps as a design thinking practitioner. What’s equally important is you can use your work as a case study for your portfolio to showcase your abilities to future employers! A portfolio is essential if you want to step into or move ahead in a career in the world of human-centered design.

Design thinking methods and strategies belong at every level of the design process . However, design thinking is not an exclusive property of designers—all great innovators in literature, art, music, science, engineering, and business have practiced it. What’s special about design thinking is that designers and designers’ work processes can help us systematically extract, teach, learn, and apply these human-centered techniques in solving problems in a creative and innovative way—in our designs, in our businesses, in our countries, and in our lives.

That means that design thinking is not only for designers but also for creative employees , freelancers , and business leaders . It’s for anyone who seeks to infuse an approach to innovation that is powerful, effective and broadly accessible, one that can be integrated into every level of an organization, product, or service so as to drive new alternatives for businesses and society.

You earn a verifiable and industry-trusted Course Certificate once you complete the course. You can highlight them on your resume, CV, LinkedIn profile or your website .

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problem solution statement meaning

How To Write A Problem Statement

Research projects are often mandatory and college students need to submit one to earn their degrees. If you’ve submitted a…

Meaning Of a Problem Statement

Research projects are often mandatory and college students need to submit one to earn their degrees. If you’ve submitted a research project, then you’re probably aware of the need of identifying a problem statement . A problem statement can be anything from an area of concern to a troubling question or a problem that needs to be eliminated.

Similarly, in the corporate world, every business plan starts with solving a problem. The better business leaders articulate the problem statement , the more valuable the solution will be. Read on to explore the meaning of a problem statement and how to write one. You’ll also learn about its significance in contemporary business contexts. 

What Is A Problem Statement?

The need for problem statements, creating your own problem statement, define problems with harappa  .

A problem statement is a formal report written by a professional to define an organization’s challenges or issues. It helps break down complex situations into smaller and achievable solutions or goals. It’s aimed at addressing issues in a timely and effective manner. It also helps propose a detailed way to solve problems and prevent them in the future. Therefore, you can recognize issues and prepare for them in advance across multiple business functions.

A problem statement has been well-known in the research field, but over time, it has gained popularity in the world of work as well. It has become a communication tool that informs leaders and managers about possible threats. The practice of writing a problem statement is beneficial in the long run as it promotes technological innovations and advancements.

Here’s a real-life example of a problem statement that’ll help you understand the concept better:

Netflix, one of the leading streaming services across the globe, wanted to solve the problem of going to video stores to rent a movie. They made it easy for consumers by eliminating the need for video stores and delivering movies to the mailbox. Therefore, Netflix’s problem statement would look something like this—“People don’t like traveling back and forth to video stores only to rent a movie and most of all they don’t enjoy paying late fees.”  

A problem statement is important because it creates the foundation for a project in addition to many other benefits. It helps you do your research and identify potential threats. It provides a comprehensive view of what’s currently going on in an organization and informs everyone of the sizable shift that’s needed and about to happen. The need for problem statements is summarized below:

  • It helps examine an issue or a situation from various angles
  • It helps identify who the problem affects, what those effects are and why the problem needs to be resolved
  • It guides organizations and helps them determine the extent of a problem, therefore, informing employees how to approach the situation
  • It sets the tone for dealing with an issue and provides an organization with a framework to navigate future challenges, if any
  • Toward a project’s completion, problem statements can help verify if the solution has addressed the problem identified initially

A good problem statement allows individuals to build a strong case. A great problem statement goes beyond that. It has a lot more character and provides an emotional connection to the solution. The way you craft your problem statements will determine how others will respond to them.  

Writing a problem statement involves succinctness and data-backed information. However, if you want to go above and beyond, consider this step-by-step guide that’ll teach you how to make a problem statement :

Step 1: Describe How Things Can Be

If you want to create watertight problem statements, the best way to begin is by stating how things should work. Before mentioning the problem, create an ideal situation where the problem doesn’t exist. This strategy is more effective than jumping straight to the problem as it teases out the issues. By providing context, your audience is more easily convinced.

Step 2: Explain The Problem

Once you’ve set the stage, it’s time to shed light on the main issue at hand. The most important goal of all problem statements is articulating the challenge. The more well-stated it is, the easier it is for your audience to understand. Make sure that you communicate in a way that’s clear, direct and succinct. Cutting to the heart of the issue and emphasizing the most important information is a good way to go about it.

Step 3: Back It Up With Facts

When you start making serious claims about your problem statements, you need to be able to back up your assertions. In other words, you need to be able to support your statements with evidence. For example, in some cases, individuals often support their statements with explicit references—which they identify in other reports or articles—in the form of footnotes or citations. When you back up your research with relevant data, you have a stronger case.

Step 4: Propose A Solution

When you’ve highlighted the what and why of a problem, it’s important to elaborate on how you want to solve it. Just like the problem you’ve identified, your proposed solution should also be simple, clear and direct. While your explanation should be straightforward, you also need to cover important concepts. You can leave the minor details for later.

Step 5: Elaborate On The Benefits

Now that you’ve communicated the solution to your readers, it’s time to convince them. It’s essential to explain why the solution that you proposed is a good idea. Without shedding light on the impact that your solution will create, it’s difficult to get others’ buy-in. For example, if you provide a financial solution, you need to talk about the expenses it will reduce and so on.

Step 6: Define The Next Steps

Once you’ve pulled all the information together and have suggested the positive impact of your proposal, it’s time to describe the plan to move forward toward the solution. Explain to your audience what will come next. Will there be research involved? If yes, what sort of research will it be? Elaborate on the resources you’ll need to successfully overcome the challenge and create timelines to achieve your goals.

When you’ve identified the problem, proposed a solution and communicated ways in which it can benefit the organization, you’re almost done. However, summarizing your main arguments can help in converting the statements into actionable items. Make sure that you’re ready with a concrete gist that nobody can say no to.  

If you still aren’t convinced how to write a problem statement successfully, here is a template that can help you out. Note that there is a common structure to problem statements and this basic template can help you structure such statements  better:

  • Problem: Use one sentence to define the problem
  • Background: Use evidence or facts to describe and define the problem
  • Relevance: Describe why the problem matters and establish a connection
  • Objectives: Propose your solution based on research and groundwork

Here is an example to help you understand this better:

The number of customers in a few areas of Mumbai has significantly reduced for XYZ supermart.  

Surveys conducted by XYZ supermart suggest that sales have gone down in areas with people in the age bracket 18-25. This sales pattern is directly impacted by consumer spending in this demographic.

Reports suggest that the younger generation is resorting to online modes for purchasing everyday items. XYZ supermart will need to provide better customer service, keep up with market trends and make space for online shopping. This will also help gain a better understanding of consumer buying behavior.

This research aims to examine the biggest determinants of consumer buying behavior in Mumbai through qualitative and quantitative research. It will also suggest proactive engagement plans to improve sales in respective regions. Interviews will be designed to study the impact of each of the strategies proposed.

Define Problems With Harappa

At the heart of a problem statement lies the effort of defining the problem. You may have excellent communication skills that put your thoughts into words but identifying the issue can get challenging. You need to adopt a critical approach to define your problem statement(s) or things can get tricky.

