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Defining the Problem CIVE 4312 Hanadi Rifai A problem statement should focus on the function(s) to be performed by any viable solution. Example: Designing a better ink pen Need fast-drying ink Need uniform flow Solution: ball-point ink pens! Formulating the Real Problem

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## Defining the Problem

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**Defining the Problem**CIVE 4312 Hanadi Rifai**A problem statement should focus on the**• function(s) to be performed by any • viable solution. • Example: Designing a better ink pen • Need fast-drying ink • Need uniform flow • Solution: ball-point ink pens!**Formulating the Real Problem**• Engineering is an iterative process, reconsider: • Assumptions • Decisions • Conclusions • Initial problem statement may be vague, ill-conceived or incorrect • Incorrect problem statement unlikely to lead to optimal solution**Methods for Problem Forumulation**• Statement-Restatement Technique • Source and Cause – Why-Why Diagrams • Revision Method • Present State and Desired State – Dunker Diagrams • What is wrong with it? • Benchmarking and Best Practices • Fresh Eye Approach**Statement-Restatement Technique**• Determine the “real” problem • Determine the actual constraints • Identify meaningful goals • Identify inputs, outputs, unknowns**Determining “Real” problem**• Varying the emphasis on words in problem statement • Substituting explicit definitions of terms • Changing positive terms to negatives • Replacing persuasive and/or implied words with reasoning behind them**Determining Constraints**• Relax constraints • Quantitative not qualitative • Eliminate perceived or imagined boundaries**Identifying Meaningful Goals**• Qualitative • Prioritized • Focus on most critical ones**Identifying Input, Output, Unknowns**• What is desired output or benefit? • What are inputs? people, equipment, money • What is unknown?

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