Consider this: as a sales manager in a personal care company, you’re required to identify the potential sales target for a new skincare line. You gather your data through questionnaires and customer surveys. The target market comprises men and women in their late 30s. Once you have the data, you analyze the information to form an effective sales strategy.

This is where you hit a snag. Men only form 15% of the sample group. Most of the data you have collected only takes into account women in their late 30s. Your competency as a sales manager will reflect in the way you deal with this issue. This is where your knowledge of how to do problem analysis can come in handy.

Problem analysis is key to saving time and achieving desired goals. When you’re faced with setbacks or mistakes, you have to remember to stay focused and find creative solutions to come out of the situation. Harappa Education’s Creating Solutions course teaches you to break down problems into structured questions.

It’s important to first understand problem analysis before you can reach an optimal solution. Let’s look at the steps in how to do problem analysis.

How To Do Problem Analysis

1. Understand The Problem

The first step is to analyze problem areas. Understand what went wrong. If you’re going in blind, you might overlook errors like incorrect numbers and irrelevant customer feedback. Problem analysis requires patience and simplification. Once you identify the problem, it’ll be easier to take the necessary steps to move forward.

2. Ask The ‘Why Question’

Harappa highlights the importance of the ‘why question’ when you’re faced with problem analysis. After you have identified what went wrong, the next step is to ask why the error occurred in the first place. The ‘why question’ will help you get to the bottom of the problem and make sense of it in a way that’s simple and easy to understand.

3. Structure Your Questions

After you’ve asked why there was a problem, the next step in problem analysis is to structure the ‘why questions’. Creating a logic tree and dividing your problems into sub-issues will help you focus on each of these components individually. By breaking down the issue into categories and components, you’re able to analyze problem areas thoroughly.

4. The AQR Framework

One of the most important frameworks—explored in detail inHarappa’s Creating Solutions course—is the AQR Framework. It helps you ascertain:

  • If the data you need to solve your problem is available
  • The type of data—qualitative or quantitative—that is available
  • If you need to conduct your own research or use existing research

The AQR Framework is a useful resource that’ll help you devise a robust strategy for problem-solving and make informed decisions.

5. Keep An Open Mind

It’s easy to have your opinion colored by existing research and viewpoints. Take other perspectives into consideration before you set out to understand problem analysis and create solutions.

By putting evidence and data to good use, you can circumvent setbacks with ease. But if you’re too rigid and refuse to approach a problem from different angles, it’ll be difficult to make sound assumptions and exercise your judgment.

Problem Analysis Examples

Let’s understand this with an example. Rekha recently completed her master’s degree in art history and art gallery management. She’s passionate about supporting new artists and she’s troubled by the fact that many upcoming and small-scale artists in India are overlooked. They are often overshadowed by more prominent artists who are supported by government or independent organizations.

Rekha decides to tap into her own network of art enthusiasts and professionals—university professors, peers, classmates, and seniors—to start a crowd-funded online art gallery exclusively for budding artists.

As the example demonstrates, Rekha understood the problem of small-scale Indian artists, asked why the artists weren’t gaining popularity and came up with a creative solution to provide them with a platform.


Problem analysis isn’t rocket science if you take studied measures to determine why something isn’t working out. Once you’ve identified areas for improvement, you’ll be able to come up with a solution that’s in everyone’s best interest. Learn more about the concepts and frameworks mentioned in this article with Harappa’s Creating Solutions course and understand problem analysis to achieve personal and professional success.

Explore topics such as Problem Solving, PICK Chart, How to Solve Problems & Barriers to Problem Solving from our Harappa Diaries blog section and develop your skills.

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