Harappa’s Defining Problems course will help you strengthen your problem-solving mindset and approach problems in a critical manner. You’ll find details about problems to understand them better and avoid jumping to conclusions. Power-packed frameworks such as Types of Problems and Problem Definition will teach you to identify and define problems smartly. Impress everyone at work with strong problem-solving skills!

Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics such as What Is Decision Making , Problem Solving , Definition Of Problem and Decision Making to classify problems and solve them efficiently.

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How to Write Problem Statements You’ll Actually Use

A team engaged in a meeting

You have your project brief in hand, you’ve met with your client, maybe you’ve even held a productive discovery session with them. You understand what needs to be done and are eager to start ideating toward a solution.

But what about the problem statement?

This may be the last thing your team wants to do. Some may even think writing out a problem statement is old fashioned. And who even uses them anymore?

We’re here to change your mind. 

A well-written problem statement is how today’s most successful teams bring clarity and focus to the problems they face. Learning how to write a good one is a not-so-secret tool for coming up with more effective solutions.

What is a problem statement?

A problem statement is a clear, concise explanation of the problem or challenge you intend to solve. It is meant to give you, your team, and any other stakeholders clarity and focus around the problem. This not only helps you get buy-in from your client, but also makes it easier to prioritize what’s most important — and not get distracted by anything else.

You should write out your problem statement after you’ve done some initial research but before you have begun your work. This will give you the necessary context to create as accurate a statement as possible, while also helping guide your team as you move forward. 

You can either create it as a solo activity or as part of a larger workshop, depending on your circumstances. If you’ve already planned a discovery session, writing a problem statement could be a great way to cap off the meeting and ensure everyone is aligned.

What makes a good problem statement

First and foremost, a good problem statement is anything that helps spur you and your team into action by describing and clarifying the issues at hand.

While this can take many forms — and is often dependent on factors such as the scope and complexity of the problem — the most effective statements typically focus on the root cause of the issue by objectively describing it in as comprehensive a way as possible. The five Ws can be a good strategy for doing this: 

  • Who is having the problem? This could refer to individuals, groups, or entire organizations. It is anyone (or anything) that is affected by the problem.
  • What is the problem? This can be thought of as the gap that has formed between the current state and the desired state. Try to sketch out the boundaries of this gap and describe the unmet need that exists.
  • Where does this problem occur? This could be a geographic location (such as a city or company), a physical object (such as a product), an entity (such as a marketing department), or even a process (such as commuting).
  • When does this problem occur? Is there a certain timeframe in which the issue occurs? Is there a deadline by which it needs to be solved? 
  • Why is the problem worth solving? This should focus on the importance of fixing the problem. What kind of impact will it make? How will solving it affect customers, employees, and other stakeholders ? In short, what makes a solution worthwhile?

Effective problem statement examples

Good problem statements don’t need to be complicated. In fact, as these examples show, they should be simple and direct. In one sentence, they describe exactly what the problem is, leaving little to no ambiguity about what should happen next.

Note: While some may recommend including a proposed solution in the problem statement, we think it’s best to leave this out. After all, the goal is to get people thinking creatively about their own solutions.

Problem statement example #1

“The lack of access to clean water in rural areas of developing countries is leading to increased incidence of water-borne diseases and impeding socio-economic development.”

This statement clearly identifies a specific problem — the lack of access to clean water — and highlights the negative consequences that result from it: an increase in diseases and a lack of socio-economic development. By focusing on the problem in this way, it provides a clear and concise foundation for any potential solutions. Additionally, the statement highlights the urgency of the issue and the need for action, making it more likely to inspire action and generate interest from stakeholders.

Problem statement example #2

“An employee turnover of 35% in company X is negatively impacting productivity, morale, and profitability.”

Notice how this statement identifies who the problem affects (company X and its employees), what is happening (a high turnover rate), and why it is important (productivity, morale, and profitability). This creates a clear place to focus action and start coming up with possible solutions. What’s more, by calling out the current state of turnovers (35%), it gives a specific metric to improve.

How to write effective problem statements

Writing a great problem statement should be thought of as less of an action and more of a process. You don’t just sit down and write one out (at least, most of us don’t). Instead, you should carefully seek to understand and frame every aspect of the problem at hand in order to capture it as clearly as possible.

Here is a step-by-step methodology you can follow in order to do this.

1. Identify and understand the problem

This can be thought of as the data-gathering stage. It’s when you get out into the field, interview stakeholders, and spend time in the environment where the problem exists so that you can experience it first-hand. Basically, you should be doing whatever it takes to gain as thorough an understanding of the problem as you can so that you can not only identify it , but describe its root causes.

2. Draft the problem statement

Now it’s time to start writing out a statement that is as clear and comprehensive as possible. As you do this, be aware of how you are framing the problem. You want to be careful to avoid any bias and to remain completely objective. Potential issues to look out for include:

  • Describing a symptom instead of the root cause. If this happens, go back to your notes to try to uncover why something is happening, not what.
  • Presenting a preferred solution. It can often be tempting to write a problem statement in such a way that only one solution is possible. Fix this by looking for ways you can broaden the focus.
  • A lack of clarity. This can be caused by trying to capture too many problems at once, or not clearly framing the gap between how the current and desired states. 

3. Refine and iterate

Once you think you’ve captured the problem, don’t stop there. Continue to refine it by analyzing it from multiple perspectives. Would someone not familiar with the stakeholders and their background be able to understand the problem? Would someone from a different field altogether be able to identify the root cause? 

If you haven’t already, this can be a good opportunity to open up the problem statement to other members of your team to get their point of view. Ask them if it matches their understanding of the problem. Try to identify any potential ambiguities. When you’ve reached a point at which the problem lacks an obvious solution and is generating healthy discussion, you’re probably there. 

Templates to help you create actionable problem statements

When drafting your problem statement, there’s no reason to start from a completely blank slate. The following templates can help kickstart the process of drilling down into the root causes, framing the issue, and defining exactly what the problem is:

  • 5 Whys Template
  • Problem Framing Template
  • Problem Statement Template

Define, understand, and solve problems faster

The art of writing problem statements shouldn’t be lost on your team. Learning to create effective statements enables you to get a better understanding of what has caused the problem, who and what the problem impacts, and why it should be solved in the first place. Knowing how to state this in language that is clear, concise, and impactful is one of the best ways to set you and your team up for success.

How have problem statements helped you come up with creative solutions? We’d love to hear how you’ve put them to use — and how you keep using them today.

Learn more about facilitation and how you can succeed at it wherever you are by downloading our Definitive Guide to Facilitating Remote Workshops .

About the authors

David Young

David Young

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PROBLEM STATEMENT

Learn everything you need to know to develop a Problem Statement by an Ex-McKinsey consultant . Includes best practices , examples, and a free problem statement template at the bottom.

“A problem well stated is a problem half solved.”

