Problem Solving

The Kepner-Tregoe Method
This is a very comprehensive problem-solving method that was designed in the 1950s and originally used by NASA.  It involves going through six steps.

  1. Situation – You analyze the Situation.
  2. Problem – Define the Problem.
  3. Cause – Identify the Cause by doing a cause analysis.
  4. Solution – Identify and evaluate possible solutions
  5. Select the best solution.
  6. Risk – consider possible risks with the solution that you’ve chosen.

5Ws and 1H

You can solve a problem as the one above by asking the 5Ws and 1H questions that are pertinent.

For example, the above video steps come from 5Ws and 1H.

How much (Extent)

H&P with A/P is an excellent problem-solving strategy.

It is is very similar to GROWTH technique and other techniques for solving problems within companies.

OPQRST-A and SOCRATES can be used in defining a problem.


  1. Onset and Setting
  2. Precipitating/Palliating factors (Anything that makes the problem better or worse?)
  3. Quality
  4. Region and Radiation
  5. Severity and Extent
  6. Timing
  7. Associated Manifestations.


  1. Setting or Situation.
  2. Onset – When did the problem start? Was it sudden or gradual? Include also whether if it is progressive or regressive.
  3. Characterize the problem. What is the problem like?
  4. Region and Radiation – Where is the problem? Does the problem radiate anywhere?
  5. Associations – Any other problems associated with this problem?
  6. Timing of the problem. Does it follow any pattern?
  7. Exacerbating/Relieving factors – What makes this problem better or worse?
  8. Severity and Extent– How bad is the problem? What is the extent of the problem company wide?

The Pareto Principle (The 80/20 rule)

This started with the observation by Vilfredo Pareto that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the people. The 80/20 rule applies to a lot of other things.  For example, 80% of your problems probably come from 20% of your customers and 80% of your problems will come from 20% of the causes. Also, 80% of your results are produced by 20% of your employees. Knowing this is a very helpful thing in problem-solving. 

Focused and Diffused Modes

Use both the Focused and Diffused Modes of your brain to solve problems.


DADD acronym for decision making

Define the problem.
Alternative solutions.
Do it.


Identify or define the problem
Alternate solutions
Do it.