The Five Steps of Problem Solving

There are five basic steps that are involved in the problem solving process:

  1. Knowledge
  2. Observation
  3. Deduction
  4. Action
  5. Testing

You probably already follow these steps when you troubleshoot a problem but do not even realize it. If you follow these steps each time you engage in solving a problem you should be successful most of the time. These steps are universal and apply to solving most any type of problem, not just problems with computers or Linux.

I used these steps for years in solving electronic and computer problems without realizing it. Having them codified for me made me much more effective at solving problems because when I became stuck, I could review the steps I had taken, verify where I was in the process and restart at an appropriate step if necessary.

You may have heard a couple other terms applied to problem solving in the past. The first three steps of this process are also known as problem determination, that is, finding the cause of the problem. The last two steps are problem resolution which is actually fixing the problem.

The next sections cover each of these five steps in more detail.

Leave a Reply