Problem Analysis™ | Problem-Solving Training Activity

Brain-storming, fish-boning, information-seeking and analytical thinking track down a production problem. Great value!

Learning Objectives

  • To develop problem-solving strategies
  • To organise themselves and brainstorm ideas
  • To think logically and analytically (risk analysis)
  • To identify problems and critical information

Five-Year Repeat Use Licence

This Northgate training activity comes with a five-year licence for repeat use with up to 24 participants per training session within the licence-holding organisation. Please ask for a discount for use with larger groups. Also includes access to the Northgate Trainerhub (see below for details).

  • Participants

    3-24 (up to 4 teams of 3-6 per team)

  • Timing

    1 hour + debrief

  • Uses a computer?

    Not required

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Delivery charges do not apply to digital products.

Access for digital products is via the Northgate Trainerhub (we will set you up with hub access within 24 (working) hours of your order & our working hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 5:30pm).

  • UK delivery

    (normally next working day)


  • Europe delivery

    (1-2 working days)


  • World delivery

    (1-5 working days)



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The Activity

Rainbow Textiles has suspended production and losses are mounting. Can you trace the cause of the mysterious mark on many of the clothes - and save the business?

You have a full brief and details of the factory. A Databank managed by the facilitator holds all the relevant data about the factory, the staff, possible causes. Teams can only access it via written request. What should you ask for? As the data builds, you gain a clearer picture, but there are plenty of red herrings along the way! You’ll develop a problem-solving strategy; a step-by-step logic or brainstorming or both. Can you use your problem analysis skills to pinpoint the problem?

The exercise looks at the pros and cons of different strategies as well as examining the way groups organise themselves, resolve conflict, communicate and retrieve data. It highlights the need to obtain full details, think logically and to ask the right questions.

Trainer's Role

  • Introduce the activity.
  • Divide participants into teams and issue copies of the Briefing Sheet.
  • Set times when the Databank is open and accept up to 10 questions from each syndicate. Hand groups the appropriate Datacards that answer the questions asked.
  • Allow time for analysis and then take another round of questions, up to a maximum of three rounds.
  • Call upon each group to make a presentation – of the problem and how best it can be rectified.
  • Lead a discussion on how the teams worked and how they might have improved performance.

Pack Contents

  • Trainer’s Notes
  • Team Briefs
  • Sets of 36 Cards
  • Data Request Form (supplied as A4 pad & PDF file)
  • Card Log (supplied as A4 pad & PDF file)
  • Handout - Teamwork & Problem-solving (supplied as A4 pad & PDF file)
  • Card Index (supplied as PDF file)

This activity is for face-to-face classroom use. It is supplied as a hard copy pack and the digital files are supplied via the Northgate Trainerhub.

Northgate Trainerhub

Benefits of the online Northgate Trainerhub include:

  • Easy-to-access resource library which stores all the digital files for the activity in one place
  • Immediate access to upgrades made to the activity over the five-year licence term
  • Access to an online Trainer Forum where you can post questions, share experiences & network with other Trainers
  • Access to free activities and icebreakers
  • Option to send information to team leaders digitally via the hub using Team Access Codes (for paperless training sessions)
  • Unlimited Trainer logins for all Trainers based at the licence-holding site

An excellent exercise. We use 'Problem Analysis' on our supervisory development programme as an introduction to the whole subject of problem-solving and decision-making.

K. O'Connor, Hotel chain (name withheld)

We use 'Problem Analysis' in the problem-solving session on a basic management programme for managers from different areas of the company. It’s extremely useful in giving participants something practical rather than theoretical.

D. Hutchinson, Kay & Co Ltd

'Problem Analysis' is a superb package to promote and stimulate analytical thinking and risk analysis.

S. Thompson, The Stock Exchange

An excellent exercise - we used it with managers from Africa and the Middle East. It was extremely beneficial and thoroughly enjoyed by all.

S. O’Linn, Mile Laboratory UK Ltd

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