by Dwayne Phillips
Sometimes we find a small shiny object that we R E A L L Y want. Then we go about finding problems that it will solve. Yikes.
Here is the traditional or accepted way to solve a problem:
1. State the problem
2. State several solutions to the problem
3. Pick the “best” solution
4. Go back to step 1. and think some more
That is called “problem solving.” We have a problem; we seek a solution.
Then there is “solution probleming.” I was surprised to find that I have not written about this topic before. The phrase comes from the good old book “Are Your Lights On?: How to Figure Out What the Problem Really Is” by Donald C. Gause and Gerald M. Weinberg.
In solution probleming, we begin with something that we like. We R E A L L Y like it. It may be expensive, but no matter, we R E A L L Y like it. Now we need to justify this thing we R E A L L Y like. We follow a procedure that is something like:
1. See some thing that we R E A L L Y like
2. Find a problem that this thing solves
3. Repeat step 2. a bunch of times
There. We found a solution. Then we found problems. We were “solution probleming.”
The major problem with this method is that sometimes it works. Once in a great while it works and it is spectacular. WOW! We tend to recall that once in a great while event and give it enough weight that we justify this method for just about everything just about everyday.
Sorry. The method doesn’t work often. That means it doesn’t work with the small shiny object I saw this morning and I know it will solve a bunch of problems in my life and give me enough time to list all those problems and build a justification for this and all will be great no matter what the cost and…
Sorry. It doesn’t work.