I. Can You Define The Problem?
- Is it a question you must answer?
- Is it an obstacle you must overcome?
- Is it a person you must persuade?
- Is it a decision you must make?
- Is it an opponent you must defeat?
- Is it a goal you must achieve?
- Is it a goal you must set?
- Is it a problem you must define?
- Has the problem been defined for you?
Action: State the problem as factually as possible!
II. Is The Problem Divisible?
- Is the problem really several problems?
- Can you divide the problem by defining the terms?
- Are there any implicit terms to define?
- Can abstract terms be restated in concrete terms?
- Can the problem be solved in steps?
- Are half-way solutions possible?
- Can the problem be substantially solved?
- Is a partial solution better than none?
Action: State the parts of the problem that can be solved separately!
III. Is the Problem Broader Than Stated?
- Is the problem part of a larger one?
- Is it geographically broader?
- Is it an effect of a larger problem?
- Is it only a sign or symptom?
- Can concrete terms be restated in abstract terms?
- Is a general solution possible?
- Is a political solution possible?
- Is a group solution possible?
Action: State the problem in the broadest terms!
IV. Is It Your Problem?
- Was the problem presented to you?
- Do you accept the challenge?
- Should you volunteer to solve the problem?
Action: State your responsibility for solving the problem!
V. Is It Anyone Else's Problem?
- Has it been presented to others?
- Can you delegate the problem?
- Can you delegate part of it?
- Is it partly someone else's problem?
- Who else is affected by the problem?
- Who might be affected by the solution?
- Should you seek the aid of others?
- Should you call an expert?
- Should you call a conference?
- Is it a confidential problem?
Action: State the names and interests of others involved!
VI. Has The Problem Been Solved Before?
- Is the problem similar to past problems?
- What are the similarities?
- What are the dissimilarities?
- Can you research similar past problems?
- Have similar past problems been solved?
Action: State the solution of similar past problems!
VII. Is The Problem A Real Problem?
- Is the problem a test or trap?
- Are you a "guinea pig" or "stalking-horse"?
- Are you "window dressing" or a "rubber stamp"?
- Are you expected to "kill" or "table" it?
- Is performance more important than result?
- What do others gain or lose if you fail?
- Have you been placed on horns of a dilemma?
- Are you being set up for a later problem?
- What do you gain or lose if you fail?
- Is an apparent solution sufficient for you?
Action: State what your problem really is!
VIII. How Will Time Affect The Problem?
- Will the problem grow worse in time?
- Will the problem disappear in time?
- Is there a deadline for the solution?
- Can the deadline be postponed?
- Can part of the solution be postponed?
- Must preliminary steps be taken?
- Must the problem be watched for change?
Action: State how time affects the problem!
IX. Is Additional Information Necessary?
- What facts are vital to a solution?
- Can you verify the vital facts?
- Which facts are really only assumptions?
- Can you test your assumptions?
- Are the sources of information reliable?
- Were they always reliable in the past?
Action: State what additional information is necessary and its probable source!
X. Is The Problem A Contest Or Game?
- Do you have opponents?
- What are your opponents' goals?
- Can your opponents change the problem?
- Can your opponents control your moves?
- Can you change the problem?
- Can you control your opponents' moves?
- What are your opponents' tangible resources?
- What are their intangible resources?
- What are your resources?
- Can your opponents obtain outside assistance?
- Can you obtain outside assistance?
- Is chance or luck an element in winning?
- How would you solve your opponents' problem?
Action: State the probable moves and countermoves of each side!
XI. Can You Restate The Problem?
- Is the problem the same as originally stated?
- Do you really want to solve the problem?
- Is anyone helping you solve it?
- What have you learned from past problems?
- How does the problem affect you in particular?
- Is the problem broader or narrower that originally stated?
- Does the include an element of time?
- Are you seeking additional information?
- Does the problem include anticipating opposition?
Action: State the problem in terms of specific objectives, persons, times, places, and acts!
XII. What Is Your Proposed Solution?
- What must be done?
- Who must do it?
- When must it be done?
- Are alternative or partial solutions possible?
- What can be done if all solutions fail?
- Does the solution require feed-back and progress reports?
Action: State a blueprint and timetable for your solution!
XIII. Is The Proposed Solution Feasible?
- Will the solution create worse problems?
- Will the solution "paint you into a corner"?
- Will the solution "open Pandora's box"?
- Is the solution beyond your financial, moral, or intellectual means?
- Is the solution morally and legally acceptable?
- What sacrifice does the solution require?
Action: State all of the moral, legal, and practical objections to your solution!