Prep Time:
Time to run:
1-3 hours

Problem statement template

Define a clearly articulated problem statement

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Use the problem statement template to clearly define and communicate a problem that needs to be addressed. This template helps to identify the scope, context, and significance of the problem with stakeholders in a structured workshop. 

Identify the customer or user having the problem, where the problem occurs, what the problem is, and what’s causing the issue. Then, take these insights and turn them into an actionable, concise problem statement.

The problem statement template helps to:

  • Improve problem-solving and team decision-making
  • Define expected outcomes for a proposed solution
  • Create a guiding principle for a project
  • Collaborate with stakeholders and build teamwork
  • Build empathy with the end-user

How to use the problem statement workshop

This template can be used in both solo and group settings, either as a solo brainstorming exercise or a guided workshop with team members. Use these steps as a guide to the elements of a problem statement.

1. Identify the target audience

Who is affected by the problem at hand? Is this who will benefit from the solution? What do we know or assume about them?

You may want to conduct a brainstorming session to define the user persona and list out any facts or assumptions you have about them and the problem they’re experiencing.

Pro-tip: Be sure to include any user research or data that can provide further background information.

2. Define the problem

Take some time to ideate and address these questions:

  • What is the problem from the user or customer’s point of view?
  • Is it easy to explain?
  • Is it an actual/real problem?
  • What evidence or examples exist of the problem?

3. Provide context for the problem

Describe when and where the problem occurs. Be sure to identify root causes and downstream effects of the problem. What is the context where the user is experiencing the problem? Include any examples or proof of the specific problem.

4. Explain why it matters

Explain why this is a real problem for your customers or users and why the problem is worth solving. Ask the following questions:

  • What is the most important value for the user?
  • What pain points would a solution help get rid of?
  • Why is it worth our investment?
  • How does it meet or align to business goals or KPIs?

5. Review each section in the template and draft your problem statement

Use the data, ideas, and work from the previous sections to draft an effective problem statement. Now that you have a clear understanding of the problem, your team can get started on brainstorming a viable solution.

Note: Read our full guide on creating problem statements with problem statement examples.

Tips for running a successful problem statement workshop

  • While brainstorming with other team members, turn on Mural's private mode feature to prevent groupthink.
  • Use the built-in timer feature to time-block each activity and stay on schedule.
  • Problem statements are good for more than just project management! Try using the template for internal uses like strategic planning.

How to create a Problem statement template

Build better problem statements with Mural

Leverage collaborative whiteboard features that make brainstorming, defining, and refining your problem statements faster, easier, and more collaborative
Sticky notes & text

Sticky notes & text

Add ideas, action items, and more as a sticky note or text box — then change the colors and cluster to identify patterns and new solutions.

Real-time collaboration

Real-time collaboration

Add more productivity and engagement to meetings and calls with features to guide collaboration.

Find & filter

Find & filter

Search and filter by color, last edited by, and more to unlock patterns and enhance visual collaboration.

Tags on sticky notes

Tags on sticky notes

Customizable labels make it easy to find, organize, and categorize your work in a mural.

Flexible permissions

Flexible permissions

Control access to collaboration features with view-only, edit, and facilitator settings.

Mapping and diagramming

Mapping and diagramming

Build quick and easy visualizations of flows, maps, processes, hierarchies, journeys, and more.

Problem statement template frequently asked questions

What is a problem statement?

Why should you create a problem statement?

Can a problem statement be a question?

Design Sprint Academy

Template by Design Sprint Academy


Design Sprint Academy helps organizations build sustainable products, discover opportunities for innovation & solve their toughest business challenges.

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