"That's another problem, it's a sub-problem."
I found the choice of words puzzling. It seems that this sub-problem would be part of a greater problem. But is it correct to categorize it as a separate identity or should it always maintain its relationship to the larger problem? Shouldn't it be considered a symptom of the larger problem instead?
The difference is not merely semantic. If you classifying deficiencies as sub-problems you will be more willing to tackle these sub-problems individually since they are smaller in scope and less intimidating than the larger problem. But if you see it as a symptom, in context of the larger problem, you will be more likely to address the main problem systematically.
The difference is huge! Attacking the symptoms (components in the system) will not prevent them from returning. To stop the symptoms from reoccurring you need to get to the root of the problem (the system). To do so one must see the forest instead of only looking at the trees. Or at a smaller scale view, focusing on the root vice the branches, as Thoreau lamented:
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.
Henry David Thoreau
What's the status quo at your work? Is there much branch hacking (firefighting) or getting at the root (improving the system)?