i am a maintenance electrician in an industrial setting. what that
means is that process operators call me when their automated equipment
is not working, and i troubleshoot it and get it back online. for each
call that i go to, i apply the same formula for solving the problem:
1. verify that there is actually a problem. sometimes nothing is broken, and in fact the problem is operator error.
2. isolate the problem. sometimes the symptoms of a problem aren't very helpful in identifying the cause. and sometimes the root of a problem
can be 5 steps up or down the line from where the problem becomes
apparent. sometimes figuring out what ISN'T broken is what leads to to
what IS broken.
3. make the repair.
4. test the repair and verify that everything is working. make adjustments when necessary. sometimes this can be very time consuming.
5. put the equipment back into service.
i find this thought process to be pretty effective. i think it could be useful in solving many of the worlds problems, or at least in
identifying the root cause of them.
so i am going to play the role of the operator, and you guys come and fix my machine.
i operate a country in africa, and my country is broken. the symptoms of my problems are widespread famine and sickness. please come and figure
this out for me!
*ps, your operator is typically your best resource in helping you isolate the problem. ask lots of questions.
please treat this like a real exercise. make suggestions, and ask me questions about what is going on. i will come back with very realistic hypothetical scenarios, and all of you will have to work around the problems to figure this out. i am going to try to make this as hard as possible!!!!!!!!!