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Defining a Problem Practice Exercises

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Updated on Sep 19, 2011

Review the lesson for Defining a Problem Study Guide.

Defining a Problem Practice Exercises

Practice Exercise

What is the actual problem, and what is the perceived problem here?

The owner of an office building decides to add ten floors to increase the number of tenants. When construction is complete, the original tenants begin to complain about how slowly the elevators are running. The owner calls an elevator company, explains the situation, and asks them to install a faster elevator. He is told that there is no faster elevator, and that the problem is not the speed of the elevator, but

Answer

The real problem is that the tenants must wait longer for the elevator because there are more of them using it and the elevator must travel to more floors than before. The tenants' perceived problem is the new slower speed of the elevator. In reality, the elevator is moving at exactly the same speed as before.

Practice Exercise

What is the real problem, and what are the offshoots of that problem?

  1. There is a leak in the roof.
  2. A heavy tree branch fell on the house during a storm.
  3. A large, dead oak tree is located next to the house.
  4. The bedroom floor has water damage.

Answer

The dead tree, choice c, is the real problem. If it is not removed, the homeowner can repair the floor, the roof, and remove the branch but the next time there's a storm, another branch could break off and he'd end up with the same problem.

Practice Exercise

What is the actual problem in this situation?

While on vacation, Ryan withdrew money from his checking account using his debit card. The account balance went to $0, but the check he wrote for the water bill before he left came into the bank for payment. Although he has overdraft protection, the bank charged him a fee for insufficient funds, and returned the check to the water company, which is also charging a returned check fee.

Identify the real problem from the following choices:

  1. He owes money to the bank and the water company.
  2. The bank made a mistake by not covering the check.
  3. Ryan's vacation cost more than he budgeted for.
  4. Ryan does not have enough money in his checking account.

Answer

The real problem is choice b. The bank should have used the line of credit Ryan set up in advance as overdraft protection to cover the check. He needs to alert the bank of the error and have someone contact the phone company about the erroneously returned check.

Practice Exercise

Write (A) for each assumption. If it is not an assumption, leave it blank.

  1. I've never made pizza from scratch before, but I think it should be simple to make.
  2. George said he's looking for a second job because he needs more money.
  3. The secondhand smoke in the air makes it hard for some people to breathe.
  4. The others on this art project aren't doing a good job because they don't want to work with me.
  5. Meg couldn't bake cookies for the party because her oven was broken.

Answers

  1. (A) It's an assumption that making pizza from scratch is easy; it could be hard.
  2. Not an assumption, George explained why he's taking a second job.
  3. Not an assumption, smoke definitely can make breathing hard for some people.
  4. (A) It's an assumption to think people don't do well because they don't want to work with someone; there could be other reasons, including a lack of talent or commitment!
  5. Not an assumption, Meg couldn't bake without the oven.
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