Sunday, 16 April 2017

Thought processes & problem solving

I finally discovered how to utilise pivot tables for data analysis. It looks cheem to me when I first looked it up (I only know pie charts and line graphs for the sake of presentations), until I discovered the 'woah' moment with trial-and-error and things suddenly fall into place like magic. 
Not without some data chewing that was quite frustrating initially as I have 800+ lines of data with assorted information such as timing, category etc.

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When it comes to problem solving, many times we tend to fall into the trap of focusing on 'What I can do?' instead of "What is the ideal solution to this?". If there is more than one possible solutions, choose the best one. The best pick should be the ideal solution to the problem, although that may not necessarily be the most achievable. 

With that in mind, we proceed to brainstorm on 'HOW to achieve it'. During which we can list down all the possible methods and pathways.



When problem solving starts with "What can I do?" before everything else, we set a limit on the possibilities based on our current ability. It is like looking through a peep hole instead of opening a door to the solution. When an action is taken it may lead to taking a roundabout path, winding around with no end point in sight or circling on the same spot. At times, it will make us want to 'escape the problem' because 'I just can't do anything about it'.


So instead of 1, 2, 3 in the above flowchart, it became 1, 3, stuck.

We need to keep our focus on the solution / outcome and be as specific as possible.

The complete cycle of problem solving in a clear picture:
Source: http://www.humorthatworks.com/learning/5-steps-of-problem-solving/


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Back to my problem. I have to first see what are the data I have on hand and which part of it to analysis so that I can draw a conclusion for my boss on this question xxx. 
In order to analyse it, how should I organise the data. Then I ask what is the most efficient method to display the results and give the answer.

The formula - no need formula. Just pivot table.

Actually that is not the end to the problem, it's only the end to my data analysis problem. 

Back to the problem solving cycle. 😫

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