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Technical Method Problem Solving Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

Technical Method of Problem Solving

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.

Introd­uct­ion­/Mo­tiv­ation

Scient­ists, engineers, and ordinary people use problem solving each day to work out solutions to various problems. Using a systematic and iterative procedure to solve a problem is efficient and provides a logical flow of knowledge and progress.

"The Techno­logical Method of Problem Solvin­g." is a seven-step procedure that is highly iterat­ive—you may go back and forth among the listed steps, and may not always follow them in order. Remember that in most engine­ering projects, more than one good answer exists. The goal is to get to the best solution for a given problem.

Background and Concepts

The overall concept that is important is: Using a standard method or procedure to solve problems makes the process easier and more effect­ive.

The process can skip ahead and go backwards (learn more about the problem or potential solutions if early ideas do not work well).

This process provides a reference that can be reiterated throughout to learn new material or ideas that are relevant to the solution.
Brains­torming about what we know about a problem or project and what we need to find out to move forward is often a good starting point when faced with a new problem. This type of questi­oning provides a basis and relevance that is useful in other science and technology solutions.

1. Identify the problem

Clearly state the problem. (Short, sweet and to the point. This is the "big pictur­e" problem, not the specific project you have been assigned.)

2. Establish what needs to be achieved

Completion of a specific project that will help to solve the overall problem.
In one sentence answer the following questi­on: How will I know I've completed this project?
List criteria and constr­ain­ts: Criteria are things you want the solution to have. Constr­aints are limita­tions, sometimes called specif­ica­tions, or restri­ctions that should be part of the solution. They could be the type of materials, the size or weight the solution must meet, the specific tools or machines you have available, time you have to complete the task and cost of constr­uction or materials.

3. Gather inform­ation and research

Research is sometimes needed both to better understand the problem itself as well as possible solutions.
Don't reinvent the wheel – looking at other solutions can lead to better solutions.
Use past experi­ences.
 

Techno­kogical Method of Problem Solving

4. Brainstorm possible solutions

List and/or sketch as many solutions as you can think of.

5. Choose the best solution

Evaluate solution by:
1) Comparing possible solution against constr­aints and criteria
2) Making trade-offs to identify "­bes­t."

6. Implement the solution

Develop plans that include (as required): drawings with measur­ements, details of constr­uction, constr­uction procedure.
Define tasks and resources necessary for implem­ent­ation.
Implement actual plan as approp­riate for your particular project.

7. Test & Evaluate the solution

Compare the solution against the criteria and constr­aints.
Define how tot modify the solution for different or better results.