Problem Statements and Design Goals help work through problem and solution definition. Once established they should be referred to throughout the project as a check balance. Are we still meeting our original goals? Focused on the problem at hand or are we in danger of scope creep?
Problem Statement: Clear definition of problem being solved
It is important that we understand the problem before defining a solution. Articulating the problem helps work through what is known about the problem and where there are gaps in knowledge. The problem definition should be a living document that is revisited and updated often as the problem becomes better understood.
A problem statement can express the value of a project and define the scope or focus of a project. An example problem statement might look like this:
The problem of... (problem description)
Affects... (the people impacted by this problem)
The impact of which is... (how are the people effected by the problem)
A successful solution would provide... (the benefits of a proposed solution)
Design goals articulated
Design goals help us stay focused on what we've determined to be most important in a project. They can serve as a quality check by making sure the designs meet the intended goals. These are typically at a high level and can be thought of as driving principles for a particular project. These can be thought of as related to if not the same as the benefits described in the problem statement. The design goals are likely fuzzy at the beginning of the project. The goals should be revisited and iterated on early and often.