help you ask the right questions, and work through the layers of a problem to uncover what's really going on.
At this stage, it's also important to ensure that you look at the issue from a variety of perspectives.
We look at these, and then review some useful, well-established problem-solving frameworks.
The key to a good problem definition is ensuring that you deal with the real problem – not its symptoms.
Problems are at the center of what many people do at work every day.
Whether you're solving a problem for a client (internal or external), supporting those who are solving problems, or discovering new problems to solve, the problems you face can be large or small, simple or complex, and easy or difficult.Choose a problem that involves your students in applying current learning.Remember that the context of most problems can be adapted to suit your students and your current class inquiry. The site also includes Problem Solving Information.The four-step approach to solving problems that we mentioned at the beginning of this article will serve you well in many situations.However, for a more comprehensive process, you can use Simplex, Appreciative Inquiry or Soft Systems Methodology (SSM).Going back to our example, substandard work could be caused by insufficient skills, but excessive workloads could also be contributing, as could excessively short lead times and poor motivation.The Drill Down technique will help you split your problem into smaller parts, each of which can then be solved appropriately.This provides you with practical information about how to implement problem solving in your maths programme as well as some of the philosophical ideas behind problem solving.Having good, strong problem solving skills can make a huge difference to your career.For these, see our sections on Creativity for step 2 (generating alternatives); Decision Making for step 3 (evaluating and selecting alternatives); and Project Management for step 4 (implementing solutions).The articles in this section of Mind Tools therefore focus on helping you make a success of the first of these steps – defining the problem.