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Course Title
Kepner & Fourie: Problem Solving & Decision Making


The Kepner and Fourie methodology provides a structured approach for problem solving and decision making. The workshop covers skills and techniques required to effectively solve problems, to prioritize issues, to make effective decisions and to create contingency plans. The workshop is facilitator lead and cases studies are utilized to reinforce key learning concepts. Participants learn how to gather and evaluate relevant information; what questions to ask in determining true root causes and how to create effective solutions.


Participants will learn:

  • How to set priorities
  • How to analyze a complex and vague problem
  • How to find the true cause to technical deviations, recurring and start-up problems
  • How to create and/or develop a solution, based on predetermined requirements
  • How to develop unique solutions for unique company situation
  • How to make a choice between given alternatives
  • How to uncover blind spots in plan(s) or decision(s)




  • Improve focus
  • Identify the starting point for problem solving


PriorityWise focuses on appraising a situation fully; identifying core/key issues, setting priorities and determining the most important actions to take.

  • Compare diverse issues to reach consensus on priority
  • Understanding the benefits of the Pareto Principle (20/80)
  • Breakdown issues into manageable components
  • Establish a shared understanding of the problem situation
  • Structured evaluation and analysis of all stakeholders’ interest
  • Agreement on criteria to evaluate the issues uncovered.
  • Identification of core issues to be addressed.
  • Actionable next steps to resolve issues.


 CauseWise addresses technical anomalies. It answers the questions: “Why did it happen?” “How do we stop it from happening?” “How do we prevent it from happening again?”

  • Faster and more effective problem solving process
  • Understanding the appropriate problem solving question to ask and what to do with the answers in order to extract the most probable cause
  • Less blame fixing and finger pointing when dealing with problem situations
  • Reduction of “jumping to cause” fixes that normally account for expensive revising of the real cause later
  • Elimination of trial and error practices

SolutionWise answers the key question “What now?” and focuses on a common method for developing solutions and making choices

  • Evaluations of alternatives based on requirements of key stakeholders
  • More aligned decisions making for executives, managers and staff
  • Use of simple techniques to forge diverse opinions, preferences, and prejudices into a single holistic outcome.
  • Minimizes debating of alternatives or jumping to a favorite alternative
  • Ability to communicate the reasoning for making decisions.
  • Obtain greater buy-in and commitment for solution implementation
  • Emphasis on finding a solution, rather than making choices

 Risk Wise answers the key question, “What if?” It focuses on a common method for anticipating and mitigating risk.

  • Promotes more proactive actions
  • Minimizes the “fire-fighting” syndrome
  • Establishes a practical risk management plan agreed by key stakeholders
  • Cultivates the ability to identify “blind spots”
  • Teaches key questions to assess and evaluate probability and impact risks



  • None

Method of Instruction

  • Demonstration
  • Lecture
  • Small Groups



  • Application of the thinking dimensions to a job situation