# USC Prescriptive Problem Solving Discussion

1. Identify five key strategies of prescriptive problem solving. Analyze how each strategy is different from another.

Consider This: This tool is based on elaborate diagrams and procedures, such as a PERT diagram.

By Steven Beebe and John Masterson
Presentations Prepared By:
Renee Brokaw
University of Tampa
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Part III
Chapter 11
1. What is difficulty or concern?
2. Where is it located and how is it defined?
3. What are possible solutions to difficulty?
4. What are logical reasons that support
solution?
5. What additional testing & observation is
needed to confirm solution?
 Structure
 Interaction
 Take more time to deliberate; interaction is
inefficient and off task
 Prematurely focus on solutions rather than
analyzing issues
 Jump at first solution recommended
 Jump from one idea to the next without
seeing big picture
 Prone to domination by outspoken
member
 Unable to manage conflict
 Deliberation improves group performance
 Sharing information improves group
performance
 Understanding the value individual
contributions improves performance
Step 1
• Identify the problem
Step 2
• Analyze the problem
Step 3
• Generate several solutions
Step 4
• Select the best possible solution(s)
Step 5
• Test and implement solutions
 What is the specific problem?
 What obstacles are interfering with the
goal?
 Is the question clear?
 What terms, concepts, or ideas need to be
defined?
 Who is harmed by the problem?
 When do the harmful effects of the problem
occur?
IS
IS NOT

What is area of problem?

What is not area of problem?

What are symptoms?

What are not symptoms?
When is problem
observed?

When is problem not
observed?

Where does problem
occur?

Where does problem not
occur?

Who is affected by
problem?

Who is not affected by
problem?
Bar graph that show
data which
describes:
 Cause
 Source
 Frequency of problem
 What is the history of the problem?
 How serious is the problem?
 What are the causes of the problem?
 What are the effects of the problem?
 What are the symptoms of the problem?
 What methods are in place?
 What are the limitations?
 How much freedom does the group have?
 What obstacles interfere with the goal?
 Can the problem be subdivided?
Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 4
• Identify the goal
• On the right side, list all of the restraining forces
• On the left side of the chart, list all of the driving forces
• Increase the driving forces
• Decrease the restraining forces
• Increase driving forces and decrease restraining forces
 Cause & effect diagram
 Looks like fish when completed
 Think of effect to be analyzed
 Draw straight line on paper or flipchart
 Angling out from long line, draw lines to
represent possible causes
 Problem analysis (individual analysis)
 Information exchange (share analysis with
the group)
 Problem resolution (individually identify a
solution)
 Group integration to reach consensus
(work collaboratively to develop the best
solution)
 Members summarize the problem
 Members identify strategies that analyze
problems
 Members identify possible solutions
 Members individually rank the solutions
 Members share written information
 Members review their analysis
 Members compare the rankings
 Members revise their analysis and rankings
 Members privately make a final decision
 Members individually re-rank their list of
solutions
 Members share their revised decisions
 Members discuss the results and seek a
consensus
 Members make a decision either by
consensus, majority vote, or group ranking

What outcome are we trying to
accomplish?

How will we know when we have

Which criteria are most important?

Which criteria are less important?
 List possible solutions in tentative,
hypothetical terms
 Take time to define and analyze issues
 Creatively generate solutions
▪ What are advantages of each solution?
▪ Are there disadvantages?
▪ What would be long-term & short term
effects?
▪ Would solution really solve problem?
▪ Does solution conform to group’s criteria?
▪ Should group modify criteria?
 Analyze pros & cons
▪ Create a T-chart with pros on
one side and cons on the other
▪ Silently write down risks/benefits
▪ Share with group
 Average rankings
▪ Rank order & discuss solutions
after pros & cons
 How can group get approval & support for
proposed solution?
 What specific steps are necessary to
implement solution?
 How can group evaluate success?

Identify project goal
Identify activities needed to complete
project
Identify sequence of activities
Estimate amount of time for each task
Determine member responsible for
Develop chart that shows relationships
among tasks, time, people and events
 Action Chart (PERT)
▪ Program Review and
Evaluation Technique
 Flow Chart
▪ Step by step diagram
2012, 2012,
2009, 2009,
▪ Take time to reflect on group the procedures
and interaction
▪ Clearly identify problem
 Phrase problem as a question
 Don’t start suggesting solutions until problem
analyzed
 Don’t confuse problem with symptoms
 Constantly evaluate problem-solving method
 Appoint one member to remind group to use
structured method
 Ideal-Solution Format
 Single-Question Format
▪ Do all members agree on problem?
▪ What would be ideal solution?
▪ What conditions could be changed?
▪ Of all possible situations, which is ideal?
▪ What question does the group need to
know to accomplish purpose?
▪ What subsequent questions must be
▪ Does group have sufficient information?
▪ What are the most reasonable answers ?
▪ What is the best possible solution to
problem?
 Provide group with copies of guide
questions
 Explain why using selected format
 Keep discussion focused on question
under consideration
 Use collaborative approach

275 words
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