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Chapter 16. Problem Recognition > Opening Discussion— A Good Place to Start

Opening Discussion— A Good Place to Start

Problem recognition often starts with a discussion to gather perceived symptoms from those involved. An iceberg may look different when viewed from different angles. Open-minded listening and genuine empathy are required to objectively assess other viewpoints. The objective is to get as much related information as possible “on the table.”

During an opening discussion, impressions of the problem may change. What may seem like a technical problem may turn out to be a personality conflict between programmers who don’t share information with each other. Studying the human factors (soft symptoms) involved is important to really understand the problem. These include: feelings, divergent opinions, frustrations, personal reactions and hearsay. These are not hard scientific data (hard symptoms), but valuable nonetheless. During the opening discussion, you should discover all of the problem’s effects and consequences, both hard and soft symptoms and uncover all initial viewpoints of the situation.


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