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Defining the Problem CIVE 4312 Hanadi Rifai A problem statement should focus on the function(s) to be performed by any viable solution. Example: Designing a better ink pen Need fast-drying ink Need uniform flow Solution: ball-point ink pens! Formulating the Real Problem

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defining the problem

Defining the Problem

CIVE 4312

Hanadi Rifai

slide2

A problem statement should focus on the

  • function(s) to be performed by any
  • viable solution.
  • Example: Designing a better ink pen
  • Need fast-drying ink
  • Need uniform flow
  • Solution: ball-point ink pens!
formulating the real problem
Formulating the Real Problem
  • Engineering is an iterative process, reconsider:
    • Assumptions
    • Decisions
    • Conclusions
  • Initial problem statement may be vague, ill-conceived or incorrect
  • Incorrect problem statement unlikely to lead to optimal solution
methods for problem forumulation
Methods for Problem Forumulation
  • Statement-Restatement Technique
  • Source and Cause – Why-Why Diagrams
  • Revision Method
  • Present State and Desired State – Dunker Diagrams
  • What is wrong with it?
  • Benchmarking and Best Practices
  • Fresh Eye Approach
statement restatement technique
Statement-Restatement Technique
  • Determine the “real” problem
  • Determine the actual constraints
  • Identify meaningful goals
  • Identify inputs, outputs, unknowns
determining real problem
Determining “Real” problem
  • Varying the emphasis on words in problem statement
  • Substituting explicit definitions of terms
  • Changing positive terms to negatives
  • Replacing persuasive and/or implied words with reasoning behind them
determining constraints
Determining Constraints
  • Relax constraints
  • Quantitative not qualitative
  • Eliminate perceived or imagined boundaries
identifying meaningful goals
Identifying Meaningful Goals
  • Qualitative
  • Prioritized
  • Focus on most critical ones
identifying input output unknowns
Identifying Input, Output, Unknowns
  • What is desired output or benefit?
  • What are inputs? people, equipment, money
  • What is unknown?