– Charles Kettering, Early 1900s American Inventor

I remember my first day on my first project at McKinsey, the partner got the team in a room for us to spend a few hours “defining the problem statement.” At first, I thought to myself, “man, what a dumb idea…this client is paying us millions of dollars, and we don’t even know what we are trying to solve?” But, as we started to debate the context of the client, the issues they faced, and the reasons why they brought us on, I started to appreciate defining the problem statement and the ability for the right problem statement to frame and focus problem solving .

What is a problem statement?

A problem statement is a clear description of the problem you are trying to solve and is typically most effectively stated as a question. Problem statements are subtly critical in effective problem solving. They have an uncanny ability in focusing the efforts of brainstorming , teamwork, and projects .

To understand this better, let’s go through some examples of how you can position a brainstorming session on various topics.

Beyond brainstorming, problem statements should be used at the beginning of any project to frame and focus on the problem. A good problem statement defines the “who” the problem involves, and defines the scope of the problem. Since problem statements guide much of the problem solving of a project, it is important not to be too narrow or broad with the problem statement.

How do you create an effective problem statement?

As stated before, every McKinsey project starts with the development of a problem statement. Once we landed on a strong problem statement, then we had to align the client with the problem statement. The easiest way for a project and team to get off track is if the team and the client are trying to solve different problems. A good problem statement aligns the expectations of the client with the team’s activities and output.

Here are the best practices when creating an effective problem statement:

Use the 5 Ws and one H

One of the most useful tools when developing a problem statement is the 5 Ws and one H, which is simply utilizing who, what, why, where, when, and how questions to frame the problem statement. Simply thinking through these questions as they relate to the problem can help you create a strong problem statement.

Ask the most crucial question, “What are we trying to solve?”

We’ve all been in those brainstorming sessions, meetings or on those projects, where you’re just scratching your head, as the conversation or directions are more like an Olympic ping-pong match going from one topic to the next. The most effective question that I’ve used in over a thousand meetings and conversations is simply “what are we trying to solve?” It cuts through the clutter, confusion, and misalignment, and quickly centers the focus and energy of everyone.

Frame the problem statement as a goal

Some of the best problem statements are simply goals formatted as questions. If you need to increase sales by 10%, a good problem statement is, “Within the next 12 months, what are the most effective options for the team to increase sales by 10%?”

Force the prioritization 

Often, the most effective problem statements force the prioritization of issues and opportunities. Using phrases such as “the most important for the customer” or “the best way” will force prioritization.

DOWNLOAD THE PROBLEM STATEMENT POWERPOINT WORKSHEET

To get you going on defining a strong problem statement, download the free and editable Problem Statement PowerPoint Worksheet.

Correctly defining a problem statement at the beginning of a project or initiative will dramatically improve the success of the project or initiative. Problem statements help guide problem solving, analysis , hypotheses , and solutions.

Developing a problem statement is an iterative brainstorming process. Get the major stakeholders in a room for a few hours and start the process by having everyone write down what they think the problem is on index cards. Collect the index cards and post them on a whiteboard. You can either discuss each one or have the group pick the top 3 and then discuss them. You can use the Problem Statement Worksheet to further define the problem by answering the 5 Ws and 1 H. The key is to find the right problem statement all stakeholders feel strongly about, in that, if the problem statement were solved, the problem would be solved.

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problem solution statement meaning

How to Write to Problem Statements (Examples Included)

Fahad Usmani, PMP

November 16, 2023

problem statements

A problem statement is a summary of all the problems you intend to address. It contextualizes the problem(s), provides the details, and defines the research objective to find the solution. A problem statement is a problem-solving method.

A problem statement is crucial for any new business endeavor, research, or project. It serves as a compass that guides the efforts towards a defined goal. A well-crafted problem statement not only helps in focusing efforts but also gets support and resources for the proposed solution.

In today’s post, we will discuss the problem statements and how to write them, and finally, we will see some examples of problem statements. However, before that, let us know the problem statement and when you should write it.

What Are Problem Statements?

A problem statement details the problems the business faces in carrying out its processes, expanding its business, launching new products, etc. It identifies the gap between the current state and the desired state of the process or product.

The problem statement details how the problem impacts your customers, employees, other stakeholders, or the organization .

The information in the problem statement is objectives based on facts and avoids speculation and bias. It explains a challenge that sums up what you want to change. It helps your team members and other stakeholders to focus on the problem.

A problem statement has the following three characteristics:

  • It includes the problem details and why the problem must be solved.
  • It includes the proposed solution.
  • It details how the proposed solution will solve the problem and how you will implement it.

Five Components of a Problem Statement

To write a problem statement, focusing on the five Ws: who, what, when, where, and why or how, can help write an effective problem statement.

Asking these questions will ensure that you cover all the key elements of the problem:

  • Who: Who is affected by the problem?
  • What: What is the current state of the problem, and what is the desired state of the problem? Alternatively, what is the magnitude of the problem?
  • When: When will the problem occur? Alternatively, how long has the problem been going on?
  • Where: Where is the problem occurring?
  • Why: Why is this problem important or worth solving? 

Ensure you ask the right questions to stakeholders while developing the problem statement.

When Should You Write Your Problem Statement?

A problem statement helps understand the problem and find the possible solution. You can write your problem statement in many situations. 

For example, your organization needs to improve its processes for better efficiency and create a project for this purpose. So, you will write a problem statement to solve the organization’s problems.

The following are a few instances in which you should write a problem statement:

  • When you want to clarify the expected outcome
  • When you are starting a new project or initiative
  • When you are trying to solve a complex problem
  • When you are trying to get buy-in from stakeholders
  • When you are trying to communicate the problem to others clearly and concisely

A problem statement is a key document that is the basis of the feasibility and cost-benefit analysis .

How to Write an Effective Problem Statement

The following are the key elements of an effective problem statement; ensure you include them while writing the problem statement:

Step I: Provide a Context to the Problem

Before writing the problem, you must provide the context or the background of the problem so the stakeholders can be prepared to understand the problem. 

You can describe the virtual situation that how the system would work if the current problem is not solved before providing the solution and its benefits.

Step II: Explain the Problem

Now, you can explain the problem in detail. You can write about the issue and how it impacts the organization negatively. You can write about what will happen if the organization is left in its current state and the problem is not solved.

You can include attempts by earlies to solve the problem and why they failed. Provide all information you know about the current problem in brief.

Step III: Define Your Objectives

At the end, explain how you will solve the problem. The intention should not be to correct the problem but to find the root cause and solve it once and for all. Explain how the proposed solution is the best course of action.

You must back up your claims with evidence and objective data. Show them how the proposed solution will cost and the financial benefits of it.

You can include the tangible and intangible benefits of the proposed solution.

You can finally conclude the problem statement by summarizing the problem statement, its impact on the business and not solved on time, your proposed solution, and its benefit.

Best Practices for Writing a Problem Statement

To ensure that your problem statement is robust and provides precise information, follow the following best practices:

  • Structure your content well, use simple language, and avoid using complex sentences, idioms, and phrases. The statement should be easy to read and understand and should not confuse the reader.
  • Don’t explain the problem, and avoid subjective details. Provide objective data and keep the statement as simple and precise as possible.
  • Objective data representation doesn’t require much effort to analyze. Make it simple to understand and use graphs if possible.
  • After capturing the problem, refine it continuously by analyzing it from multiple perspectives and different points of view.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Problem Statement?

