How to Think Through Problems Efficiently

Uncategorized / March 28, 2017

During the course of our careers and time in maintenance we tend to encounter problems, some are the run of the mill easy to diagnose issues. However, there are days when norm never happens and we are forced to dig deep into our troubleshooting tool box. The trick now becomes, how do we go about fixing this unique problem? What fault tree, if any, do we follow, and where should we really start?

These questions need to become a systematic approach that is formulated from experience and guided by the information provided by engineers, but the most important aspect is making sure the right people can contribute to the team to fix the issue. To start, assemble the team of people that are best suited for the task; it’s not about the number of people but the quality and impact they will have. Just because you have 8 people doesn’t mean they are the right 8 to help solve the problem, once you have those that have been in the team, add one, very knowledgeable¬†but outside person to add that outside insight.

Next, as a team, gather all of the information about the issue at hand and all the accompanying diagrams or operational information of the failed area. Having the most information at hand and a productive formulation of a plan prior to even physically touching the issue will greatly increase the success of fixing the issue. The old ad doge, “Work smarter, Not harder”, plays a big role. It is not efficient to simply jump to a¬†conclusion on any issues at hand, no matter how run of the mill it might seem as this can lead to rework and other issues that compound on to themselves.

In summation, get a plan before any work really starts, despite the rush from those above, take your time and gather everything possible to effectively and absolutely solve the issue and not do a band-aide fix for something that needs a tourniquet. Use the right people and disregard simply using everyone available, and proper teamwork to efficiently put the plan into motion. If the problem seems to get the team further and further into the weeds and no clear fix has been seen. It is time to stop go back over the initial plan and make necessary changes, do not simply keep going as now troubleshooting becomes chasing. This is why a clear plan is so important as its easy to see where on the pipeline a split can be made to actually fix an issue.

Be Clear, Be Concise, Be willing to make adjustments when needed.

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