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3.5 Problem Solving, Prevention and Decision Making

Generating, evaluating, and implementing solutions to problems.

    3.5.1 Identifying the problem
    • Anticipate or recognize the existence of a problem.
    • Recognize that problem-solving is based partly on the past because that is where the problems came from.
    • Analyze existing conditions to identify the true nature of the problem and define critical issues.
    • Use all available reference systems to analyze information relevant to understanding the problem.
    • Evaluate the importance and criticality of the problem.
    • Recall previously learned information that is relevant to the problem.
    • Formulate ideas on how to prevent those problems in similar circumstances and share them with appropriate personnel.
    3.5.2 Locating, gathering, and organizing relevant information
    • Effectively use both internal resources (e.g., internal computer networks, company filing systems) and external resources (e.g., internet search engines) to locate and gather information relevant to solving the problem.
    • Examine information obtained for relevance and completeness.
    • Recognize important gaps in existing information and takes steps to eliminate those gaps.
    • Organize/reorganize information as appropriate to gain a better understanding of the problem.
    3.5.3 Generating alternatives
    • Consider the causes and effects of current and recently-resolved technical and non-technical problems.
    • Integrate previously learned and externally obtained information to generate a variety of high-quality alternative approaches to the problem.
    • Skillfully use logic and analysis to identify the strengths and weaknesses, the costs and benefits, and the short- and long-term consequences of different solutions or approaches.
    3.5.4 Choosing a solution
    • Decisively choose the best solution after evaluating the relative merits of each possible option.
    • Make difficult decisions even in highly ambiguous or ill-defined situations.
    3.5.5 Implementing the solution
    • Commit to a solution in a timely manner and develop a realistic approach for implementing the chosen solution.
    • Document the problem and corrective actions taken and their outcomes and communicate these to the appropriate parties.
    • Observe and evaluate the outcomes of implementing the solution to assess the need for alternative approaches and to identify lessons learned.
    • Expedite projects by identifying tasks that can be done simultaneously, rather than assuming that they must be done in series.