The simple six-step process outlined below will help you master effective problem solving, a skill that allows you to see problems from a new perspective and helps you develop and apply effective solutions. Is the problem small enough that you can solve it without taking too much time away from the rest of your project work? If so, fix the bug and move on. For project managers and business analysts like you, effective problem solving is an increasingly important “soft” skill that requires creative thinking and strong analytical skills. Problem solving can take up a lot of extra time and cause you to miss an important date in your life. React: Evaluate the situation to determine if you can work on part of the project while you wait for a colleague to return. This step is especially useful if the decisions are complex, need to be organized to follow a certain order of action, or if you don’t want to rely solely on your memory. If you have no choice but to take extra time, which will prevent you from meeting your deadline, you should notify your supervisor. If you can’t change the situation, you should contact your supervisor and another level of the client company. However, you cannot start the project because a colleague with important information and knowledge is on extended leave, and both are critical to the success of the project. Take the time to follow up and figure out the true cause of the problem by looking at it from different angles. Once you understand the problem, it’s time to think about possible solutions. Halfway through the project, you realize you’ve made a big mistake. In IT, we use root cause analysis to get to the root of the problem. As is often the case, there is no single correct answer to every problem, and the answers given in the sample scenarios are just one possible option. Here are three scenarios you may encounter as a project manager. Answer: No matter how outraged your clients are, you have a responsibility to treat them with dignity and respect.