# Why Do We Need a Problem Solving Procedure?

You have seen a few thermodynamics problems and the tools used to solve them.
But, the problems in the chapters to come will be larger and more complex.
So, now is a good time to develop a flexible, reliable procedure that we can use to solve involved problems without getting confused or overlooking something important.
Imagine that there are two ways to reach the top of a staircase.
There is the Easy Way and then the Hard Way.

Many engineering problems can be tackled with this stair-step approach. The advantages are :

1. The procedure is flexible enough to be used for a very wide variety of problems.

2. Each step is relatively simple and well-defined.

3. The procedure will reduce the chance that you will overlook an important
aspect of a problem.

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### Ch 4, Lesson D, Page 1 - Why Do We Need a Problem Solving Procedure?

• We have gotten along just fine in this course without a formal problem solving procedure.
• So, why do we need one now ?
• We need a formal procedure because the problems are going to be bigger and more involved.  Not necessarily harder, but definitely bigger and longer.
• Any procedure may seem tedious when applied to small, simple problems, but it will prove its worth later in this course and throughout your engineering career.
• How will it prove its worth ?
• It will help you solve a wide variety of problems by breaking the problem into smaller steps.  Each step will be less intimidating than the whole problem.
• By following along step-by-step, you will be less likely to overlook something important.  In the long run, this will save you time because everyone knows how difficult it can be to find your mistakes once you have made them.
• You are much better off to work carefully and methodically through a problem and to get it right on the first attempt.
• Now, let’s get into the details of our problem solving procedure.