Background-Problem-Solution Document

The Background - Problem - Solution Document (BPS) is a communication tool used to help high-level individuals quickly understand and address a problem or issue.  


  • This tool is used to simplify a problem and a proposed solution to that problem;
  • This tool will help managers quickly grasp the background, problem and solution of a specific issue.
  • This tool is used to detail and document a specific problem and a solution to that problem.


  • Research the background or history of the issue and briefly describe it;
  • Briefly describe the problem;
  • Briefly describe the solution to the problem;
  • This should be done in a word processing document.

Click here for a template and here for an example.


In Alaska, the North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program (NPGOP) within the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, have used this tool to solve issues with some of the data reported by observers.  The background of how and why the data is collected was briefly described. The problems and their respective solutions were fully addressed.  This document was then forwarded to management for approval.  Management found that this document helped them quickly understand the problems and how to solve them, saving time and resources.

Subject Ambassador:

Glenn Campbell - Alaska Fisheries Science Center: