The key to solving problems is defining the problem and collating the information relating to it.
Initially, try to identify all information without trying to determine too early what the solution might be or what sources are irrelevant. It is impossible to know what is essential before assessing all sources.
UML and mindmapping are useful because both allow simple associations between components of a problem.
Below is a model which recommends storing problems and potential solutions in a database. We recommend Evernote as a business memory which allows free-form expression of a problem. It also provides the easy creation of links to other sources of related information.
Mindmapping in problem solving
Mindmapping is most useful in problem-solving because it encourages focusing on a domain. A mindmap can thus help identify valuable sources of information or solutions by lateral, open thinking.
This is an example form from a legacy issues management database to set up as a template in Evernote.
- Identifies a problem by its symptoms
- Distinguishes cause from symptom
- Encourages looking for solutions rather than focus exclusively on the problem
- Invites you to search for useful external resources.