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# Problem Solving Process

## by Sandeep Purao, Researcher, Educator at Penn State University on Oct 18, 2008

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Outlines a simple approach to improving problem-solving, drawing on concepts such as reflection and double-loop learning. Slides used for a course on Enterprise Integration at Penn State, College of ...

Outlines a simple approach to improving problem-solving, drawing on concepts such as reflection and double-loop learning. Slides used for a course on Enterprise Integration at Penn State, College of IST.
Citation: Purao, S. 2010. Problem-solving processes. Presentation to Senior-level class at College of IST, Penn State University.

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## Problem Solving ProcessPresentation Transcript

• IST 421 Advanced Enterprise Integration Problem-Solving Processes Sandeep Purao, Ph.D. Associate Professor of IST
• The Problem
• Seeing problems makes me think, but does not tell me how to solve them.
• Seeing solutions to these problems helps, but it still does not tell me how to solve the problems.
• What can we do?
• An Example
• Consider this problem :
• 3X + 2Y = 40
• 3X + 4Y = 50
• Here is the solution :
• X = 10
• Y = 5
But how did you get it?
• Solution Process
• 3X + 2Y = 40 (I) and 3X + 4Y = 50 (II)
• Let’s subtract equation (I) from equation (II)
• This will result in a new equation:
• 0X + 2Y = 10 (III)
• That tells me that Y = 5
• Substitute this in either of the original equations
• 3X + 10 = 40
• Subtracting 10 from each side yields
• 3X = 30, which in turn yields X = 10
Now I get it.
• Examining the Process
• Issues
• What made you subtract (I) from (II)?
• Why not the other way around? Or even add?
• What is the more general lesson for me here?
• What would happen if I have X, Y and Z?
• Will I need to have three equations to start?
• What may happen if we have very many unknowns?
• Reflecting on what we learned
• Problems we will encounter for organizational + technology concerns
• Are unlikely to have “final” “correct” outcomes
• Are unlikely to have good yardsticks for assessing the “correctness” of outcomes
• Will require some creativity in demonstrating the “quality” of outcomes achieved
• Can, therefore, benefit from examining and reflecting on the “process” of achieving the solutions - as the solution are being developed
• Consider this Problem
• For your project, you need a project management software package.
• Decide which project management software you will use.
• Do this with your neighbor.
• Have one person write steps you are going through.
• Every so often, read the steps
• Ask yourselves whether you are doing this in the right manner.