Problem Tree Analysis - Brief Description


The problem tree technique helps to define the problems surrounding a project and it provides a way to order these problems into cause-effect relationships.

Tree diagrams are multi-purpose, visual tools for narrowing and prioritising problems, objectives or decisions. Information is organized into a tree-like diagram. The main issue is represented by the tree’s trunk, and the relevant factors, influences and outcomes will show up as systems of roots and branches. In a project context, tree diagrams can be used to guide design and evaluation systems. As a community participation exercise, tree diagrams can help people to uncover and analyse the underlying causes of a particular problem or to rank and measure objectives in relation to one another.

Examples of different kinds of trees are:

  • A decision tree can be used to illustrate costs and benefits associated with decisions, for example regarding options for a project evaluation system.
  • A problem or problem-cause tree illustrates dependent and independent variables that affect a particular problem, and it can be useful in teasing out the underlying causes of complex problems.
  • An objectives tree can be used to discern between priority needs and less significant needs. Often it makes sense to create problem trees and objective trees in tandem, since identifying problems is the first step to setting objectives that remedy them.