Albert Einstein famously espoused the importance of identifying the problem you’re facing before proposing solutions. Even when you inherently understand an organizational challenge, framing the problem for others can be challenging. By using a problem statement template, you can write a concise problem statement that includes the necessary information for your team members and other project stakeholders.
What is a problem statement template?
A problem statement template provides an effective framework to explain the problem your organization wants to solve. It highlights the gap between your company’s current circumstances and the desired situation you’re striving to reach.
Good problem statements should answer these questions:
- What problem is affecting the organization?
- Who does the problem impact (individual or department)?
- When did the problem arise, or when is it expected to occur?
- Where does the problem take place? The location can be physical, virtual, or both.
- What factors contribute to the problem?
- What are the downstream effects of the problem (current and/or anticipated)?
Why use a problem statement template?
A problem statement template enhances your team’s ability to understand the problem, which helps them find a solution quickly and effectively.
When you use a problem statement worksheet, you can state the problem objectively within the boundaries of the template, without diverging into subjective opinions. You’ll also have the necessary framework to write a problem statement right in front of you, so you’ll save time since you won’t need to start from scratch.
Once you have the problem statement, you can use it to focus on brainstorming sessions and develop potential innovative solutions. Engaging team members in user research can provide invaluable insight, but only after you’ve defined the problem.Many project managers report that they ultimately save time and money for their organization when they create a problem statement before diving into solving the problem.
This approach also aligns the team’s efforts toward a common objective, which can improve morale and organizational engagement.
What are some examples of a problem statement template?
You can choose from various problem statement templates depending on the specific issue, your industry, and other factors. Some common template types for business problem statements include:
- The Five Ws: This structure defines the problem by using Who, What, When, Where, and Why as headings to capture the various aspects of the challenge. If you use this template, you may want to add an H for How your team will solve the problem.
- Customer Point of View: You can also frame the problem statement from the point of view of a client or product user. For example: “I want to [desired action] but I can’t because [problem]. This makes me feel [emotion] and results in [problem impacts].
- Goal Framework: With this template, you start at the desired result to identify the problem. You form a problem statement centered around the goal. If you want to improve sales, you might state the problem as: “How do we increase sales by 25% over the next six months?”
- Elevator Pitch: The purpose of an elevator pitch is to state your case as quickly and concisely as possible while compelling the audience to learn more about your business. You can apply those principles to your problem statement by using this simple two-sentence template as a guide: “Our team seeks a solution for X problem so we can meet Y objectives. We’ll use Z as a metric for success.”
Whatever problem statement template you choose, you should include information about how the problem impacts your audience. Good problem statements are also measurable, which means they include benchmarks for success.
Problem statement template on monday.com
With our core Work OS platform, monday.com creates the capabilities you need to solve specific problems in your sector. Our customizable templates and resources can boost productivity and enhance team engagement for project managers in countless industries.
We recommend starting your problem statement with our Operational Plan Template, designed to help your company meet short-term and long-term objectives. It provides space to define organizational goals, record barriers, and opportunities, and indicate the responsible parties.
Using this template, you can create problem statements using the Goal Framework Template described above. You can keep everyone on your team on the same page with this transparent approach to problem-solving. This template can also guide the project schedule and help you effectively allocate resources toward solutions.
Related templates on monday.com
In addition to problem Statement templates, you can also benefit from these associated business resources.
Statement of work template
The Statement of Work (SOW) template defines the deliverables you need from a department, team member, or external vendor. Like the problem statement, the Statement Of Work Template clearly defines what you need and why. You might use a Statement Of Work Template to facilitate the selection solution to your stated problem.
Single project template
Are you launching a new initiative in response to your problem? This basic, easy-to-use Single Project Template provides an effective way to track and visualize your progress. The template shows the project flow so the team can understand how tasks depend on and relate to one another. When you’ve planned a solution for the current problem, you can use this template to see it through and reach your objectives.
Contextualizing sprints template
Commonly used in software and product development, the sprint refers to a defined period in which the team will prepare elements of the deliverables for review. Like problem statements, sprints serve as a useful tool to contend with a challenging aspect of your project. The Contextualizing Sprints Template gives your team an easy way to report task progress while capturing key data in a single document.
Frequently asked questions
Explore the answers to common questions project managers have about the problem statement template.
What is a problem statement template?
A problem statement template provides a guide to help your project managers write a clear, concise problem statement. It provides the framework to identify and answer important questions. What is the problem? Who is impacted by the problem? When does it happen? By documenting the challenge faced by your organization, you increase the likelihood of finding a viable solution.
How do you write a problem statement template?
You can select various structures for your problem statement. Project managers rely on a five Ws plus H template, which answers the who, what, where, why, when, and how about the problem your organization is facing.
Find the answers you need with a problem statement template
As a project manager, you’ll face endless challenges in the course of your career. Start the search for effective solutions with a problem statement template.