Definition according to the Wikipedia:

problem statement is a concise description of an issue to be addressed or a condition to be improved upon. It identifies the gap between the current (problem) state and desired (goal) state of a process or product

The problem statement is a link between business objectives and hypotheses.

What it shouldn’t be

  • A description of the lack of the solution (the problem is that we don’t have a CRM system)
  • Too short. It should include sufficient information for all the involved people. A problem statement containing so little information significantly reduces you ability to take specific action.


A vision - A description of how things would look if the problem was fixed An issue statement - A couple of sentences explaining the specific issue A method - The process you follow to solve the problem

While it’s great to include all elements to the problem statement it’s not necessary in case of  insufficient time. The vision and the method parts could be skipped but the issue statement should always be included

Building a problem statement

To build a problem statement ask following questions: What? What is the problem we’re trying to fix here? What is its impact on the business and on customers/clients? Why? Why has it occurred, what was the cause? And why is it important that it gets fixed? When? When does it happen? Is it recurring issue or is it there permanently? Is there a critical date when it needs to be fixed by? How? How are we going to fix it? Where? Where are we seeing the problem occur? Which products and processes are being affected? Who? Who is the issues affecting? All users of a system or only certain groups?

Example problem statement

We want to increase the volume of contractor leads on our web form, so that our sales team can convert them into customers. (Vision)

Currently we have a web form that a high proportion of visitors are struggling to complete, and this results in customer frustration and lost business for the company. We need to fix this problem by making the form easier to use. (Issue Statement)

We will run an A/B test to evaluate the success of any design changes. (Method)