7 Most Effective Ways to Solve an Incident

Discover the Cause of an Incident before You Offer a Solution.

How many times have you offered a solution without understating the incident and what caused it? If that has happened to you before, you are not alone; it has occurred to me on several occasions.


Photo by Hans-Peter Gauster on Unsplash

As a desktop support technician, I was called to solve a printer incident. I started to mess around with the configuration that did not address the issue. Eventually, I discovered that it was a cable issue.

In any case, if I had spent a little time troubleshooting, I would have solved the incident efficiently. It doesn’t have to be that hard. Before you offer a solution, there are ways to understand the event and its causes.

Define the Incident

What would you do if you came home and discovered your basement was flooded? Ideally, one would automatically think of getting rid of the water. Without knowing the cause, we may not get the right resolution.

First, before you offer a solution, pinpoint the real issue. Pointing the real problem is the start point and is crucial. If you understand the concern and what caused it, you’ll be able to provide the right solution.

Discover the Cause of the Incident

Regrettably, we are wired to offer a solution right after discovering the issue. This act may work in some cases, but may not work in others. It could give a temporary answer, not a permanent one.

So what should you do before offering a solution? Second, discover what caused the incident. Solving an issue without finding the cause may not permanently resolve it. Determining the cause can also help in prevention.

List all That has been Affected by the Incident

Also, the chances are that this incident may have affected other surroundings. It may not be an immediate effect but could be in the near future. Some effects may not be discovered immediately but could cause damages in the future.

Third, assess the situation and list all that is affected by the incident. As I mentioned, some effects may not show immediately. Make your assessment and list all possible effects that may present themselves.

What is Your Possible Solution for the Incident?

Sometimes, it is hard to know what solution will work for a specific incident. Do yourself a favor and dig deep into finding all the answers that may apply to the event. The most important thing is that you see them all.

Fourth, now that we have known the incident, cause, what is affected, it is time to list possible solutions. List all possible solutions starting from small to big. Even the ones that sound silly list them all.

Categorize and Prioritize the Solutions


Photo by Vadim Sherbakov on Unsplash

You’ll be surprised to notice that you have more solutions than what you imagined. They may all be necessary for solving the situation. Now, take it to the next level of sorting the answers.

Fifth, depending on the situation, categorize the possible solutions you have generated. Once you classify them, you can now prioritize them. Start with urgent corrective action to the low importance ones.

Time to Take Action

It wouldn’t make any good if you list all the solutions and never take action. Sometimes, we generate many possible solutions but fail to execute any. We keep searching for the perfect one.

Sixth, once we have one, we must take action. Perfection may not be an option; we just need to find a workable solution.  Apply the high priority solution and follow through with the rest. 

Document the Solution and Steps You Took

Seventh, to avoid wasted time in the future, capture all that you have done in a document. It will help to speed the process if the same incident happens again. Be precise with your documentation.

Do not write down details of all the steps; they may differ depending on the situation. Only capture high-level information of critical incidents not any incident.  Once done, save it where it is accessible to other team members.

Question: What else would you do to solve an incident?

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