Onsite Course Description

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Problem Solving and Decision Making

Length
1-2 days

Overview

Problem solving and decision making are critical skills to working professionals, yet most people learn these skills through trial and error and receive minimal formal training in these disciplines. Cognitive science has made great strides during the past two decades toward better understanding how humans solve problems and make decisions. Modern tactics and skills can build upon prior experience and improve both individual and team performance.

Problem Solving and Decision Making is a one-day (7 hour) workshop providing participants tools and tactics for working with real world problems in a professional environment. It provides analytical tools for problem identification and definition, evaluation of possible solutions, and solution selection, so that participants can bring better value to their organizations and customers.

The workshop is highly interactive, combining demonstrations and brief discussions of key learning points with individual and group “hands on” problem-solving exercises to reinforce learning and build confidence.

Objectives

The workshop is a mix of individual and group exercises that provide participants with both problem-solving and decision-making experiences. Participants apply the processes and tools presented by working on real-world and case-study problems throughout class. At the conclusion of the workshop participants will be able to:

  • More clearly define problems
  • Generate a wider variety of quality solutions
  • Support more structured analysis of options leading to better decisions
  • Recognize and avoid common pitfalls

 

Course Outline

  • Introductions:What is a “problem” and what does it mean to “solve” one? Participants learn new perspectives on problem identification and solutions. They explore the nature of their role in identifying and solving the problem, so as to bring the most value to their customers and organizations.
  • Verification:Tools and tactics for problem definition – Whether defining a “problem” or an “opportunity”, problem solvers must take a consultative approach to understand the desired
  • Identification:Approaches for alternative solution generation – Introduces participants to tools and techniques for generating a wider range of solutions. These tools enable problem solvers to improve both the quality and quantity of alternatives available.
  • Selection:Evaluating alternatives – The intersection between problem solving and evidence-based decision-making is the analysis of different options. Several approaches will be explored, including advantages, disadvantages, and pitfalls.
  • Execution:Implementation considerations – How to implement decisions for maximum effectiveness, adoption, and organizational learning.

 

Summary
Participants will practice the problem-solving process by working on actual problems in the course.  The focus in the course is on group problem solving and decision-making, but participants will be able to apply the same processes and tools to individual problems and decisions.


Reviews

Instructor was excellent. He presented a higher level of problem solving and provided a variety of approaches from which I can choose, depending on my specific need.
– SRI International, Contracts Manager

Instructor was knowledgeable, patient and effective in decribing concepts and ideas.– Qualcomm, Staff Engineer

Key Topics

Introduction: What is problem solving and decision-making

  • Problem solving and decision making defined
  • Evidence-based decision making
  • Non-evidence based decision making
  • Groups versus individual – the pros and cons

The Five-Step Problem Solving Process

1. Define and Analyze the Problem

  • Create a problem statement
  • Analyze and understand the problem
  • Apply tools and techniques for problem identification and analysis

2. Determine the Causes of the Problem

  • Collect data to understand the problem
  • Identify possible causes
  • Analyze causes
  • Select the root cause
  • Apply tools and techniques to determine the root cause

3. Generate Alternative Solutions

  • Identify possible solutions
  • Apply the tools and techniques for generating alternative solutions

4. Select the Solution—Make a Decision!

  • Determine a decision-making approach
  • Develop criteria for selecting a solution
  • Select the best solution
  • Validate the solution
  • Apply the tools and techniques for decision making

5. Implement the Solution

  • Develop an action plan
  • Implement the solution
  • Marshall support for the solution

 

Summary
Participants will practice the problem-solving process by working on actual problems in the course.  The focus in the course is on group problem solving and decision-making, but participants will be able to apply the same processes and tools to individual problems and decisions.

Key Topics

Introduction: What is problem solving and decision-making

  • Problem solving and decision making defined
  • Evidence-based decision making
  • Non-evidence based decision making
  • Groups versus individual – the pros and cons

The Five-Step Problem Solving Process

1. Define and Analyze the Problem

  • Create a problem statement
  • Analyze and understand the problem
  • Apply tools and techniques for problem identification and analysis

2. Determine the Causes of the Problem

  • Collect data to understand the problem
  • Identify possible causes
  • Analyze causes
  • Select the root cause
  • Apply tools and techniques to determine the root cause

3. Generate Alternative Solutions

  • Identify possible solutions
  • Apply the tools and techniques for generating alternative solutions

4. Select the Solution—Make a Decision!

  • Determine a decision-making approach
  • Develop criteria for selecting a solution
  • Select the best solution
  • Validate the solution
  • Apply the tools and techniques for decision making

5. Implement the Solution

  • Develop an action plan
  • Implement the solution
  • Marshall support for the solution

 

Summary
Participants will practice the problem-solving process by working on actual problems in the course.  The focus in the course is on group problem solving and decision-making, but participants will be able to apply the same processes and tools to individual problems and decisions.

Key Topics

Introduction: What is problem solving and decision-making

  • Problem solving and decision making defined
  • Evidence-based decision making
  • Non-evidence based decision making
  • Groups versus individual – the pros and cons

The Five-Step Problem Solving Process

1. Define and Analyze the Problem

  • Create a problem statement
  • Analyze and understand the problem
  • Apply tools and techniques for problem identification and analysis

2. Determine the Causes of the Problem

  • Collect data to understand the problem
  • Identify possible causes
  • Analyze causes
  • Select the root cause
  • Apply tools and techniques to determine the root cause

3. Generate Alternative Solutions

  • Identify possible solutions
  • Apply the tools and techniques for generating alternative solutions

4. Select the Solution—Make a Decision!

  • Determine a decision-making approach
  • Develop criteria for selecting a solution
  • Select the best solution
  • Validate the solution
  • Apply the tools and techniques for decision making

5. Implement the Solution

  • Develop an action plan
  • Implement the solution
  • Marshall support for the solution

 

Summary
Participants will practice the problem-solving process by working on actual problems in the course.  The focus in the course is on group problem solving and decision-making, but participants will be able to apply the same processes and tools to individual problems and decisions.