A few benefits of using a problem statement are as follows:

  • Clarity and Focus: It helps identify the issue at hand while providing focus and direction to those who are solving the problem.
  • Decision-Making Guidance: It outlines the specific problem that needs attention.
  • Effort Alignment: Articulating the problem helps align the efforts of different individuals or teams toward a common goal. It ensures that all stakeholders are on the same page.
  • Problem-Scope Definition: It assists with defining the problem’s scope, preventing scope creep , and ensuring that efforts are concentrated on the core issue without distractions.
  • Measurement and Evaluation: It helps create measurable success criteria. This makes it easier to evaluate the effectiveness of proposed solutions and to track progress.
  • Problem-Solving Process Improvement: It encourages a thorough understanding of the problem, thereby enhancing the problem-solving process. It promotes thoughtful analysis and considers potential solutions to improve the process, product, or user experience.
  • Communication: It serves as a communication tool , thereby enabling effective communication between stakeholders. A well-constructed problem statement facilitates discussion and collaboration.

Problem Statement Examples

Great problem statements are simple, to the point, and precise. They describe the pain points in a few lines and leave no space for any confusion.

Now, I will give you two examples of problem statements for better understanding.

Problem Statement Example #1

The unavailability of medical facilities in a developing country causes health risks to local populations and severely affects the health of children.

The above problem statement clearly specifies the problem on hand, that is, the unavailability of medical facilities and medicines. Afterward, it explains the negative consequence of the problem if left unsolved.

By focusing on the problem, the stakeholders can find the solution.

Problem Statement Example #2

The company must launch a new product to capture the market for the newly created niche.

Here, the problem specifies that the market demands a new product, so the business must launch its product to capture the market and establish itself.

For example, when Apple launched the iPhone, it was the first touchscreen phone and created a new niche in the mobile segment. Afterward, other mobile phone makers, such as Samsung and Nokia, launched touchscreen mobile phones to capture the market quickly.

As organizations deal with complex challenges, defining and addressing problems through thoughtful problem statements remains a key skill for driving meaningful change and progress.

A good problem statement lays the groundwork for successful problem-solving endeavors. It acts as a roadmap to guide researchers, project managers, and teams toward effective solutions.

problem solution statement meaning

I am Mohammad Fahad Usmani, B.E. PMP, PMI-RMP. I have been blogging on project management topics since 2011. To date, thousands of professionals have passed the PMP exam using my resources.

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Problem statements in ux discovery.

Portrait of Maria Rosala

August 22, 2021 2021-08-22

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Running discoveries can be challenging. Many teams start discovery research with little direction as to what problem they want to solve. When this happens, discoveries meander and result in dwindling team and stakeholder morale. Worse still, some discoveries begin with investigating solutions, rather than the problems those solutions are intended to solve. (Remember: if you’re investigating only solutions in a discovery, you’re not doing a true discovery! )

To avoid these issues, spend time upfront to identify and frame the problem . If you don’t know the problem, you’re not going to have much luck solving it! The better a problem is articulated, the easier and more effectively it can be solved. One device that help teams to frame a problem is a problem statement.

In This Article:

What’s a problem statement, how to write a problem statement, problem statements don’t need to be negative, how to use problem statements.

Problem statement: A concise description of the problem that needs to be solved.

It’s a helpful scoping device, focusing the team on the problem it needs to explore and subsequently solve. A problem statement makes clear what needs to be done in discovery and what’s out of scope. Problem statements are also great communication tools; well-written ones can be used to gain buy-in from stakeholders on why it’s important to explore and solve the problem.

Here are some examples of problem statements.

  • Users of our newspaper app often export content from our app, rather than sharing content through our app. This is a problem because target audiences are less likely to know that the content came from our app, leading to lower conversion rates. This is also a problem for app users, as exporting content is time-consuming and could lead to a decrease in app usage.
  • Sales reps spend a long time planning which leads to visit each month. Because planning is done manually — using Excel spreadsheets and printed paper lists — sales reps find it difficult to meet their targets. Many have complained that keeping track of which leads to visit takes away from the time they can spend with them. This is a problem because, when targets are not met, the business risks losing revenue.
  • Each year, many applicants call the contact center seeking an update on their application. Applicants often spend a long time waiting to speak to an agent. Because contact-center staff members lack access to case information, they are unable to answer queries from applicants. This situation causes frustration for both applicants and customer-contact staff and represents an avoidable cost to the department.

It's a good idea to write a problem statement as early as possible in your discovery, as it can help set discovery goals and objectives. Many teams will compose their problem statement in a discovery kick-off workshop.

A problem statement should include:

  • The background of a problem. Which organization or department has the problem and what is the problem? Why has the problem arisen? Note that in some cases you may not know the exact causes of the problem. This is what discoveries are for: to uncover root causes. (In this case, you may add this aspect once you’ve done your research)
  • The people affected by the problem. There could be multiple user groups affected by a specific problem in different ways. In the problem statement, you should call out how the problem affects users. In some cases, internal employees (particularly customer-support staff) can be affected by a problem, as they often bear the brunt of poor user experiences –- for example, by handling disgruntled customers.
  • The impact of the problem on the organization. If the problem is not fixed, what will be the effect on the organization? Reputational damage? Paying unavoidable costs? Losing out-of-market share? In some cases, you may want to quantify the impact in order to convince your organization to fix the problem. Your discovery could involve working out how much this problem costs the organization, and this information could end up in your problem statement.

To gather the relevant facts for your problem statement, you can use a simple technique called the 5 Ws , which involves answering the questions below. This activity can be included in a discovery kick - off workshop with your team and stakeholders.

  • Who is affected by the problem?
  • What is the problem?
  • Where does this problem occur?
  • When does the problem occur?
  • Why does the problem occur? Why is the problem important?

If you don’t have all the answers to the above, don’t panic! While you should know what the problem is, you may not know exactly why it came about. This is what your discovery should tackle. Throughout the discovery process, you can return to your problem statement and add to it.

It’s important that problem statements are written well to serve their purpose. A problem statement should :

  • Not be a laundry list of unrelated problems . A discovery effort should have one problem statement, and the problem statement should be focused on one problem. Of course, a single problem could cause further problems, and those related problems can be added to your problem statement. But listing many unrelated problems is a sign that you’re tackling too much.
  • Not contain a solution . Leave solutions out of your problem statement. At the beginning of discovery, there are too many unknowns, so the the best solution is not obvious. At the end of your discovery, you’ll be in a good position to confidently put forward solution ideas that address the problem and take into account what you’ve learned.
  • Be brief . Problem statements are effective when they’re concise. If you can condense your problem statement down to a few sentences, others will quickly understand what you focus on and why, and what’s out of scope. Spend some time to draft and redraft the problem statement with your team.

The examples I’ve given so far are negative — talking about something that needs fixing. However, problem statements can also capture opportunities (in which case they are sometimes referred to as opportunity statements instead of problem statements, although they are written and used in the same way).

