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Are Your Lights On? : How to Figure Out What the Problem Really is

Are Your Lights On? : How to Figure Out What the Problem Really is - 90 edition

ISBN13: 978-0932633163

Cover of Are Your Lights On? : How to Figure Out What the Problem Really is 90 (ISBN 978-0932633163)
ISBN13: 978-0932633163
ISBN10: 0932633161
Cover type:
Edition/Copyright: 90
Publisher: Dorset House Publishing
Published: 1990
International: No

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Are Your Lights On? : How to Figure Out What the Problem Really is - 90 edition

ISBN13: 978-0932633163

Donald C. Gause and Gerald M. Weinberg

ISBN13: 978-0932633163
ISBN10: 0932633161
Cover type:
Edition/Copyright: 90
Publisher: Dorset House Publishing

Published: 1990
International: No
Summary

This powerful little book will make you a more effective problem solver. Anyone involved in product and systems development will appreciate this practical illustrated guide, which was first published in 1982 and has since become a cult classic!

With their characteristic clarity and insight, authors Don Gause and Jerry Weinberg instruct on ways to improve your thinking power.

Just follow this four-step process:

  • identify the true problem
  • determine the problem's owner
  • locate the problem's source
  • decide whether or not to solve it

Designed for anyone in industry or academe, the book conveys a message that will change the way you view the world.

Author Bio

Gause, Donald C. :

Donald C. Gause is a Principal of Savile Row, LLC, as well as Bartle Professor in Systems Science in the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering, SUNY/Binghamton.

Don Gause has worked as an engineer and computer programmer and has managed engineering, programming, and education groups with General Motors and IBM. He has been active as a consultant and professor for the past thirty-one years, and during this time has served as an adjunct member of IBM's Systems Research Institute (SRI), Quality Institute (QI), and Manufacturing Technology Institute (MTI).

He has served as a visiting scholar and has lectured at many universities and institutes around the world, has been an associate editor of the International Journal of Cybernetics and Systems, and has served as a national lecturer for a number of professional societies.

Mr. Gause's consulting and research interests include the management of innovation within large organizations, the design of user-oriented systems, the development and analysis of systems design processes, and the design, modeling, and simulation of complex systems.

He has consulted with many firms, including AT&T, American Cyanamid, AmroBank/Netherlands, Bank of America, Boeing, Booz Allen & Hamilton, Citicorp, Corning Glass, First Chicago, GE, GTE, Grattan Warehouses, Interface GmbH, IBM, ITT, Kaiser Permenente, KnowledgeWare, Lubrizol, Maryland National Bank, Medtronic, Microsoft, Northern Telecom, Moret & Limperg, Procter and Gamble, Ralston Purina, Rabobank/Netherlands, Rockwell International, Rolls Royce, Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, SEMATECH, Softlab GmbH, Urwick Dynamics Ltd., Wells Fargo, and Westinghouse.

Mr. Gause is the author (with Gerald M. Weinberg) of Are Your Lights On? and Exploring Requirements: Quality Before Design.


Weinberg, Gerald M. :

Internationally respected for his innovative thinking on both human and technical issues, GERALD M. WEINBERG focuses on ways to help people improve their productivity. A highly influential author, lecturer, and consultant, he draws on experiences gained in all three roles, as well as from a long technical career as a software developer, researcher, and consultant.

Gerald M. Weinberg has written on topics ranging from computer systems and programming to education and problem solving. He is author or coauthor of sixteen Dorset House books, listed below.


Table of Contents

PART 1: WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
1. A PROBLEM

What is the problem?

Who has a problem?

What is the essence of your problem?


2. PETER PIGEONHOLE PREPARED A PETITION

How can we determine "What is wrong?"

What is wrong?

What can be done about it?


3. WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM?

A problem is a difference between things as desired and things as perceived.

Phantom problems are real problems.


PART 2: WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
4. BILLY BRIGHTEYES BESTS THE BIDDERS

Don't take their solution method for a problem definition.

If you solve their problem too readily they'll never believe you've solved their real problem.


5. BILLY BITES HIS TONGUE

Don't mistake a solution method for a problem definition - especially if it's your own solution method.


6. BILLY BACK TO THE BIDDERS

You can never be too sure you have a correct definition, even after the problem is solved.

Don't leap to conclusions, but don't ignore your first impression.


PART 3: WHAT IS THE PROBLEM REALLY?
7. THE ENDLESS CHAIN

Each solution is the source of the next problem.

The trickiest part of certain problems is just recognizing their existence.

If you can't think of at least three things that might be wrong with your understanding of the problem, you don't understand the problem.


8. MISSING THE MISFIT

Don't leap to conclusions, but don't ignore your first impression.

Test your definition on a foreigner, someone blind, or a child, or make yourself foreign, blind or childlike.

Each new point of view will produce a new misfit.


9. LANDING ON THE LEVEL

How could we change the problem statement to make the solution different?

What am I solving?


10. MIND YOUR MEANING

Once you have a problem statement in words, play with the words until the statement is in everyone's head.


PART 4: WHOSE PROBLEM IS IT?
11. SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES

Whose problem is it?

Don't solve other people's problems when they can solve them perfectly well themselves.

If it's their problem, make it their problem.


12. THE CAMPUS THAT WAS ALL SPACED OUT

Whose problem is it?

If a person is in a position to do something about a problem, but doesn't have the problem, then do something so he does.

Try blaming yourself for a change - even for a moment.


13. THE LIGHTS AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL

Whose problem is it?

If people really have their lights on, a little reminder may be more effective than your complicated solution.


PART 5: WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?
14. JANET JAWORSKI JOGGLES A JERK

Where does this problem come from?


15. MISTER MATCZYSZYN MENDS THE MATTER

Where does this discourtesy come from?


16. MAKE-WORKS AND TAKE CREDITS

Where does the problem come from?

There's two kinds of people in the world...


17. EXAMINATIONS AND OTHER PUZZLES

Where does the problem come from?

Who sent this problem?

What's he trying to do to me?



PART 6: DO WE REALLY WANT TO SOLVE IT?
18. TOM TIRELESS TINKERS WITH TOYS

In spite of appearances, people seldom know what they want until you give them what they ask for.


19. PATIENCE PLAYS POLITICS

Not too many people, in the final analysis, really want their problems solved.


20. A PRIORITY ASSIGNMENT

Do we really want a solution?

We never have enough time consider whether we want it, but we always have enough time to regret it.

The fish is always last to see water.


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