Lean Six Sigma Problem Statement

Posted by on May 3, 2012 in Lean Six Sigma | 0 comments

The charter problem statement is a concise description of what’s wrong and needs to be fixed.  It describes the opportunity and the pain that is being felt as a result of the problem.  In addition, the problem statement  serves to:

  1. Validate the team understands the problem.
  2. Solidifies consensus and ownership of the team members.
  3. Allow the team to begin focusing on a problem that is neither too narrow nor too broad.
  4. Allow the team to assess the validity of the data supporting the definition of the problem.
  5. Helps the team establish a baseline against which progress and results can be measured.

Problem statements answer the following questions:

  • What’s wrong?
  • Where is the problem appearing?
  • How big is the problem?
  • What impact does the problem have on the business?

Problem statements must not:

  • State an opinion about what’s wrong.
  • Describe the cause of the problem.
  • Assign blame for the problem.
  • Prescribe a solution.
  • Try to combine several problem statements into one.

Teams may have a hard time clarifying the problem statement especially if initial data isn’t available and may have to modify the statement during data collection in the measure phase.  This is alright, because without data our early statements of problems are often little more than guesswork.

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