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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Problem Solving Techniques

There are various problem-solving techniques that can be employed to aid the diagnosis of Problems. These include:
1. Kepner and Tregoe - A logical approach to problem-solving starting with defining and then describing the problem. Possible causes are established, and then probable causes tested and finally the true cause is verified.
2. Chronological Analysis - This approach sets out all the things that have happened in a timeline. This makes it clearer to see what has happened and allows focus on the critical part of the timeline.
3. Brainstorming - Gathering together the key individuals involved with a Problem in one place and mapping out all possible causes (and potential corrective activity). Such sessions should be under the control of the Problem Manager.
4. Pain Value Analysis - This technique is useful for identifying which Problems should be tackled in which order. Pain to a business can be defined in a number of different ways, for example the number of users impacted or potential financial loss. Pain Value Analysis provides a framework for deciding which Problems are actually hurting the organization most, allowing resources to be allocated where they are most needed.
5. Pareto Analysis - The Pareto Principle is often referred to as the ‘80–20 Rule’. The rule states that for many events, roughly 80 per cent of the effects come from only 20 per cent of the causes. This rule can be used in Problem Management to target those causes (Problems) that are causing most of the Incidents.
Workarounds - Sometimes before permanent fixes can be found, workarounds are identified. This often takes place during the Problem investigation and diagnosis phase. Workarounds are ways of restoring service that can be used without understanding the root cause. An obvious and frequently used example is the user who finds that their screen has ‘frozen’. There could be any number of causes, but the first step, which quite often resolves the issue, is usually to turn off the PC and then turn it back on again.

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