Quote - defining the problem
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Defining the problem | Albert Einstein quotes | Find him on Amazon

When I have one week to solve a seemingly impossible problem, I spend six days defining the problem. Then, the solution becomes obvious.

Albert Einstein.

Defining the problem

Whenever we are presented with a problem, our first thought is how to solve it. We think of all the possible ways to find the best solution, the majority time without understanding what exactly we need to do and why so. For example, many times, we start with a brilliant idea only to realize that it cannot be further implemented or we are completely off track from our original vision.

Without a clear picture of what needs to be done, we might miss our targets, lose opportunities, waste time and effort, and pursue something that doesn’t align. That is why having a clear problem statement is very crucial.

How to define a problem?

There is no one solution to any problem. There are many perspectives to it. But, when we focus on defining the problem, it gives us a chance to explore all possibilities and find the optimal solution.

Surbhi Mahnot

To build the correct problem statement, here are some tips to consider:

Step-1: Write a statement that you feel is the problem in the most straightforward manner

Step-2: Update, if needed, your problem statement with analysis using the following ideas:

  • Gather all the necessary information and data
  • Differentiate facts from opinions
  • Detail the underlying cause of the problem, and the impact it is causing in the present situation.
  • Identify the impact of the problem remains unsolved

Step-3: Ask all the why’s, starting from “why is this a problem?” Dig deeper and ask “why” to every answer of yours until there is no if/but/why is left!

And ta-da, you have a clear problem statement and, a possible hint of the right solution as well!

Surbhi Mahnot

Surbhi Mahnot

Surbhi Mahnot is the owner of this blog. She has work experience of almost 10 years in the IT industry in varied roles. At present, she is working full-time on this blog. She is passionate about the importance of personal growth in individual and work life, which reflects in her writing too. Travelling, reading, and shopping are her core interest besides work.