To understand Troubleshooting, we need to understand that it is a similar idea as that of Problem Solving. The following are some thoughts regarding problem solving found on the internet.7e32aef20300b693a40f5207-819x1024

SRM University offers some examples regarding the need for basic knowledge for solving problems and some problems people face everyday in life.

Should I wear casual or formal today?
Should I watch TV or go out to cinema?
What career?
What course?
What shoes?



Source: Problem Solving in Everyday in Life by R.Lakshmi & R.Sarumathi

Some problems are just simple choices (like what flavor of ice cream do I want), but others may either affect us negatively (my car engine light has come on, but I will ignore it … it may just be a ploy from the automobile industry to get more money out of me) or keep us from a benefit (I just got my first job… should I be saving money into a retirement account now or wait until I am closer to my 50’s before starting?).


Problem solving is a process that uses steps to solve problems.” Source:


“All problems have two features in common: goals and barriers.


Goals – Problems involve setting out to achieve some objective or desired state of affairs and can include avoiding a situation or event….


Barriers – If there were no barriers in the way of achieving a goal, then there would be no problem.  Problem solving involves overcoming the barriers or obstacles that prevent the immediate achievement of goals.”




The following methods I want to share are pretty common in many disciplines from running a business to solving crimes to diagnosing an illness to even fixing technology issues and so much more.

The ability to solve problems is a skill, and just like any other skill, the more you practice, the better you get at it.

“Problem solving is the process of identifying a problem, developing possible solution paths, and taking the appropriate course of action.

…Algorithmic strategies are traditional step-by-step guides to solving problems. They are great for solving math problems (in algebra: multiply and divide, then add or subtract) or for helping us remember the correct order of things (a mnemonic such as “Spring Forward, Fall Back” to remember which way the clock changes for daylight saving time, or “Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey” to remember what direction to turn bolts and screws). Algorithms are best when there is a single path to the correct solution.

But what do you do when there is no single solution for your problem? Heuristic methods are general guides used to identify possible solutions. A popular one that is easy to remember is IDEAL :

Identify the problem
Define the context of the problem
Explore possible strategies
Act on best solution
Look back and learn

IDEAL is just one problem solving strategy.” Source: [Bransford & Stein, 1993]

In Japanese culture, the “… multidimensional problem-solving approach is common. Rather than just use any solution that solves the problem, they aim for the best solution they can find.

Problem Solving Overview: A3

With this “…the goal is to fit all information related to the problem solving on one sheet of paper… and includes:

A description of the problem
The current state
The goal of the problem solving
A root cause analysis
A progress status
Confirmation of problem solution
Organizational information like responsible parties, date, approval, etc.”


Root Cause: 5 Whys

This is an approach used at Toyota where you ask/answer down the “Why?” five times in a row taking a deeper look each time. The main idea is to not consider the first answer as the root issue to better understand the root cause of the problem.


Root Cause: Fishbone Diagram

Another name for this is the cause-and-effect diagram. “The aim is to address the problem from multiple different directions, graphically represented by a fishbone. The head is the problem, and the bones are the individual possible causes that are analyzed. The causes can be specific to the particular problem, but in industry, the following are also common” as in the diagram shown below. source: by Christoph Roser


Here is an example of this in the cause/effect view



The next time around Troubleshooting, I will seek to give more examples and walk through them.


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