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Conducting a Consulting

Assignment

Stages of Problem-Solving Process


(a) problem identification and desired outcome
(b) identification of suitable and accurate sources of
information and data-gathering
(c) data analysis and diagnosis
(d) solution selection
(e) preparation and presentation of the report and
recommended solution
(f) implementation of recommended solution
(g) follow-up evaluation of the implemented solution

A. Problem Identification and Desired Outcome


A problem is said to exists when the observed behavior of
a system or a process violates the bounds of reasonable
expectations.
Requires existence of the following factors:
(a) Human awareness of the problem
(b) Predefinition of the allowable tolerances
(c) Recognition of the established standards

Problem Identification -- Product Definition Contn


Key Facets of Problem Description:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

Identity of the problem


Objectives of the problem-solving process
Scope of the problem
Intensity of the problem
Time dimension of the problem
Location of the problem
Human elements involved in the problem
Support system surrounding the problem
Tracking system related to the problem
Institutional process for managing the problem

Problem Identification -- Product Description Contn


1. Identity of the problem
What is the problem?
1) Problem finding
(a) reasonable explanations pertaining to a system or
process
(b) allowable tolerances from these reasonable
expectations
2) Problem stating

Problem Identification and Desired Outcome Contn


Pitfalls in identifying the problem
(1) Mistaking symptoms for the underlying problem
(2) Accepting without question the opinions of others
concerning the problem
(3) Assuming that the problem is a person rather than the
behavior or nonbehavior of people
(4) Assuming that the person who reports the problem is the
cause of the problem
(5) Overlooking the multicausality of problem

1. Identity of the problem


2. Objectives of the problem-solving process
To improve deliveries of goods so that by the end of the
year 99.5% of all deliveries are made on time.

Key Facets of Problem Description:


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

Identity of the problem


Objectives of the problem-solving process
Scope of the problem
Intensity of the problem
Time dimension of the problem
Location of the problem
Human elements involved in the problem
Support system surrounding the problem
Tracking system related to the problem
Institutional process for managing the problem

Key Facets of Problem Description:


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

Identity of the problem


Objectives of the problem-solving process
Scope of the problem
Intensity of the problem
Time dimension of the problem
Location of the problem
Human elements involved in the problem
Support system surrounding the problem
Tracking system related to the problem
Institutional process for managing the problem

4. Intensity of the problem


5. Time dimension of the problem

How long has the problem existed?


How much longer is the problem likely to continue if left
unsolved?
How often is the problem likely to occur in the future?

Key Facets of Problem Description:


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

Identity of the problem


Objectives of the problem-solving process
Scope of the problem
Intensity of the problem
Time dimension of the problem
Location of the problem
Human elements involved in the problem
Support system surrounding the problem
Tracking system related to the problem
Institutional process for managing the problem

6. Location of the problem


7. Human Elements of the Problem
Examples:

Attitude of involved managers and employees


Personal traits of involved managers and employees
including intelligence, motivation, leadership, quality,
dependability, trustworthiness and interpersonal skills
Training of involved managers and employees
Tenure of involved managers and employees

Key Facets of Problem Description:


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

Identity of the problem


Objectives of the problem-solving process
Scope of the problem
Intensity of the problem
Time dimension of the problem
Location of the problem
Human elements involved in the problem
Support system surrounding the problem
Tracking system related to the problem
Institutional process for managing the problem

8. Support system surrounding the problem


9. Tracking system related to the problem
A problem statement should reveal:
1.
2.

3.
4.

How the problem was brought to light


Whether the problem was detected by a tracking system so designed for the purpose, or
by another means (if not detected by the tracking system so designed for the purpose,
why the tracking system failed)
Whether the tracking systems other than the one designed for the purpose should have
detected the problem
Whether tracking systems are available to monitor the situation reliably, as well as
to measure the degree of improvement in the process or system due to an implemented
solution.

Key Facets of Problem Description:


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

Identity of the problem


Objectives of the problem-solving process
Scope of the problem
Intensity of the problem
Time dimension of the problem
Location of the problem
Human elements involved in the problem
Support system surrounding the problem
Tracking system related to the problem
Institutional process for managing the problem

B. Identification of Suitable and Accurate Sources of


Information and Data Gathering
Corporate Planning

Corporate objectives
Expansion plans

Marketing

Sales statistics
Invoices and back orders
Types of new products or services with market possibilities
Customer response to existing products
Planning and promotional campaigns
Feedback from customers and sales force on product
performance

Research and development

New product development schedules

Engineering

Engineering schedule for products

Data processing

Systems for organizing files and reporting operating results

Manufacturing

Inventory status

Personnel

Background on employees
Salary/performance review data

Accounting

Product pricing and costing


Operating expenses

B. Identification of Suitable and Accurate Sources of


Information and Data Gathering COnTN
Sources

Facts

Industry Reports

Corporate data and analysis


Industry news

Competition

Products and product literature

Distributors

Market conditions
Customer analysis

Customers

Profile facts
Sales

Statistical data and abstracts

Corporate statistical comparisons


Economic/financial data
Securities and Exchange Commission facts
Department of Commerce facts

Data base retrieval systems

Product market, and industry news and analysis


Economic forecasts

Internal Sources
1.
2.
(a)
(b)
(c)

People
Client documentations
How the organization is structured
What the organization has been doing
What the organization plans to do

Documents typically found in a client organization


Documents describing
How the clients
organization is run

What the client plans to do

What the client organization


has done

Policy statements
Methods and procedures
manual
Organization charts
Job descriptions
Performance standards
Charts of accounts

Business plan
Budgets
Schedules and forecasts
Minutes of board of
directors meeting

Annual reports
Performance reports
Internal staff studies
Legal documents, including
copyrights, patents,
franchises, trademarks
Reference documentation
about customers,
employees, products,
vendors

Fact-Gathering Techniques
(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)
(e)

Interviews
Questionnaires
Observation
Document gathering
Charting

(i)
(ii)
(iii)
(iv)
(v)

Organization Chart
Data flow diagram
System outflow
Detail flowchart
Decision table

C. Data Analysis and Diagnosis


4 Representative Approaches to Analysis:

Decision-Level Analysis
Input/Output Analysis
Structured Analysis
Less Structured Analysis
Brainstorming
Delphi Approach

Data Analysis and Diagnosis Contn


Analysis Strategies:

Categorization
Classification
Numerical Analysis
Association
Correlation
Causation