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Problem Solving Tips

Code, Problem Solving, Debugging, Analysis3 min read

Problems 🐛 are a part of the current system of things. They sometimes come to us like uninvited guests.

Here are some leading questions that might help you find a proper solution

  1. Are you trying to solve the correct problem?

    • Or is the problem being caused by another problem?
    • It is important to trace the root cause so that the immediate problem doesn't repeat.
  2. Is the problem, really a problem?

    • In software development, maybe it's a feature?
    • If we look into some problems at a different angle, we sometimes may just ignore it because it has little impact.
  3. Are we sure that we know all the facts regarding the problem?

    • Knowing the facts of the problem is super important.
    • Having the wrong information will potentially lead to a wrong diagnosis, solution and can sometimes be costly.
  4. Is the problem your problem?

    • If the problem is beyond the scope of your authority, it might be best to turn it over to the accountable team or member.
  5. Does the problem even exist?

    • At times, we try to fix a problem that isn't there yet which could be fine if they prevent life-threatening situations.
    • But some problems are best faced only when they occur, not while they don't happen yet to prevent working on an expensive solution that won't be used at all.
    • This makes a lot of sense in software engineering which is why the principle YAGNI has been very popular.
  6. Is there something within your power to solve the problem?

    • Maybe there's something that you can do to fix a problem without any outside intervention
    • We all have limitations though, and that is totally OK. This leads us to the next tip
  7. Is there someone who you can share your problem with?

    • You don't have to shoulder the problem on your own 🙂
    • Maybe you can share it with:
      • a trusted friend
      • A professional or expert within the domain of the problem
      • Someone who was able to overcome a similar problem
    • Multiple heads are better than one
    • You can come up with better solutions through many advisers

The Solution 🔨

Now let's focus on the good part: The solution. For a single problem, there could be multiple solutions. How do we know that the solution we want to implement is the best one?

Here are some leading questions that will help us come up with the best solution

  1. Is it a permanent solution?
    • Some problems do not have shortcuts, and they sometimes make problems harder to solve.
    • You surely would love a solution that is long term, not temporary.
  2. Is the solution feasible?
  3. Does the solution not introduce bigger problems?
  4. Is it designed to solve the root cause of the problem?
  5. Do you have the authority and power to implement the solution?

With these in mind, I hope you can come up with the best possible solution to your problem at hand.

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