"Systems Engineering for the rest of us..."

A short tutorial like this is not near enough to be very useful in real business situations. That being said, hopefully you can abstract some value by seeing a pattern of working from the outside in or from the output back to the input.

In order to optimize the damage assessment, a binary search can help. This method tries to bisect the problem and check each half then repeating with each part. This works if the problem can be determined to be before or after the point of inspection.

Suppose there are 10 parts and the seventh one is faulty. Naturally you would have to check seven parts before finding the fault. With a binary search pattern you check part five first. If you can determine that the problem is after 5 then the next guess would be 8. Why? Take the remaining parts 6-10 divide that in half and pick the middle. The final test would be 7. This cuts the search time from 7 to 3.

The problem with this method is the rigor required to pre-analyze the sequence of inspections to determine the order. This is where trouble shooting manuals could be of service but rarely are. They often begin with the most common problems and move to the more obscure. While this helps with the common problems it often leaves you hanging with the more unusual ones.

The diagnostic on this page asks questions. You check the box if you can answer in the affirmative or have acknowledged the answer or performed the indicated processing steps.

Each checked step is marked grey to indicate your progress along the path. You can click a step twice to mark it as not relevant. The troubleshooting chart below includes at some level all processes in a small business.

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