From Problem to Solution: A Software Engineer's Workflow

From Problem to Solution: A Software Engineer's Workflow
Photo by charlesdeluvio / Unsplash

A few months ago, I went on a trip. While sitting on the train, I kept thinking, "What if I had a diagram for solving problems in general?"

My career revolves around solving problems on a daily basis, and most of the time, I use a similar process for different problems. Below is a simplified version of the diagram illustrating how I solve my day-to-day problems.

This diagram can be applied in many different ways, even in personal life (though some parts may need modification).

Key Elements:

  • I Have a Problem: Identify a single, specific problem to address, rather than tackling a batch of problems at once.
  • Collect: Gather relevant information and feedback through various means such as calls, chats, emails, or face-to-face conversations. This step is crucial for understanding the problem from different perspectives.
  • Idea Validation Process: Enter what I call the R&D mode. This involves experimenting with different ideas and approaches to find the right combination of solutions. It's a hands-on phase where trial and error play a significant role.
  • Document It: Keep track of your findings and ideas using tools like whiteboards, Notion, or any other documentation method. This helps in ensuring nothing gets forgotten and you have a clear record of the process.
  • Clean Document: This step is about distilling all the noisy data collected into concise, one-liner bullet points. It helps in clarifying the core issues and potential solutions.
  • The Solving Part: Once the right problem is defined, finding solutions becomes more straightforward. Often, problems can be deceiving, and the main challenge is identifying the root cause.


The rest of the solving process becomes easier once the right problem is defined. Solutions are usually quite deterministic once the root cause is identified.

Most of the time, problems can be deceiving, and the key to solving them is finding the root cause.

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