Drill Down Technique

The drill down technique is an excellent problem solving method for getting to the root of the problem. Often, the problem causing the company grief is clear, but tackling this problem effectively can only occur if the factors causing this problem are determined. The drill down technique looks to break the key problem down into its elements and hence find a solution to these factors, with the overall aim of solving the key problem.

The technique starts with a table with the key problem outlined in the first column, as shown below. The factors causing this problem are then outlined in the second column and the factors causing these problems follow in the third column. The idea is to keep ‘drilling down’ until the true causes of the problem are found, i.e. in this instance ‘bad timekeeping’. Solutions are then generated from these causes, the idea being that these solutions will be far simpler than any tackling the problem in the first column. For example, an initiative to improve organisational structure may be a solution to this problem that would not have been clear from simply tackling the problem in column 1.







Lack of responsiveness to client enquiries



Too busy to read emails


                     Bad timekeeping                               


Unwillingness to reach out for help





No one accountable for client interaction


Lack of organisational structure



Poor delegation from management



The technique is useful for breaking very complex problems into smaller parts. Although the technique does not help to identify solutions, it can be a good starting point for analysing what is really occurring and developing solutions from there. It is often the first action taken in a large problem solving initiative.