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At this stage, it's also important to ensure that you look at the issue from a variety of perspectives.If you commit yourself too early, you can end up with a problem statement that's really a solution instead.
Simplex involves an eight-stage process: problem finding, fact finding, defining the problem, idea finding, selecting and evaluating, planning, selling the idea, and acting.
These steps build upon the basic process described earlier, and they create a cycle of problem finding and solving that will continually improve your organization.
There are four basic steps in solving a problem: Steps 2 to 4 of this process are covered in depth in other areas of Mind Tools.
For these, see our sections on Creativity for step 2 (generating alternatives); Decision Making for step 3 (evaluating and selecting alternatives); and Project Management for step 4 (implementing solutions).
However, for a more comprehensive process, you can use Simplex, Appreciative Inquiry or Soft Systems Methodology (SSM).
These provide detailed steps that you can use to solve a problem effectively.
Whether you're solving a problem for a client (internal or external), supporting those who are solving problems, or discovering new problems to solve, the problems you face can be large or small, simple or complex, and easy or difficult.
A fundamental part of every manager's role is finding ways to solve them.
The articles in this section of Mind Tools therefore focus on helping you make a success of the first of these steps – defining the problem.
A very significant part of this involves making sense of the complex situation in which the problem occurs, so that you can pinpoint exactly what the problem is.