Here’s an example of a problem statement that highlights an opportunity, rather than a problem that needs to be fixed:

The process of purchasing a newly built home can take a long time and requires many offline activities. This means sales often take a long time to close. There’s an opportunity to make home buying quicker and easier, and thus improve customer-satisfaction ratings and sales.

In an opportunity statement, we need to highlight the gap between where we are now (the present state) and where we want to be in the future (the desired state). A good question to ask to highlight this gap is: What do we want to achieve?

Your problem statement can be used as the starting point for structuring your discovery work. For example, if the problem statement was about improving the home-buying process, the goal for the discovery should be to learn about opportunities to make home buying quicker and easier. Once we have a discovery goal, it becomes easier to know what unknowns need research. For example, in this case, we probably want to know things like:

  • Which activities do homebuyers perceive as difficult or time-consuming?
  • Which activities or use cases can slow down the home-buying process and why?
  • What does the end-to-end journey currently look like?

As you begin discovery, you can return to your problem statement and refine it — particularly if you’ve learned root causes or how much a problem costs your organization. Another reason to update your problem statement is if the discovery changes direction — which can happen when new areas of interest are highlighted through exploratory research. Finally, at the end of the discovery process, the problem statement can be communicated alongside your findings and recommendations to provide the full narrative of the discovery process.

A problem statement is a concise description of the problem to be solved. Writing problem statements at the beginning of the discovery process can create alignment and buy-in around the problem to be solved and provide direction in subsequent discovery activities. To construct problem statements, focus on who the problem affects, how it does so, and why it’s important to solve the problem.

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‘A nightmare’: Special counsel’s assessment of Biden’s mental fitness triggers Democratic panic

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden sidestepped any criminal charges as the investigation into his handling of classified documents concluded, but the political blowback from the special counsel’s report Thursday could prove even more devastating, reinforcing impressions that he is too old and impaired to hold the highest office.

Special counsel Robert Hur’s portrait of a man who couldn’t remember when he served as Barack Obama’s vice president, or the year when his beloved son Beau died, dealt a blow to Biden’s argument that he is still sharp and fit enough to serve another four-year term.

In deciding not to charge Biden with any crimes, the special counsel wrote that in a potential trial, “Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview with him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

It was tough enough for Biden to reassure voters about his health before Hur’s report hit like a thunderclap Thursday afternoon, prompting members of his own party to question whether he could remain the nominee in November.

“It’s a nightmare,” said a Democratic House member who asked to speak anonymously to provide a frank assessment, adding that “it weakens President Biden electorally, and Donald Trump would be a disaster and an authoritarian.”

“For Democrats, we’re in a grim situation.”

Biden wasted little time before attempting to minimize the fallout. He held an unexpected exchange with reporters in the White House on Thursday night, in which he disputed Hur's assessment of his mental acuity.

Biden grew emotional when invoking the part of the report addressing the date of his son's death.

"How in the hell dare you raise that?" Biden said. "Frankly, when I was asked the question I thought to myself, 'It wasn't any of their damn business.' "

‘Beyond devastating’

Polling has long shown that age looms as Biden’s greatest liability in his expected rematch with Trump. A January poll by NBC News found that 76% of voters have major or moderate concerns about Biden’s mental and physical health.

“It’s been a problem since way before this ever happened,” said a longtime Democratic operative who noted that when focus groups are asked to apply one word to Biden, it is often “old.”

Just this week, Biden twice referred to conversations he’s had as president with foreign leaders who’ve long since died. In his remarks Thursday night defending his competency, while talking about the war in Gaza, he referred to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi as being the head of Mexico. White House press aides have downplayed such lapses as the sort of mistake anyone in public life can make.

The Hur report strips away the defenses that Biden’s press operation has used to protect him and raises fresh doubts about whether Biden is up to the rigors of the presidency, Democratic strategists said in interviews.

“This is beyond devastating,” said another Democratic operative, speaking on condition of anonymity to talk candidly about Biden’s shortcomings. “It confirms every doubt and concern that voters have. If the only reason they didn’t charge him is because he’s too old to be charged, then how can he be president of the United States?”

Asked if Hur’s report changes the calculus for Democrats who expect Biden to be the party’s nominee, this person said: “How the f--- does it not?”

Another Biden ally called it “the worst day of his presidency.”

“I think he needs to show us this is a demonstrably false characterization of him and that he has what it takes to win and govern.”

Biden has overwhelmingly won the first primary contests — notching victories in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. It would be virtually impossible for anyone else to challenge him at this point; the deadline has passed in more than 30 states to get on primary ballots.

Some of the president’s allies were quick to defend him. They pointed to the timing of the interview with the special counsel — days after Hamas’ attack on Israel, which had captured much of the president’s focus. Others said that in their own dealings with Biden, he shows no sign of infirmity.

“He did so well in this discussion with members,” Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., told NBC News after seeing the president on Thursday. “He’s very sharp, no memory issues, and his only stumbling is when he trips over words consistent with his lifelong speech impediment.”

‘Prejudicial language’

Though Biden was fortunate to escape indictment, the special counsel report may give Trump additional fodder as he fights charges for allegedly mishandling classified records at his Mar-a-Lago social club. Republicans are already accusing Biden of benefiting from a double standard . Trump will likely brandish the Hur report as proof that Biden has “weaponized” the Justice Department for political advantage.

What’s more, Democrats will now be hard-pressed to capitalize on Trump’s indictment over retaining classified records. Before Hur’s report came out, Democrats argued that the two cases were very different. Whereas Trump failed to turn over classified records even after he was asked to do so, Biden willingly cooperated with authorities and relinquished all the material he had, Biden allies had argued.

“The public understands the essential difference between presidents or vice presidents like Joe Biden who occasionally behaved in sloppy ways with respect to where they were taking documents, and a president like Trump, who deliberately makes off with hundreds of classified government documents and then hides them and refuses to return them,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said on Wednesday, before the report was released. (Trump has denied any wrongdoing.)

Now, the distinctions may be harder for Biden allies to draw, given that Hur wrote that there was evidence Biden “willfully retained and disclosed classified material after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen.”

The report mentions an instance in February 2017, when he was no longer vice president, when Biden read notes containing classified information “nearly verbatim” to a ghostwriter helping him with his book, “Promise Me, Dad.”

Storage of sensitive government secrets was haphazard. The report describes certain classified records involving the war in Afghanistan in Biden’s Delaware garage inside a “badly damaged box surrounded by household detritus.”

Before the report was released, Biden aides had been bracing for a finding that he had simply been careless in his treatment of classified records, a person familiar with the White House’s thinking said.

The political fallout from the report, though, is likely to be “worse,” this person said. What will stick in people’s minds is what Hur said about Biden’s memory, the person added.

Biden’s lawyers disputed the report’s description of Biden’s forgetfulness.

“We do not believe that the report’s treatment of President Biden’s memory is accurate or appropriate,” two of his lawyers wrote in a letter to Hur. “The report uses highly prejudicial language to describe a commonplace occurrence among witnesses: a lack of recall of years-old events.”

