KimSia Sim ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ’ป๐Ÿ“—

May 13, 2022

5 Tier Problem Hierarchy

I write software and I sell the software I write. Writing and selling it taught me the importance of being a problem-solver.

One key thing I learn is: not all problems are equal.

Not knowing this fact cost me a lot of time and money in the past. Learn from my mistake.

Now, let's dive in.

Tier 1: Problem Solution are One

Alice: Give me water
You the problem solver: Give Alice water

This is the simplest tier. Just do as requested.

Tier 2: Problem and Solution 

Bob: I am thirsty
You: Give Bob water

Next simplest. Also the tier we mean when we say "problem-and-solution".

It's like hero-vs-villain.

Tier 3: Problem-Diagnosis-Solution: 

Charlie: My car won't start
Diagnosis: This is due to low battery water
You: Give Charlie (battery) water

Now we have three layers in this tier.

The problem presented is merely a symptom. You, the problem-solver, finds the root cause. Then, you provide the solution based on the diagnosis.

Situations like this are why techniques like 5 Whys are invented.

Tier 4: Problem-Diagnosis-Options-Direction-Solution 

Grace: We lack drinking water in this area
Diagnosis: Population has grown too fast
Options: Ration; Buy water; Desalinate
Direction: Adopt all 3 for short, medium, long term
Solution: Have portfolio of options to de-risk

At this tier, you tend to hear the word, "tradeoffs".

There are no easy solutions. Only hard choices.

Tier 5: Problem-Diagnosis-Options-Direction-Design-System: 

It's getting complicated, so let's continue with the last example of lacking drinking water.

We start from the same Direction.

...
Direction: Adopt all 3 for short, medium, long term
Design: This is the desalination plant design
System: The actual plant itself

This is where we need to get our hands dirty with building stuff.

It's also where some of humanity's greatest achievements lie.

Don't Apply Wrong Tier At the Wrong Time

Don't over-complicate when it's just a simple Tier-1 or Tier-2.

Also don't assume it's easy when it's more like a Tier-4 or Tier-5.

Choose wisely.

KimSia Sim ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ’ป๐Ÿ“—

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