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4 Examples of Problem Statements

A problem statement is documentation of a problem or opportunity for improvement. These are a starting point for change proposals such as action plans, business cases and project charters. Problems statements aren't requirements or solution designs. They simply state a problem without making assumptions about solutions. The following are illustrative examples.


Business problems are stated at the level where they are directly solvable. For example, a specific improvement that would make a product more competitive on the market. As a counterexample, general problems such as low employee moral, productivity issues or dropping revenue aren't directly actionable.


Documenting a usability issue from real users. Some designers document problem statements from fictional users because they lack engagement with customers. For internal apps, usability issues are always captured from end-users and business units.


Programs and projects often have broad problem statements that have little detail because they are a small part of a business case or similar document that may include background and financial analysis that builds an investment case for an initiative. Project problem statements are essentially executive summaries that are consumable and memorable. In other words, message framing is more important than detail.


An operations problem is a failure of execution such as a system outage. These are first recorded as incidents whereby a problem represents the root cause and incidents represent symptoms of the root cause.


A problem statement is a starting point for initiatives and fixes. This specifically excludes assumptions about solutions. The point of a problem statement is to force separation of problem and solution.

Business Problems

This is the complete list of articles we have written about business problems.
Business Challenges
Business Issues
Business Problems
Business Risks
Cost Of Capital
Customer Needs
Internal Issues
Market Share
Organizational Problems
Problem Statements
Time To Market
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Unit Cost
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Business Problems

An overview of common business problems.

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A list of common business issues.

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The definition of internal risk with examples.

Internal Issues

The definition of internal issues with examples.

Business Challenges

An list of common business challenges.

Business Situations

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Problem Solving Approach

An overview of common problem solving approaches.


A general, reusable solution to a commonly occurring problem.

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Organizational Problems

An overview of organizational problems with examples.

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Management Plan

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Management Challenges

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Work Plan

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