In the hours after the report was released, people close to the Biden campaign rolled out a different rebuttal. Jim Messina, who ran Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, wrote on X, the site formerly known as Twitter, that Hur is a Republican who “knew exactly how his swipes could hurt Biden politically.”

That’s a familiar argument. Trump has also claimed that law enforcement is trying to sway the election, meaning both sides are now claiming victimization at the hands of partisan prosecutors.

“Hur knew exactly what he was doing here,” Stephanie Cutter, a veteran Democratic operative, wrote on X. “To provide political cover for himself for not prosecuting, he gratuitously leveled a personal (not legal) charge against the president that he absolutely knows is a gift to Trump. And, guess what we are all talking about?”

problem solution statement meaning

Peter Nicholas is a senior national political reporter for NBC News.

Watch CBS News

Read the full decision in Trump's New York civil fraud case

By Graham Kates

Edited By Stefan Becket, Paula Cohen

Updated on: February 16, 2024 / 8:27 PM EST / CBS News

The judge overseeing the civil fraud case in New York against former President Donald Trump and the Trump Organization has issued his long-awaited ruling , five weeks after the  trial in the case concluded . 

Judge Arthur Engoron ordered Trump and his company to pay $354 million in fines — a total that jumps to $453.5 million when pre-judgment interest is factored in. It also bars them from seeking loans from financial institutions in New York for a period of three years, and includes a three-year ban on Trump serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation. 

Additional penalties were ordered for Trump's sons, Eric and Donald Trump Jr., who are executives at the company, and two former executives, Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey McConney.

New York Attorney General Letitia James  brought the civil suit  in 2022, seeking a  penalty that grew to $370 million  and asking the judge to bar Trump from doing business in the state. 

Judge Engoron had already ruled in September that Trump and the other defendants were  liable for fraud , based on the evidence presented through pretrial filings. 

The judge had largely affirmed James' allegations that Trump and others at his company had inflated valuations of his properties by hundreds of millions of dollars over a the course of a decade and misrepresented his wealth by billions in a scheme, the state said, intended to trick banks and insurers into offering more favorable deal terms.

Trump and his legal team long expected a defeat, with the former president decrying the case as "rigged" and a "sham" and his lawyers laying the groundwork for an appeal before the decision was even issued. He is expected to appeal.

Read Judge Engoron's decision here :

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Graham Kates is an investigative reporter covering criminal justice, privacy issues and information security for CBS News Digital. Contact Graham at [email protected] or [email protected]

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G.O.P. Officials, Once Critical, Stand by Trump After NATO Comments

Defending Donald Trump or deflecting his statements, some top G.O.P. officials reflected the trajectory of a party that the former president has largely bent to his will.

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Donald Trump on a stage and clapping his hands outstretched in front of him.

By Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Swan

After Donald J. Trump suggested he had threatened to encourage Russia to attack “delinquent” NATO allies, the response among many Republican officials has struck three themes — expressions of support, gaze aversion or even cheerful indifference.

Republican Party elites have become so practiced at deflecting even Mr. Trump’s most outrageous statements that they quickly batted this one away. Mr. Trump, the party’s likely presidential nominee, had claimed at a Saturday rally in South Carolina that he once threatened a NATO government to meet its financial commitments — or else he would encourage Russia to “do whatever the hell they want” to that country.

In a phone interview on Sunday, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina seemed surprised to even be asked about Mr. Trump’s remark.

“Give me a break — I mean, it’s Trump,” Mr. Graham said. “All I can say is while Trump was president nobody invaded anybody. I think the point here is to, in his way, to get people to pay.”

Senator Marco Rubio, the Republican Party’s top-ranking official on the Senate Intelligence Committee, struck a matter-of-fact tone as he explained on CNN on Sunday why he was not bothered in the least.

“He told the story about how he used leverage to get people to step up to the plate and become more active in NATO,” Mr. Rubio said on “State of the Union,” rationalizing and sanitizing Mr. Trump’s comments as just a more colorful version of what other U.S. presidents have done in urging NATO members to spend more on their own defense. “I have zero concern, because he’s been president before. I know exactly what he has done and will do with the NATO alliance. But there has to be an alliance. It’s not America’s defense with a bunch of small junior partners.”

Mr. Trump’s comments from the rally stage were not part of his teleprompter remarks, according to a person close to him who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. But the remark — a new version of a story he has been telling for years — quickly inflamed in Europe what were already severe doubts about Mr. Trump’s commitment to NATO’s collective-defense provision. That provision, known as Article 5, states that an armed attack on any member “shall be considered an attack against them all.”

Mr. Trump has been using his power over the G.O.P. to try to kill recent bipartisan efforts on Capitol Hill to send Ukraine more weapons and vital resources for its fight against Russia. Ukraine is not a NATO member, but helping Ukraine preserve its independence has become the alliance’s defining mission since President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia began his military invasion in February 2022. And where Mr. Trump might land on a commitment to Ukraine has, for the international community and foreign-policy experts, become something of a stand-in for how he will approach NATO, America’s most important military alliance, in any potential second term.

Officials from smaller and more vulnerable NATO countries are especially worried because Mr. Trump has already suggested that it’s not in America’s national interest to get in a war with Russia to defend a tiny nation like, say, Montenegro .

The international reaction to Mr. Trump’s Saturday remarks included a rare public rebuke from Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general. Mr. Stoltenberg said that “any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security, including that of the U.S., and puts American and European soldiers at increased risk.”

The defense of Mr. Trump by several Republican officials such as Mr. Graham reflected the trajectory of a party that the former president has largely bent to his will.

Eight years ago, when Mr. Trump was in the thick of his first campaign for president, Mr. Graham would have given a very different response. In that campaign, Mr. Graham — initially one of Mr. Trump’s competitors in the primary, whom Mr. Trump quickly vanquished — saw himself as a defender of the Republican Party’s internationalist values against what he perceived as the acute threat of Mr. Trump’s isolationism.

As a wingman of the late Republican hawk and war hero Senator John McCain of Arizona, Mr. Graham traveled the country warning anyone who would listen about the dangers of Mr. Trump. But after Mr. Trump won the presidency, Mr. Graham set about becoming a friend and close adviser and was welcomed into Mr. Trump’s inner circle. Many others followed a similar path.

In 2016, Mr. Rubio, another foreign policy hawk who competed against Mr. Trump for the party’s nomination, called Mr. Trump a “con man” and warned how dangerous he would be if entrusted with the nation’s nuclear codes. But after Mr. Trump won, he put those feelings aside, became friendly with Mr. Trump and is now among a handful of Republicans in contention to be his running mate.

Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, among the most hawkish Republicans on national defense, suggested European nations in the alliance needed to do more to sustain their own defenses against Russian incursions.

“NATO countries that don’t spend enough on defense, like Germany, are already encouraging Russian aggression and President Trump is simply ringing the warning bell,” Mr. Cotton said in an interview. “Strength, not weakness, deters aggression. Russia invaded Ukraine twice under Barack Obama and Joe Biden, but not under Donald Trump.”

