How to Write a Good Problem Statement

Stating the Problem for Root Cause Analysis

The Analysis phase of any improvement project depends on a good problem statement to drive the root cause analysis. Writing a good statement of the problem is easy if you have analyzed the data using one or more Pareto charts.

Pareto charts narrow the focus to a few "big bars". Each big bar can become a good problem statement. In the Pareto chart below, Timely Filing is the "big bar".

use a pareto to help focus on the root causes

Writing the Problem Statement

It's easy to write a good problem statement using a template I developed many years ago and included in  QI Macros Fishbone Diagram.

During (time), (big bar on Pareto) accounted for XX% of problem which was X higher than desired and caused customer dissatisfaction.

So the problem statement for the Pareto chart above would be:
During 2019, Timely Filing accounted for 61.6% of denied insurance claims which was $7.8 million dollars higher than desired and caused significant loss of profit.

Just put this problem statement into the head of the fishbone diagram template:

example of a fishbone problem statement

Create these charts and diagrams in just seconds using QI Macros for Excel...