Project Management Problem Solving Skills & Techniques

A meeting can be considered as a vehicle for team building and reinforcement of team member’s expectation, roles and commitment to the project objective. Three most common meetings are, Status review meetings, Problem-solving meetings, and Technical design meetings.

When an individual project team member identifies a problem, that person should call a problem-solving meeting with other appropriate individuals, he should not wait for a meeting to be called. Identifying and resolving project’s potential problems as early as possible, which is the critical factor for the project success. The brainstorming technique is very useful in identifying several problems.


The project manger and the project team need to establish guidelines at the beginning as well as level of authorization required to implement corrective actions. To be successful and effective meeting some factors must be considered


(a) Before the meeting

1. Determine whether the meeting is necessary or not.
2. Purpose of the meeting.
3. Who needs to participate in the meeting?
4. Agenda of the meeting.


(b) During the meeting

1. Start at the specified time.
2. Designate a note taker.
3. Review the purpose of the meeting.
4. Summarize the result of the meeting.
5. Evaluation should be carried out.


(c) After the meeting

1. Preparation of a summary document, it should be concise.
2. It should confirm the decisions taken in the meeting.
3. Who is responsibility for the decisions made?
4. Estimate the completion date.


A Nine-step approach to problem solving.

(a) Develop a problem statement: The problem statement provides a vehicle for the members of the problem solving team to agree about the exact nature of the problem they are trying to solve.

(b) Identify the potential cause of the problem: There can be many reasons why a problem has occurred or it’s occurring. This may be due to hardware, software or technical problem. A technique often used to identify potential causes of a problem is brainstorming.

(c) Gather data and verify the likely cause: Gathering data, whether it be asking questions, interviewing people, running tests, reading reports or analyzing data, takes time. However, it must be done to focus the team’s work in the rest of the problem-solving process.

(d) Identify possible solutions: It is necessary to find out the best possible solutions to problems that are faced by the team members working in the project. Brainstorming is a technique used in problem solving in which all members of the group contribute spontaneous ideas. It is a way to generate a lot of ideas and having fun. The objective is to prepare as many as many ideas as possible.

(e) Evaluate alternative solutions: Once various potentials solutions have been identified, it is necessary to evaluate them. There may be many good, yet different solutions to the problem. Each viable solution should be evaluated.

(f) Determine the best solution: The decision as to which is the best solution is based on the knowledge and expertise of the members of the problem-solving team, in conjunction with the evaluation report.

(g) Revise the project plan: Once the best solution is selected, it is necessary to prepare a plan for implementing that solution. Specific tasks have to be identified, along with their estimated costs and duration.

(h) Implement the solution: Once the plan has been formulated it is necessary for the team members to go ahead with their work.

(i) Determine whether the problem has been solved: Once the solution has been implemented, it should be monitored regularly whether it eliminate that problem totally.

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