Welcome to **Part 1 of our 8 part mini series** on the A3 Practical Problem Solving method. Starting with Step 1 Problem Clarification.

The purpose of these short video blogs are to give you a **brief overview for each of the steps in the A3 Practical Problem Solving method**. The approach is based on Toyota Business Practice.

The videos are presented by Peter Watkins a Senior Coach at LEA and the Key Points are explained using our **Visual Teach Poster. **

The top half of our teach Poster focuses on the Purpose, Process & People.

This is covered in our** FREE Skill Level 1 course** on A3 Practical Problem Solving – ACCESS HERE

### A3 Practical Problem Solving – Step 1 Problem Clarification

However for this blog series we will concentrate on the lower half of the teach poster.

The video series will give you an initial overview of the basic thinking way behind each of the 8 steps to solve a problem.

There is also a brief description of the Key Learning Points from the video to reflect on and some helpful hints when completeing the step.

### Play the Video Overview for A3 Practical Problem Solving – Step 1 Problem Clarification

Video is played best when watching in Full Screen Mode

## Key Learning Points from the Video

### What is Problem Clarification / Definition ?

Example of Practical Problem Solving A3 – Step1 Problem Clarification

**It starts with understanding the “GAP?”**.

So to clarify or define a problem you are looking for a **‘GAP’ **i.e. a difference between where you want/expect to be and where you actually are in simple numerical terms.

Lean Thinkers always start any improvement activity by asking this Question **“What’s the Problem to Solve”**

So understanding and seeing the 8 Wastes in your work will help you identify the problems you need to solve. So you can then close GAP’s in performance KPI’s or GAP’s need to meet improvement goals

**Everyone i**n the organisation** should be able to identify and clarify problems to solve correctly**

### What’s the “Ultimate Goal?”

The Ultimate Goal is** where you are going . Its the Vision**

Where do you want to be in the long term

The ultimate goal puts a problem into context by clarifying the contribution it makes to the big picture journey

### What’s the “Ideal Situation?”

The Ideal Situation is** where you want to be next **

How much do we contribute to Ultimate Goal? in the short term

### What’s the “Current Situation?”

The Current Situation is** where you actually are now **

Grasp where we actually are now, today

### What’s “The GAP?”

**What’s the GAP?** – The difference between the Ideal Situation and the Current Situation

Quantifying the GAP helps to understand the problem.

So the problem we are trying to solve, needs to be very clearly defined and concise in numerical terms

**There are Two main types of GAP**

**Created GAP – to achieve new standard**

**Caused GAP – to get back to standard**

### A3 Practical Problem Solving – Step 1 Problem Clarification

### Helpful hints on this step:-

So the purpose of step 1 is simply to clarify the problem and what the gap is i.e where you are today versus where you want to be.

**This step is not about target setting** , this comes later after we have really understood the problem better and broken it down to a causes we can target specifically . (probably not the whole of the GAP !)

The **background description** needs to be simply explained in short sentences and with visuals / data where possible , to show why its important you are working on this problem.

It should simply describe **why is the problem so important that we are spending time , effort and resources working on it** (versus all the other problems we could solve!).

**Quantifying and visualizing the gap** helps the people you need to involve easily understand what the problem is , and ensure we can always go back and link to purpose of closing this gap

The Ultimate goal should always be **linked to your longer-term vision / strategic goals **where possible.

Because the real “GAP” to the long term objectives & goals might be much larger, we should always have this in mind when influencing how we think about a problem.

So **Long term strategic goals / vision need to be made clear to people who are not aware of them** by senior management.

### A3 Practical Problem Solving – Step 1 Problem Clarification

**Related Courses and Recommended Reading**

We have gathered together some links below for selected courses, books and articles if you want to learn more about A3 Problem Solving.