Problem definition for Structured Problem Analysis

Structured problem analysis is a process for investigating the cause of a problem.

After creating a problem analysis record, the problem manager should define the problem fully:
  • Specify the problem
  • List distinctions and changes

Specifying the Problem

Specify the problem details by entering values that are definitely true (Is) and values that could be true but are not (Is not) for:
  • What the problem is and what it is not.
  • Where the problem occurs and where it does not.
  • When the problem occurs and when it does not.
  • Extent to which the problem occurs and the extent to which it does not.
For each is, an equivalent is not question should be posed, although it may not always be answerable. These two columns aid in eliminating intuitive but incorrect assumptions about the problem.
Figure 1. KT What

To add these values, double-click Insert a new row... on the appropriate embedded list.

Specifying What

Use the WHAT list to define Is and Is not values for objects and deviations.
Figure 2. KT What Deviations
Table 1. Specifying What
Field Description
What object(s)? The objects that the problem affects.
D & C: What Object Shows the information entered when listing Distinctions and Changes for the WHAT area.
What deviations? The deviations from expected behavior.

Specifying Where

Use the WHERE list to enter Is and Is not values that define where the problem is occurring.
Figure 3. KT Where
Table 2. Specifying Where
Field Description
Where geographically The location where the problem is occurring.
D & C: Where Geographically Shows the information entered when listing Distinctions and Changes for the WHERE area.
Where on the object The part and location within the relevant object.

Specifying When

Use the WHEN list to enter Is and Is not values that define when the problem occurs.
Figure 4. KT When
Table 3. Specifying When
Field Description
When first? When was the problem first observed?
D & C: When First Shows the information entered when listing Distinctions and Changes for the WHEN area.
When since? When since the first observation has the problem been observed?
D & C: When Since Shows the information entered when listing Distinctions and Changes for the WHEN area.
When in the life cycle? When in the standard operational activities of the object does the problem occur?

Specifying Extent

Use the EXTENT list to enter Is or Is not values that define the extent of the problem.
Figure 5.
Table 4. Specifying Extent
Field Description
How many objects? The number of objects affected.
What is the size? The magnitude of the problem. Is it localized or widespread?
How many deviations? The quantity or frequency of the deviations.
What is the trend? The problem's potential for growth or shrinkage over time.