Problem statement examples can be very useful when trying to come up with your own problem statement, whether for a new business, a major problem in an existing business, or for something more specific—such as an identified issue within UX or IT.
According to Research Tube, a YouTube channel dedicated to best practices in research and problem solving:
A problem statement is a statement of a current issue or problem that requires timely action to improve the situation. In general, a problem statement will outline the negative points of the current situation and explain why this matters.
A good problem statement will usually also make some effort at paving the way towards a solution. Problem statements are usually kept between 100 and 400 words long.
Keep reading for tips on how to write a variety of common problem statements
What's in this guide:
Problem statement example in business
Problem statement example for UX
Problem statement example for SaaS companies
Problem statement example for digital transformation
Problem statement example in information technology
Problem statement examples in business
Problem statements are used in all sorts of business projects, including new business launches, revenue optimization initiatives, competitor analysis, and more. Corporate research analysts include problem statements in their proposals for beginning a new research project. They might use the problem statement to identify business weak points or hypothesize about the problems they will find in their research.
Entrepreneurs launching new ventures use problem statements to write out the problems of their target customer or market, in order to justify their proposed solution or product. They might also list out the plan for product validation, so that the problem and solution are validated before product development.
How to write a business problem statement
Always include as many specific details as possible.
If you're writing a problem statement for a specific problem within a business, be sure to include:
The affected departments of the business
Any known details about the problem's depth and breadth
Any known causes of the problem
Whether the problem affects revenue, expenses, or productivity
The known length of the problem
Any certainties around what isn't causing the problem
Any steps that have been taken to solve the problem
If you're writing a problem statement for a new business or product, be sure to include:
The issues your customers are facing
The problems with current solutions and the overall market
The problems your business may face in creating a solution or product
Our real estate investing intelligence software has experienced a downfall or a plateau in paid subscription purchases every month for the past 5 months, even though our benchmark for free trial sign ups has remained steady. This means that our business isn't facing a traffic issue, but rather a conversion issue. This problem could be to a variety of related problems, including recently raised interest rates for mortgages in the United States, the overall slowing of the real estate market, as well as factors that we can control within our business. Some of the factors we can control include our onboarding flow for new users within the platform, our video tutorials, our reocurring live workshops, and our email onboarding sequence. Part of the problem may also be with our pricing. We have identified that we receive a lack of paid subscriptions and a lot of churn because users are able to get too much value out of our free plan. We likely need to restructure our free trial to offer less value so that users are required to sign up for a paid plan to download a list of leads of real estate deals. However, this will not resolve our churn problem, as we get 50% of new paying users churning after their first month. We need to build additional features to keep real estate investors staying with our platform for at least 4 months.
Problem statement examples for UX
Without great UX, a digital product will fail. UX is what sets the winners apart from the losers. UX designers will rely on problem statements to clarify customer frustrations, UX-related churn, or UX-related abandonment.
How to write a UX problem statement
In a UX problem statement, make sure to include:
Known details about the nature and cause UX problems
Details about how competitors address these UX problems, and whether or not competitors have resolved
The potential impact of the UX problems on revenue
Any known requirements in resolving the UX problems
Users of our proposal software have reported frustration at having to copy information into the CRM after they send a proposal. They use their CRMs to track all email conversations, phone calls, and other lead and client interactions. Without CRM integrations, our proposal software causes a frustrating experience for our power users. While users from very small businesses and firms don’t have this issue, we are hearing from sales reps at SMBs and enterprises that the need to duplicate proposal sending information in their CRM causes an additional two to three hours of work every week. The problem is that we don’t have any integrations with CRMs and we have not yet identified the CRMs of our best users. We need to send segmented surveys to determine our priorities for the first three CRMs to integrate with, and we need to build in the user flows around these integrations.
Problem statement examples for SaaS companies
Every great SaaS company starts with a problem. People use software to get things done. A problem statement for a new SaaS product is a smart way to gather details about the market's issue and its relative importance. SaaS founders can get feedback and agreement from users before moving forward with a new venture. (This leads to cost savings, as founders can be sure they're solving the most important problems for the target audience, instead of what they think needs to be done.)
How to write a problem statement for a new SaaS venture
A problem statement for a new SaaS venture is similar to a business problem statement.
