Decision Making 
- Decisions, decisions… 
- Defining the Problem
- Decisions – Gathering information 
- Decisions – Identify Limiting Factors and Constraints 
- Decisions – Analyzing Possible Solutions 
- Decisions – Making the Call 
- Decision Making – Bad Call! 
- Decisions – Your Need for Cognitive Closure 
- Decisionmaking and the Grocery Checkout Line 
You cannot decide what to do next until you know what or where there is a problem or opportunity for progress. Identifying these is the first step.
Problems and issues that come up are easy to identify. They present themselves every day and just need to be addressed. But what exactly are you looking for? Here is a way of narrowing the search for the real problem.
I look in five areas for my troubleshooting: (taken from my BAD CAD series)
The Files – This is the first place I look. Most often the file or an object in the file is corrupt. I need to find out if the problem is resident in the files as they were created, edited, plotted, etc. I look here first and spread my investigation to the following areas in order
The Machine – Next I look to the persons PC. Does the problem only happen on one machine? Is it a machine or system variable that is set incorrectly? Is it hardware troubles?
The User – I always talk to the user to find out what has happened, what happened before it broke and how they got to where they are. It is quite often a mistake, a misunderstood tool or a bad click that got them here.
The Server – Sometimes the network or server hardware acts up. Don’t forget to look here.
The Software – There are always “bugs” in the software. A tool that is not yet mature, not designed to be used in the way it is used or just not programmed correctly.
If it is not an obvious problem but rather a decision related to what might be done next, read my series on Strategic Planning .