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Problem Statement

Problem Statement

What is the Problem Statement workshop tactic?

This tactic allows you to capture the project’s goals, problems, and measurable success criteria.

A problem statement gives your team a clear focus for their work. It also defines any important constraints. Constraints are important for group work; they provide guardrails that keep the team grounded and aligned.

Prior to this tactic, try uncovering problems with Journey Map or the barriers from Sailboat. Afterwards, try unpacking your Problem Statement with Assumption Collecting.


Problem Statement Miro Template


How to write a Problem Statement in your workshop

1. Invite stakeholders to this session to make sure you’re all agreeing on the same problem to tackle.

2. On sticky notes, answer the following questions and Theme Sort.

  • What are the current goals of the product or system?
  • What problem does the stakeholder(s) want addressed?
  • Which goals aren’t being met?
  • What is the explicit request for improvement that doesn’t dictate a specific solution?

3. Complete the following template from the group’s answers. Discuss and amend until everyone is happy with the problem statement.

[Our service/product] was designed to achieve [these goals].

We have observed that the product/service isn’t meeting [these goals], which is causing [this adverse effect] to our business.

How might we improve [service/product] so that our customers are more successful based on [these measurable criteria]?

Origin: Jeff Gothelf & Josh Seiden, 2016

Not sure if this is the right approach for your team at the moment? Try a different framing tactic. Or, if you feel confident in how you articulate the challenges you face, move on to an idea generation workshop to help your team come up with foolproof solutions.

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Problem Statement is one of 54 workshop recipe cards inside the Workshop Tactics card deck.

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