Make sure to include these elements:
The problems your target users are currently facing
The severity or importance of the problems
How your target users address these issues currently
The problems or weaknesses with competitor solutions
Hiring managers and recruiters are plagued with dozens of repetitive, boring tasks across the hiring process, including screening applicants, reaching out to applicants to schedule interviews, managing rescheduling and cancellations, answering questions for applicants at a variety of stages during the hiring process. Whether for hourly positions or professional positions, the hiring process still requires a lot of manual work. This makes recruiters’ and hiring managers’ daily lives boring and monotonous, taking away from the fun part of their jobs, which is meeting new people and assessing how they will fit into various company cultures and specific roles. Great hirers truly want to put the right people in the right positions and don’t have enough assistance with the boring tasks to allow them to focus on what matters. We expect to resolve this issue through the use of AI. Competitor products provide software tools to digitize this work, but don't offer AI solutions to drastically cut down on this work.
How will we identify the first problems to solve:
We intend to build a SaaS platform with an AI assistant for hiring managers and recruiters. Throughout the project, we will need to interview users regularly, prototype rapidly, and collect feedback in order to identify which problems need to be resolved first.
We are considering separating the problems into these user stories: screening hourly applicants, screening professional applicants, scheduling interviews, and answering repetitive questions.
We will use the above mentioned research and prototyping processes to prioritize which user stories to build first.
Problem statement examples for digital transformation
Digital transformation refers to any large technology-powered project that a business undertakes. This could be transforming their digital app for customers or overhauling their internal systems. A problem statement is an important first step to get stakeholders aligned on solving high-priority issues or innovating proactively to address customer needs.
How to write a digital transformation problem statement
Because digital transformation projects are expensive and complex, your problem statement should be equally robust.
Make sure to include all of these details:
What is the problem that the organization is facing?
What efforts have been made in the past to address this problem?
Why were previous efforts unsuccessful?
What is known about the potential solutions, technology, and vendors that could solve this problem?
What isn't known or is uncertain?
What are the digital transformation project requirements?
How will solutions be evaluated?
How will the success of the digital transformation project be measured?
We are in need of a faster and more secure way to onboard and offboard employees. Our current processes require hiring managers to ask the security team for the same tasks over and over, and for the security team to hand over repetitive tasks to IT. We need to use automation to address repetitive tasks for onboarding, such as granting access to platforms and devices and during offboarding when revoking access. We also need a solution to address security concerns when employees lose their devices. We need a proprietary solution that is perfectly customized to our needs. The cost of custom solutions will be evaluated against their ability to save time for high-wage employees (security and IT). No former attempts have been made to resolve these issues with automation and custom coding.
Note: This example was inspired by our work creating an onboarding and offboarding solution for Box.
Problem statement examples in information technology
A problem statement for information technology (IT) is intended to find problems with network connectivity, team productivity, cybersecurity, etc. With a clear problem statement, the IT team can be aligned with what issue they're solving. This way, all discussions of potential solutions stay on track.
How to write a problem statement for IT
A problem statement for IT should include:
The business motivation for solving the technology issue
The staff members or departments that will be affected
The timeline in which the problem needs to be resolved
The severity or priority level
We have had a no-working-from home policy in effect for all staff members of our school district since its founding date. However, in light of recent events (the prevalence of working from home in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic) and after witnessing 3 neighboring school districts allowing some form of work from home, we feel that we can no longer disallow all forms of working from home. Our office staff members have been complaining about our policy for the past 3 years. We are concerned that we will not be able to hire new quality staff members, who may prefer to apply at one of our neighboring school districts. We are also concerned about losing our current staff members to one of these districts.
We feel that it is now essential to offer some form of working from home. To start, we would like to only allow staff to work from home when they are sick (with minimal symptoms) or quarantining from Covid-19. Many staff members will feel perfectly healthy, but have to stay home due to our continued 14-day quarantine policy. This causes major delays and challenges among the office staff, who are short staffed as it is.
To solve this problem, we will need to provide secure access to MicroSoft Teams and the other cloud computing software that office staff use. We may need to provide them with district-issued devices to ensure the security of our data when staff are working from home. Our IT department will further assess these problems and come up with a solution to allow staff to work from home. After piloting this policy for quarantine days only, we may consider permitting one day of work from home per week, however this will not be announced to staff until after the initial pilot is successful.
This problem needs to be resolved by July, in order to permit working from home for the coming school year. The current severity of this problem is low, but it has a potential to impact security and productivity at a high level.
Nearly every business project or research project should begin with a clear problem statement. No matter the form or length, a problem statement has the power to get stakeholders aligned so that potential solutions resolve the biggest, highest-priority problem.
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