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Major Categories

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.

Missing piece

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.

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