Develop a Problem Solving Protocol

A highly tuned, slick, problem solving protocol will become your most valuable asset and mechanism. You’ll depend on this skill to get you a job and employers will test it. A protocol to solve problems can also prevent you from becoming overwhelmed or lost. There is not one single protocol for all problems, however having a loose idea of steps you need to take in-order to solve a given problem is vital.

Here are some questions you may try to mentally answer as part of a problem solving protocol:

  1. “Do I know what i’m trying to solve? 
  2. “What does ‘solved’ even look like?”
  3. “Can I test my solution/s?”
  4. “Is this really a problem? Or can I reframe the task such that this problem doesn’t exist”
  5. “How likely is it that the solution is going to take a long time to figure out?”
  6. “Is this problem even worth solving?”
  7. “What’s the probability that someone has already solved this?”
  8. “What’s the google query most likely to provide me with a solution?”
  9. “Who can I easily ask, that is most likely to know the optimal solution”
  10. “How big is the possible solution space?”
  11.  “What’s the simplest possible solution?”
  12. “How can I rank possible solutions by which is optimal”
  13. “Which is most likely to be the optimal solution”
  14. “Is this one problem or can I split it up into lots of small solvable problems?”

Practical tip – write down your own current problem solving protocol as a list of questions. Then have a go at using that protocol to solve a problem you currently have. As you develop your problem solving attitude and protocol further, you’ll discover you’re capable of much more than you thought.