The first step to fixing a problem is identifying it. Most of us may stop there, but as you work to fix your problems, it helps to go back and re-identify what the issue is every so often.
Photo by Vincent Li
As business blog Entrepreneur explains, effective problem solvers don't set the problem itself in stone until it's done. Often, as we work to uncover a solution, we find that the thing we're struggling with isn't what we thought it was. Before you waste too much valuable time and resources, check every so often to make sure your goal is accurate:
People across many fields use these methods, but call them by different names. Designers and engineers who practice human-centered design "research, prototype, test, and iterate" to develop solutions. Entrepreneurs practising the lean startup method use the "build, measure, learn" loop to build their businesses. Programmers practicing agile development use "minimal planning, short feedback loops, and iterative testing and improvement," to deliver software. Project managers talk of the Deming wheel: "plan, do, check, act."
This can apply to something as elaborate as a year-long business plan or a task as simple as driving somewhere new. Anyone who gas ever driven 20km in the wrong direction can confirm that checking to make sure you're on the right track every so often is worth the effort.