MG632 Exercises and Assignments
WEEK TWO ‐ Engagement Exercise: Research
1. As you consider your research problem, you may find the
information below useful. I will review
posting and provide feedback during the week.
2. A good example of the research problem is included below.
In my review, I will look for the
degree to which your problem yield
the 5 ‘W’ questions, the extent to which a possible solution is found in
quantitative data, and the alignment your problem has with either (or both) the
Swanson & Holt readings.
3. If you discover other resources that better define and/or
describe how to state a solid research
problem, please include that
information with your post.
How To Write A Problem
How to Write a Problem
problem statement is a clear concise description of the issue(s) that need(s)
to be addressed by a problem solving team [or researcher]. It is used to center
and focus the team at the beginning, keep the team on track during the effort,
and is used to validate that the effort delivered an outcome that solves the
problemstatement. It has a specific form:
Vision ‐ what does the world look like if we
solve the problem?
Issue Statement ‐ one or two
sentences that describe the problem using specific issues. It is not a
“lack of a solution” statement. For example, our problem is that we
don’t have an ERP system.
Method ‐ the process that will get
followed to solve the problem. For example, DMAIC or Kaizen.How to
The 5 ‘W’s ‐ Who, What, Where, When
and Why ‐ is a great tool that helps get pertinent information out for
discussion. From the [poem] from Rudyard Kipling’s “The Elephant’s
Child” which opens with:
I keep six honest
serving‐men / (They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and
Why and When / And How and Where and Who.
Who ‐ Who does the problem affect?
Specific groups, organizations, customers, etc.
What ‐ What are the boundaries of the
problem, e.g. organizational, work flow, geographic, customer,
segments, etc. ‐ What is the issue? ‐
What is the impact of the issue? ‐ What impact is the issue causing? ‐ What
will happen when it is fixed? ‐ What would happen if we didn’t solve the
When ‐ When does the issue occur? ‐ When
does it need to be fixed?
Where ‐ Where is the issue occurring?
Only in certain locations, processes, products, etc.
Why ‐ Why is it important that we fix
the problem? ‐ What impact does it have on the business or
‐ What impact does it have on all stakeholders, e.g. employees, suppliers,
etc. Each of the answers will help to zero in on the specific issue(s) and
frame the Issue
Statement. Your problem statement
should be solveable. That is, it should take a reasonable amount oftime to
formulate, try and deploy a potential solution.
a software development and hosted data services company that supplies products
and services to wireless carriers. They had issues deploying new software
releases into the production environment.
Deployment in this case is the work necessary for taking a production ready
binary and installing, testing
and releasing it into the production environment. The company failed to deploy
the releases on‐scheduleover 50 percent of the time.
We want all of our software releases
to go to production seamlessly, without defects, where everyone isaware
and informed of the outcomes and status.
we have too many release failures that result in too many rollback failures. If
we ignore this problem;
resources will need to increase to handle the cascading problems, and we may
miss critical customer
deadlines which could result in lost revenue, SLA penalties, lost business, and
further damage to our quality
problem well stated is half solved, Wally Davis taught me that one. And he’s
right, the better the clarity
around what it is the team is attempting to fix, the more efficient they’ll be
in solving the problem, the
solution will better ‘fix’ the issues, and the team can get back to executing
the business versus fixing it.