What Are Problem-Solving Tools?

The term “problem-solving tool” refers to strategies that can be used to identify the root cause of a particular problem and the best possible solutions. To address a problem at work, you must first define your goals. You can then isolate variables that can contribute to a solution once you have established the cause. If a customer calls to say that a product they bought is not working, ask about the product and how it was used. You can also ask if it worked at first.

You and your colleagues will often discuss potential solutions as the next step. The majority of tools include a collaborative element that can help you quickly come up with solutions. After you have chosen the best solution, you should start to address each part of the problem. You can evaluate the solution’s success by following up with the customer or monitoring the procedure for solving the problem. This can help you decide when to use the solution in the future.

Problem Solving Tools

Here are some tools that you can use in your workplace to solve problems and increase efficiency.

Linear Thinking

The process of linear thinking is to ask a series of questions in order to identify the cause of a problem and find a solution. Start by writing down the problem. You can ask about the time the problem began, the products or services involved, the methods used to resolve the problem, and whether the issue has occurred before.

You can record your answers until you have a list of potential solutions. You can then repeat the process of asking the same questions until you find the best solution.


A flow chart can be used to show the different parts of a problem or the various steps in a business procedure. Create a flowchart by writing the title of your problem on the whiteboard or page and drawing a circle. Outline all the processes involved, including the purchase of the product and payment methods, the customer complaint, the errors in the product, or the results of the quality check. A flowchart helps you to visualize where the problem occurred and what caused it.


Benchmarking is a comparison of business processes with the results achieved by other companies. Benchmarking is often used to compare specific processes or results, such as sales, customer satisfaction, product quality, and profit margin. Benchmarking can be done in different ways to compare your company’s processes with those of other companies.

Benchmarking performance can help you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of key performance indicators. Comparing KPIs to each other can help you identify areas of improvement in your processes and individual performance.

Five Reasons

Five Whys is a strategy that involves asking five questions in succession. This can lead to a solution for a particular problem. If, for example, product quality assurance tests are finding more production errors, then you ask why and record the answer. Write down your answer if you noticed that a piece of equipment needed service maintenance in the past. After you’ve compiled a list of potential solutions, ask the same questions again for every answer that you provided in the previous section. Continue the process until you have found an effective countermeasure.

Goals grid

A goals grid is an image with four quadrants, where you can write down your answers to questions. Questions are usually based on what you want and don’t yet have, or what you already have but want to keep. Create a bulleted list for each question.

In the section that outlines what you don’t yet have, for example, you could write about launching a new product or service in another country. In the second quadrant, you could write about excessive marketing costs or late payments from customers for things that you do not have but want to avoid. Your four quadrants could represent values like what a possible solution would include, the processes involved in the problem, and ways to avoid it in the future.

Mind map

A mind map is an image that begins with a central idea or concept from which you can draw ideas and connect the different components. A mind map’s goal is to provide a visual representation so that you can highlight key elements and brainstorm new solutions.

Write your concept in the middle of the paper and draw a circle. Draw a line linking the central idea to an aspect or subcategory you wish to explore. Continue this process until each component is outlined. Subheadings can also be used to create new branches if you wish to elaborate on an idea or feature.

Nominal group technique

This technique works similarly to brainstorming, where you work with your colleagues to come up with ideas for a new project or describe a solution to a particular problem. This technique can be used for large groups with conflicting opinions or to find a solution using a democratic method.

Start by stating your initial question or problem. Each participant then compiles their own list of possible solutions and presents it to the group for discussion and consideration. Everyone decides which solution to implement based on the votes of each participant.

Check sheet

A check sheet represents the frequency of events. A check sheet can be used for many purposes, such as customer concerns, purchases of products, payment processing, and equipment maintenance. Define the data that you wish to observe, and the problem that you are trying to solve.

You can add the date to the section headings at the top of every column. You can enter data values on the side of the chart. If you want to know how often customers complain about a certain product, for example, you can label the data values according to the type of complaint. You can keep a running tally of the number of customer inquiries for each value during the week. You can then use the data to identify the extent of the problem, and begin working towards a resolution.

Run chart

A run chart can be used by professionals to identify trends and patterns over time. This type of diagram can be used to solve problems, as you can follow the flow and direction of important metrics such as sales or other performance indicators. Start by choosing the data that you wish to track.

The Y-axis could represent profit growth, while the X-axis represents the month. Compile and plot the data. You need a sufficient sample size to make meaningful conclusions about the population you’ve chosen. After you have plotted the data, connect each point with a line. Calculate the mean by adding all the Y values and then dividing it by the total number of samples. Your graph can be used to identify different performance or processing issues. This can help you brainstorm possible solutions.