Several former national security and foreign policy officials in the Trump administration declined to speak about the anecdote that Mr. Trump told about threatening a NATO member nation’s head of state with encouraging Russian aggression. But they said they recalled no such meeting actually taking place.

Mr. Trump is fond of outright falsehoods in relaying stories to make himself look like a tough negotiator. His former national security adviser John Bolton, who has warned that Mr. Trump would withdraw the U.S. from NATO in a second term, said he had never heard Mr. Trump threaten another country’s leader that he would encourage a Russian invasion.

Another former official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid inflaming Mr. Trump, delicately described the tale as “hyperbole.” Still another former official — H.R. McMaster, Mr. Trump’s second national security adviser and a retired Army lieutenant general — gave a one-word assessment of Mr. Trump’s comments: “Irresponsible.”

Mr. Trump often praises Mr. Putin — he has described the invasion of Ukraine as the work of a “ genius ” — and has long admired him as a “strong” leader.

During the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump called on Russia to “find” emails that Hillary Clinton, then the Democratic nominee for president and a target of Mr. Putin, had deleted from her private email server. He has suggested Mr. Putin is no different, morally, from American leaders. When Bill O’Reilly, a former Fox News host, pressed Mr. Trump shortly after he took office on his admiration for Mr. Putin, saying that the Russian leader “is a killer,” Mr. Trump replied, “What, you think our country’s so innocent?”

But as president, Mr. Trump’s policies toward Russia were sometimes tougher than his predecessor’s — a point that Mr. Trump’s allies highlight when they dismiss statements such as Saturday’s as rhetorical flourishes. Mr. Trump’s allies, who claim he would not undermine NATO in a second term, point out that in his first term he approved sending antitank weapons to Ukraine, which President Obama had not done after Russia seized Crimea in 2014.

As he runs to take back the White House — and as polls suggest he has a good chance of doing so — Mr. Trump has been coy about his intentions for NATO. His campaign website contains a single cryptic sentence : “We have to finish the process we began under my administration of fundamentally re-evaluating NATO’s purpose and NATO’s mission.”

When pressed on what that means, Mr. Trump and his team have refused to elaborate.

Mr. Trump has been focused in private conversations about treating foreign aid as loans, something he has posted about on social media, as Senate Republicans tried again on Sunday to pass an aid package, after Mr. Trump helped tank their earlier efforts. But the Russia comment appeared to catch most on his team by surprise.

Jason Miller, a senior adviser to Mr. Trump’s campaign, when asked to explain the former president’s statements — including whether it was an invitation for new aggression from Russia — did not directly address the question.

“Democrat and media pearl-clutchers seem to have forgotten that we had four years of peace and prosperity under President Trump, but Europe saw death and destruction under Obama-Biden and now more death and destruction under Biden,” Mr. Miller said. “President Trump got our allies to increase their NATO spending by demanding they pay up, but Joe Biden went back to letting them take advantage of the American taxpayer. When you don’t pay your defense spending, you can’t be surprised that you get more war.”

NATO countries’ spending on their own defense grew during the Trump administration, but it has expanded by an even larger amount during the Biden administration, after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Keith Kellogg, a retired lieutenant general who worked in the Trump administration, has remained close to Mr. Trump and who has also been outspoken on the need to defend Ukraine, spoke at the request of the Trump campaign, saying that he did not believe Mr. Trump was opening the door to fresh aggression.

Mr. Trump, Mr. Kellogg said, has a “track record of deterrence.”

He added, “I really do think he’s onto something,” saying that he believes Mr. Trump’s goal is to get NATO members to focus on Article 3 of NATO’s founding treaty, which calls on nations to build their individual and collective abilities to stave off an armed attack.

“I don’t think it’s encouragement at all,” Mr. Kellogg said, because “we know what he means when he says it.”

Maggie Haberman is a senior political correspondent reporting on the 2024 presidential campaign, down ballot races across the country and the investigations into former President Donald J. Trump. More about Maggie Haberman

Jonathan Swan is a political reporter covering the 2024 presidential election and Donald Trump’s campaign. More about Jonathan Swan

Our Coverage of the 2024 Presidential Election

News and Analysis

Ahead of the Republican primary in South Carolina, Nikki Haley said she was not dropping out of the race  and had no fear of Donald Trump’s “retribution.”

President Biden is headed to California for a series of campaign fund-raisers in some of the wealthiest parts of the country as he seeks to add to the $42 million he raised for his re-election campaign in January .

Days after the death of the Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny was first reported, Trump broke his silence in a winding social media post   that did not condemn President Vladimir Putin of Russia.

A Right-Wing Nerve Center:  The Conservative Partnership Institute has become a breeding ground for the next generation of Trump loyalists and an incubator for policies he might pursue. Its fast growth is raising questions .

Anti-Trump Burnout:  Bracing for yet another election against Trump, Democrats are grappling with fatigue . “We’re kind of, like, crises-ed out,” one voter said.

 On Wall Street:  Investors are already thinking about how financial markets might respond to the outcome of a Biden-Trump rematch , and how they should trade to prepare for it.

Devouring the Establishment:  Long a dominant force over the Republican Party’s institutions, Trump is now moving to fully eradicate their independence  and remake them in his own image as November draws closer.

Letting Insults Fly: Nikki Haley has, until recently, run a fairly positive campaign, even as she has endured relentless criticism from Trump. Her 22-year-old son, Nalin Haley, is not so inclined to pull his punches .

US warned allies about Russian space, nuclear capabilities, source says

U.S. military brass testify in the House on Afghanistan

'NOT A CAUSE FOR PANIC'

Additional reporting by Joey Roulette, Chris Bing and Trevor Hunnicutt in Washington Editing by Don Durfee, Nick Zieminski, Matthew Lewis and Leslie Adler

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problem solution statement meaning

Thomson Reuters

Patricia Zengerle has reported from more than 20 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and China. An award-winning Washington-based national security and foreign policy reporter who also has worked as an editor, Patricia has appeared on NPR, C-Span and other programs, spoken at the National Press Club and attended the Hoover Institution Media Roundtable. She is a recipient of the Edwin M. Hood Award for Diplomatic Correspondence.

U.S. President Biden boards Marine One for travel to California from Washinton, U.S.

Mexico talks with Canada about high number of asylum requests

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday that his government is addressing a complaint from Canada over the high number of asylum requests from Mexicans.

People demonstrate following the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, in Warsaw

IMAGES

  1. Problem Statement Examples For Your Company

    problem solution statement meaning

  2. How do I write a problem statement? Top tips and examples to help you

    problem solution statement meaning

  3. 50 Printable Problem Statement Templates (MS Word) ᐅ TemplateLab

    problem solution statement meaning

  4. Effective Problem Statement Examples

    problem solution statement meaning

  5. Problem Statement

    problem solution statement meaning

  6. How to Write a Problem Solution Essay

    problem solution statement meaning

VIDEO

  1. Problem Statement Explainer Session

  2. Problem Solving Methods

  3. solution analysis of financial statement class 12th NCERT

  4. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

  5. problem problem problem

  6. financial statement meaning

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Problem Statement (With 3 Examples)

    Developing a problem statement that provides a brief description of an issue you want to solve is an important early step in problem-solving. It sounds deceptively simple. But creating an effective problem statement isn't that easy, even for a genius like Albert Einstein.

