Problem Tree Analysis - Advantages and Limitations

  • The simplicity of organizing the exercise and its emphasis on visualization and discussion make it easy to use across cultures in both rural and urban settings.
  • The actual causes of problem(s) can be more effectively determined and addressed.
  • The “real” problems can be addressed rather than just the symptoms.
  • A good overview of the “extent” of the problems can be visualised quickly.
  • Listing of possible solutions at an early planning stage easily hampers objective and open-minded problem analysis.
  • There is tendency to focus only on the problems that have been mentioned, other important problems are often ignored as a result.
  • The problem tree gives no indication of the “magnitude” of the problem. The implication is that all problems are seen as being equally important.
  • The “problem tree” technique is a tool that is useful in the identification and analysis stages. Users must have the knowledge and skills to use it and they must also understand the project environment.
  • The contention is that any problem that involves transforming either material or abstract objects from one state to a goal state, in other words any problem can be analysed in this way.
  • There is only an infinite availability of resources or time to resolve all of the problems. There is a need to determine the most economical solution, something that is not addressed by the trees analysis technique.