What I learned about techniques for faster problem solving

Fast flowing water
Fast flowing water

I was recently introduced to the idea of “heuristics” as a valid(?) problem-solving technique.

Common Faults — A Heuristics Approach

The concept itself is quite simple — for any given fault, compile a list of known root-causes and/or solutions, and sort your list by decreasing frequency.

As a demonstration (with made-up data), if your problem is that the light(s) are not illuminated, the possible cause might be:

50% — The power is off at the light switch
25% — The bulb is blown
12% — The circuit breaker has tripped
6% — Someone left the main power switch off in the switchboard
3% — The power is off at the street
1.5% — The bulb is not screwed in properly
0.8% — The switch is faulty
0.4% — There’s a loose wire at the back of the light socket
0.2% — A tree fell on / someone dug through your property supply line
0.1% — Something chewed though the cabling in your ceiling
0.05% — The circuit breaker has failed open circuit
0.02% — Someone put a nail in the wall through your wiring
0.01% — Someone installed a new oven on your light circuit
0.005% — Something more and more random…
0.002% — Etc., …


Daymon Follett

Daymon helps people use technology to improve their lives. He enjoys problem solving, communication, teams, and values integrity, and quality customer service.

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