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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 Let’s start with the fact that we have two equations: 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 should be the order? Start with eliminating one? 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. Adjust the steps as you answer your own question.
Some Issues Did we consider a large set of alternatives?  (Design) Fixation Did we critically examine the alternatives? Familiarity Bias Did we capture the real reasons for choice? Local Rationality
Outcomes You should be able to: Work on problems, and simultaneously, reflect on your problem-solving process Capture your problem-solving process externally so that you can examine it from a distance Share the learning that you gain from this experience with others in the team by verbalizing

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Problem Solving Process

  • 1. IST 421 Advanced Enterprise Integration Problem-Solving Processes Sandeep Purao, Ph.D. Associate Professor of IST
  • 2. 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?
  • 3. 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?
  • 4. Solution Process Let’s start with the fact that we have two equations: 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.
  • 5. 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 should be the order? Start with eliminating one? What may happen if we have very many unknowns?
  • 6. 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
  • 7. 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. Adjust the steps as you answer your own question.
  • 8. Some Issues Did we consider a large set of alternatives? (Design) Fixation Did we critically examine the alternatives? Familiarity Bias Did we capture the real reasons for choice? Local Rationality
  • 9. Outcomes You should be able to: Work on problems, and simultaneously, reflect on your problem-solving process Capture your problem-solving process externally so that you can examine it from a distance Share the learning that you gain from this experience with others in the team by verbalizing