# Problem Analysis

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Decison & Problem Analysis

Problem identification can be harder than solving the problem. But how much effort is spent working on the wrong problem because it is assumed to be the cause. Take a moment and explain deviations to make sure the correct problem is identified.

Objective: Explain Deviation

1. Deviation Statement – the deviation statement simply answers the following questions:

• What should occur?
• What actually occurred?
• What is the variance?

2. Specify – this step focuses on the environment and clarifies the what variables impact the outcome

• What is / is not
• Where is / is not
• When is / is not
• Extent (how much) is / is not

3. Develop Possible Cause – do not eliminate any cause at this time, just try to capture all the possibilities. You can eliminate it later.

• Distinctions – what was different this time
• All changes – what has changed since the last satisfactory result

4. Test for Probable Cause – Explain all ‘is’ and ‘is not’ conditions

5. Verify – recheck your assumptions and explanations.

• Logic
• Reality

Questions to help identify the problem

What is the deviation?
How would you describe or specify the deviation?
What possible causes should be considered?
Which cause is most probable and is it the true cause?

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