The What, Who, Why, When and How do I sign up? for an exciting new PSM course

Our eight-day course Using Problem Structuring Methods: finding solutions and framing analysis


Problem structuring methods (PSM) provide a series of practical approaches, using the principal soft OR methods, which can tackle the more strategic problems of organisations. There are three well-established soft- OR methods: Soft Systems Methodology (SSM), the Strategic Choice Approach (SCA), and Strategic Options Development and Analysis (SODA/Journey-Making). Each incorporates problem structuring as an important element of the method and this course will enable participants to make use of these soft-OR methods in practice and according to the nature of the problem situation.


The opportunities to apply such methods in practice increase with the greater experience of practitioners. This training is aimed at professionals with prior  experience in this area of practice who are seeking to further develop their knowledge. It mixes more formal teaching (integrated with case exercise work) with interactive ‘Community of Practice’ (CoP) sessions in which tutors and course members explore and share their practical experiences in the use of the methods, in a dynamic way. This CoP element is a vital element of this training and sets it apart from more standard training approaches. Delegates will get the most value from this training by attending all the sessions (outlined below) and participating in them fully.

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Course tutors Colin Eden and Jonathan Rosenhead are well known for their  knowledge in this area and bring a wealth of experience to this training experience. Colin developed Strategic Options Development and Analysis (SODA) and has used it extensively in a wide variety of application settings: public, private, top management team, with OR analysts, as a crucial element of litigation modelling, for strategy development as well as messy problem solving, with groups and with individual managers. Jonathan – developer of Robustness Analysis – has used the main methods within PSMs in public and private sector contexts and taught them at master’s level and in short courses since the 1990s. Besides Colin and Jonathan the course will be taught by other experienced tutors, in their specific areas.


Key learning outcomes include:

  • Gaining knowledge of methods that assist in negotiating a workable solution to a key problems;
  • Understanding practical methods for handling uncertainty in decision-making;
  • Gaining the ability to tackle problems in which structures need to be designed rather than optimised;
  • Better utilising interactions between stakeholders with different knowledge-bases and interests;
  • The experience of using the methods in practice.


This course will deliver a seven day programme over a four month period:
Session 1 Introduction to Problem Structuring Methods – range, variety, applications
Session 2 Strategic Options Development and Analysis (SODA)
Session 3 Community of Practice session
Session 4 Strategic Choice
Session 5 Community of Practice session
Session 6 Soft Systems Methodology
Session 7 Community of Practice session 
Session 8 Wrap-up : Pulling together the material from across the proceeding sessions

The cost for the 8 day course is £3150 plus VAT for members and £3500 plus VAT for non-members. The courses will run at our Birmingham Training Facility.

The 8 sessions of the programme are planned to be run from September to December 2019 with typically 2 Session days a month.

How do I sign up?

To express interest in joining this exciting course, please contact Jennie Phelps via the 'Contact us' box on the right.

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Contact our Training Administrator

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