Problem definition sheet

What is it?

A problem definition sheet is a means of providing a clear statement of a problem, its aims and the objectives that are required to overcome the problem. It includes an assessment of costs and benefits, and likely timescales for solving and implementation.

When to use it

  • To define a potential area for improvement
  • To define a problem to be tackled,
  • To present a problem to a group, such as the quality council

What does it achieve?

A problem definition sheet allows you to assess all aspects of what is involved when trying to correct a problem. It prompts you to consider the reasons for undertaking a project, and enables you to record those reasons in terms of:

  • A clear statement of the problem
  • The potential gains of dealing with that problem,
  • The likely cost and timescales for improvement
  • The estimated savings and benefits
  • the people influenced by correcting the problem

Key steps

  • Define the current situation
  • Describe the desired situation
  • State the opportunities

Typical problem definition sheet

Current situation
Desired situation
Opportunity from difference
Simple definition of the current and desired situations.
Quantification of the current and desired situations.
    Potential gains
Who, when, where, how long details of the current and desired situations.
    Likely time-scale
Cost of the current and desired situations.
    Estimated savings/benefits