Some key potential benefits that could be addressed in the statement of the problem section of a capstone project include increased efficiency, cost savings, improved customer/user experiences, and addressing gaps or shortcomings in existing solutions. Let’s explore some examples of how these benefits could be discussed in more detail:
Increased Efficiency: One common goal for capstone projects is to develop solutions that allow organizations, businesses, governments, or other entities to operate in a more efficient manner. This could mean automating manual processes to reduce labor costs and human errors, streamlining workflows to eliminate redundant or unnecessary steps, consolidating systems to reduce overhead of maintaining multiple platforms, or utilizing technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, or predictive analytics to optimize operations. The statement of the problem should identify specific processes, tasks, or areas of inefficiency the project aims to improve and potentially provide data on the inefficiencies such as numbers of staff hours spent, costs of redundant systems/licenses, or other metrics to quantify how the proposed solution could generate meaningful gains in efficiency.
Cost Savings: Closely related to efficiency, a major benefit organizations seek from innovative projects is reducing expenses and costs. The statement of the problem should call out the specific costs the project intends to lower such as staffing/labor expenses by automating manual tasks, infrastructure and maintenance fees by modernizing legacy systems, material/supply costs by optimizing inventory levels or supply chain processes, and others. Providing estimates of potential savings in dollars or percentages of affected budgets can help stakeholders understand the potential return on investment of the project. Examples could include “The current manual filing system requires 3 full-time employees costing $150,000 per year in salaries. An electronic document management system could eliminate the need for 2 of these roles, saving $100,000 annually.”
Improved Customer/User Experiences: In many cases, the primary beneficiaries of capstone projects are the end-users or customers interacting directly with the solutions developed. Strong problem statements will clearly articulate how current products, services or experiences fall short in meeting user needs and expectations. Specific pain points like slow response times, difficult workflows, lack of personalization or customization options, and poor user interfaces or mobility support should be highlighted. The proposed project should explicitly state how it aims to enhance the experience for users in measurable ways like reducing completion times of tasks by 50%, adding self-service features, or supporting multiple devices/form factors. Including user feedback, surveys or anecdotes can help bring these problems to life.
Addressing Gaps: Many useful capstone ideas are born from addressing gaps, deficiencies or shortcomings in existing solutions that organizations, communities or society rely on. The problem statement needs to clearly identify these voids and limitations. For example, a lack of tools supporting certain languages, capabilities missing from core software packages, insufficient resources for underserved groups, or outdated guidelines hampering innovation. The proposed solution should concretely describe how it plans to fill one of these gaps by adding new functionality, expanding support/accessibility, modernizing approaches, or developing alternatives to status quo solutions no longer adequate for evolving needs. Case studies, technical reports and research can substantiate claims about deficiencies the project aims to remedy.
Those are some examples of the types of potential benefits that could be discussed in detail within the statement of the problem section of a capstone project proposal. Of course, the specific wording, metrics and examples would need to be tailored to the individual project concept and affected stakeholders. The key is to quantify impacts where possible, paint a clear picture of current limitations or inefficiencies, and explicitly connect the proposed solution to meaningful gains in measurable outcomes like costs, productivity, experiences or addressing important gaps. Focusing on benefits gives readers a concrete understanding of why the problem merits attention and how its solution creates value, which is important for securing support and funding for the project.