Tips for Writing Effective Problem and Goals Statement

Although the Six Sigma process has tried to make the process of developing problem and goal statements into a science, however in reality it still remains an art. This combined with the fact that goal and problem statements go a long way into the execution of the project make it important to understand what are the components that make some statements better than the other. Here are a few tips in this regard:

Consider the Customers Point of View

Problem and goal statements that are effective are written from the customers point of view. It is important to understand that the customer here is not the customer like marketing would refer to. There are internal customers within the organization. Anyone who receives the output of the process is a customer. Project Champions that spend time in understanding the customers real needs and planning goal and problem statements accordingly do better than others.

Consider Critical To Quality Measures

The Customers point of view is important. However it is also important to understand that the customer assigns varying degree of priorities to the various needs. Hence the needs need to be prioritised and segregated. The needs that are critical to quality (CTQ) must be paid more attention to while preparing the problem and goal statements.

Use Measurements To Remove Ambiguity

Numbers tell you a story. This statement is true when it comes to six sigma. Words can be subjective. Using numbers to express the problem ensures that everyone has a similar understanding of the problem and it is not prone to numerous interpretations. Also numbers hold the key link of transitioning from the problem to the goal. The Problem is a level of the number, when it reaches another desired level it becomes a goal.

Be Concise

Problem and goal statements must be written in as few words as possible. It is common practise to write long statements full of business jargons. However, the Project champion must ensure that both these statements have the least possible jargons and are written in the fewest number of words possible.

Don’t Jump To Conclusions

A good problem statement does not imply causes, does not point fingers and does not suggest solutions. It is a problem statement, its job is to define a problem as accurately as possible. Similar is the case with goal statements. Goal statements are not meant to suggest solutions or causes. They must suggest what the state of affairs would be in ideal conditions.

Inculcating these measures will make both your problem as well as your goal statement robust and help you effectively define the purpose of your project.


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