How to Solve Procedural Problems in Your Business
For all the benefits that remote work offers, it does come with some challenges. Fortunately, there are different strategies that can be applied to help overcome them. Let’s break down something called structured problem solving, and how equipping your team members appropriately can help you with it.
What is Structured Problem-Solving?
Many business problems can seem large and unassailable—but I know I don’t need to tell you this. However, when something becomes so nebulous that it doesn’t seem to be approachable, it can be paralyzing. Again, you quite probably already know this.
Structured problem-solving is a technique that can help you address these issues. Basically, by dividing the massive problem into its core parts, it makes a complex conundrum far simpler to handle in a sustainable way.
One widely-implemented method to help improve existing processes is known as DMAIC—short for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. This is a solid approach to take when problems are, as we’ve said, complex.
How Does DMAIC Work?
- Define which process it is that you are experiencing issues with, where your opportunities for improvement lie, and what goals you want to reach.
- Measure how well your process is performing.
- Analyze the process to identify where the shortcomings are.
- Improve upon the shortcomings by resolving what causes them.
- Control the newly devised process to ensure performance is maintained.
That’s pretty much it—and by applying this process to each variable, structured problem-solving can more or less be used to optimize any business process that you carry out.
One of Remote Work’s Biggest Problems: Communication
It’s not a secret that there’s a divide, both literal and figurative, between your in-house employees and those that are working remotely. When in the office, communications are almost laughably easy. Businesses will have multiple communication tools available, sure, but there’s also the fact that if two people in the office really needed to communicate, they could also just step aside and have a conversation.
Your remote employees don’t have that luxury. This creates an issue. So, following DMARC in this case, we can define the problem as the lack of communication that is shared between your employees. Likewise, we can define our goal as improving communication practices between employees in different locations. From there, we can measure how frequently your employees are communicating amongst the office as compared to in-house and remote.
Next, we should analyze where exactly this process—in this case, workplace communication—is failing. Are your employees up to speed on the tools available to them? Have you expressed the importance of maintaining communication between all coworkers, not just the ones in the office?
Once we’ve compiled this information, we come up with how to solve our challenges and put efforts in place to do so. Let’s say that we elect to hold training sessions to better introduce the team to the tools at their disposal, so there’s no longer ignorance to blame for a lack of communication. Our job is not done, however, as we then need to maintain some control over this revised process. Perhaps we then implement regular refresher training sessions to reinforce these behaviors over time…and that may or may not be enough to solve the communication issues. If so, great, and if not, the process repeats.
We Can Help Solve Problems on Your Behalf
There are bound to be enough issues in your business—in any business—for you to solve that removing any from your purview is sure to be beneficial. Working with us will remove your IT from the list of things you need to worry about, whether or not your team is working in-house, remotely, or a blend of the two. Give us a call at 607.433.2200 to learn more about what we can do to simplify your daily processes through improved IT.