  2. Problem-Solution Essays: Definition and Examples

    In composition, using a problem-solution format is a method for analyzing and writing about a topic by identifying a problem and proposing one or more solutions. A problem-solution essay is a type of argument. "This sort of essay involves argumentation in that the writer seeks to convince the reader to take a particular course of action.

  3. What is a Solution Statement? (Definition and Examples)

    Your problem statement should set the stage for your solution to shine. Let's look at a successful startup, Lime, who found a great solution to an existing problem. Lime is an e-scooter and bike-sharing startup that, since its launch in 2017, has rapidly grown into one of the world's biggest e-scooter and bike-sharing networks since its launch.

  4. How to Write a Problem Statement

    A problem statement is a concise and concrete summary of the research problem you seek to address. It should: Contextualize the problem. What do we already know? Describe the exact issue your research will address. What do we still need to know? Show the relevance of the problem. Why do we need to know more about this?

  5. What Is a Problem Statement: Definition, How-To and Example

    A problem statement is a concise description of the problem or issues a project seeks to address. The problem statement identifies the current state, the desired future state and any gaps between the two.

  6. How To Write a Problem Statement (With an Example)

    A problem statement is a statement of a current issue or problem that requires timely action to improve the situation. This statement concisely explains the barrier the current problem places between a functional process and/or product and the current (problematic) state of affairs.

  7. How to Create a Problem and Solution Statement

    A powerful problem and solution statement should tell a story about your customers and the solution you provide. It's how you position your business within your business plan . But crafting a short and compelling description of your problem and solution is easier said than done. This guide will walk you through the process.

  8. How to write a problem statement: Template and examples

    As mentioned in the name, a problem statement is a written statement about the customer problem — usually expressed as a pain point, need, or opportunity — that you and your team are trying to resolve.

  9. How to write a problem statement

    A problem statement identifies a problem's current state, desired future state, and the gaps that lie between the two. It doesn't define the solution to the problem or provide a road map for solving the problem; it only gives an outline of what the problem is.

  10. How to Write a Problem Statement (with Pictures)

    6. Use a formal voice. Problem statements are almost always used for serious proposals and projects. Because of this, you'll want to use a formal, dignified writing style (the same as the style hopefully used for the body of the document) in the problem statement. Keep your writing clear, plain, and direct.

  11. How to write a problem statement: a step-by-step guide

    Problem statements summarize a challenge you want to resolve, its causes, who it impacts, and why that's important. They often read like a concise overview managers can share with stakeholders and their teams. Why are problem statements important? Problem statements help you share details about a challenge facing your team.

  12. How to Write a Problem Statement in 5 Steps

    Write with Grammarly What is a problem statement? A problem statement briefly explains a problem you want to correct. In most cases, it doesn't include a proposed solution. Rather, it simply states a problem and articulates the problem's details.

  13. Problem Statement: Meaning, How To write and Examples

    A standard problem statement definition states that is it used to create a framework to find a possible solution to a problem. A problem statement makes your business analytics tasks and projects more organized. Why the Need for a Problem Statement? A problem statement is essential for the following reasons: To identify the goals of the project

  14. How to Write an Effective Problem Statement

    A problem statement should include absolute or relative measures of the problem that quantify that gap, but should not include possible causes or solutions! Key elements of an effective problem statement include: Gap: Identify the gap (pain) that exists today. Timeframe, location and trend: Describe when and where the problem was first observed ...

  15. The Problem-Definition Process

    Write a problem statement. The Problem-Definition Process encourages you to define and understand the problem that you're trying to solve, in detail. It also helps you confirm that solving the problem contributes towards your organization's objectives.

  16. Problem Statement: What It Is And Examples

    Problem statements are a document that evaluates a problem and presents a solution to it. Having a written problem statement helps to determine the issue that you're trying to ameliorate, as well as how you plan to go about it. It ensures that everyone on the team knows what the goal is and the steps needed to achieve it.

  17. What is a UX Problem Statement?

    Problem statements are concise descriptions of design problems. Design teams use them to define the current and ideal states, and to freely find user-centered solutions. Then, they use these statements—also called points of view (POVs)—as reference points throughout a project to measure the relevance of ideas they produce.

  18. How To Write A Problem Statement

    Similarly, in the corporate world, every business plan starts with solving a problem. The better business leaders articulate the problem statement, the more valuable the solution will be. Read on to explore the meaning of a problem statement and how to write one. You'll also learn about its significance in contemporary business contexts.

  19. Problem statement

    A problem statement is a description of an issue to be addressed or a condition to be improved upon. It identifies the gap between the current problem and goal. The problem statement should be designed to address the Five Ws. The first condition of solving a problem is understanding the problem, which can be done by way of a problem statement. [1]

  20. How to Write Problem Statements You'll Actually Use

    2. Draft the problem statement. Now it's time to start writing out a statement that is as clear and comprehensive as possible. As you do this, be aware of how you are framing the problem. You want to be careful to avoid any bias and to remain completely objective. Potential issues to look out for include:

  21. Problem Statements by Ex-Mckinsey

    You can use the Problem Statement Worksheet to further define the problem by answering the 5 Ws and 1 H. The key is to find the right problem statement all stakeholders feel strongly about, in that, if the problem statement were solved, the problem would be solved. Learn more about , the author of all this free content and a McKinsey Alum.

  22. How to Write to Problem Statements (Examples Included)

    A problem statement is a summary of all the problems you intend to address. It contextualizes the problem(s), provides the details, and defines the research objective to find the solution. A problem statement is a problem-solving method. A problem statement is crucial for any new business endeavor, research, or project.

  23. Problem Statements in UX Discovery

    Problem statement: A concise description of the problem that needs to be solved. ... Leave solutions out of your problem statement. At the beginning of discovery, there are too many unknowns, so the the best solution is not obvious. At the end of your discovery, you'll be in a good position to confidently put forward solution ideas that ...

  24. 'A nightmare': Special counsel's assessment of Biden's mental fitness

    Special counsel Hur's report hit like a thunderclap, prompting members of Joe Biden's own party to question whether he could remain the nominee in November.

  25. Read the full decision in Trump's New York civil fraud case

    The judge's ruling orders former President Donald Trump and his company to pay $354 million in fines, plus almost $100 million in interest, and restricts Trump's business activities in the state.

  26. Biden will not face charges over classified papers, says 'memory is

    The most comprehensive solution to manage all your complex and ever-expanding tax and compliance needs. Checkpoint , opens new tab The industry leader for online information for tax, accounting ...

  27. G.O.P. Officials, Once Critical, Stand by Trump After NATO Comments

    Defending Donald Trump or deflecting his statements, some top G.O.P. officials reflected the trajectory of a party that the former president has largely bent to his will.

  28. US warned allies about Russian space, nuclear capabilities, source says

    Turner's statement was released in the midst of debate in Congress over how the United States should be dealing with global threats from Russia and other rivals, with security hawks urging greater ...