Problem statement

Do’s and Don'ts of writing a problem statement

How to write a problem statement that helps you find solutions
Sarah | 17.07.17

Do’s and Don'ts of writing a problem statement - INFOGRAPHIC

Text of infographic below:

Use these when you know what the problem is but need to find a way to communicate it and help people think of solutions.

Aims of a problem statement:

  • communicate what needs to change
  • inspire solutions

Do:

  • MAKE A QUESTION

Start by asking ‘How might we…?’ and it will help you get into a solution making frame of mind

  • KEEP IT SHORT

One short sentence is enough. Provide more detail face to face or in another document

  • SET BOUNDARIES

Include numbers and deadlines to focus your search

  • MAKE IT INSPIRING

Can you think of 3 quick ideas from your problem statement? If not, try another one

  • DISCUSS IT

Talk to your team, colleague or friends and see if it communicates

FOCUS ON ONE PROBLEM

Make several problem statements if one turns out to be too complicated

Don't:

  • GIVE EXAMPLEs

They act as ‘anchors’ making you think of lots of similar solutions, and not different solutions

  • USE JARGON

Use language everyone can understand, don’t assume people know what your talking about

  • BE AFRAID TO CHANGE IT

See how people respond to it and change it if it’s not achieving the aims of communication and inspiration

Do you find writing problem statements useful? We'd love to hear about your experience and get your tips. You can email us or write on our Facebook page.

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