Identify the major categories of your problem.
Defining the basic structure of your problem is a critical step in the problem-solving process. This is important because the structure of your problem will mirror certain aspects of the structure of your solution.
Major Categories should be:
- Clearly defined,
- Mutually exclusive, and
- Collectively exhaustive.
You can save a lot of time and effort by identifying all of your major categories up front. This is especially true if you’re defining the fields in a database (i.e. MySolver™).
Identify the Major Categories of Your Problem
Step 1: List all the factors related to your problem. Use our Factors tool.
Step 2: Sort your problem into its component parts. Use Sorting.
Step 3: Build a tree structure of your problem’s component parts. Use Drill Down.
Step 4: Understand the variables that cause dynamic changes within your problem. Use Forces.
Step 5: One of your major categories must be 'Me'. You're part of the solution, right?
Step 6: Make sure that all your major categories fit together into a cohesive whole. Use Outside-In Thinking.
Step 7: Review all of your factors and forces to make sure they're included in at least one of your major categories. In-other-words, you don’t want to have any extra pieces left over when you’re done.