XY Problem

Lately I have seen alot of questions here that may be asked incorrectly… people ask about how to implement their proposed solution instead of asking about their problem.

The XY Problem is where you are trying to solve problem X , and you think solution Y would work, but instead of asking about X when you run into trouble, you ask about Y.

I would suggest that people read about the XY Problem
here: http://xyproblem.info/
or here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XY_problem


This needs to be a pinned post @josecgomez, @rbucek, @jgiese.wci!


maybe we also need to pin some flagrant examples (names removed to protect the innocent) of a bad XY Problem post…

One question I remember from my past:
X Question: How do I correct the cost on a part that has a zero cost.
Correct Y Question: How do I prevent POs from being received when the PO has no unit cost.

That’s maybe not the best example, because while implementing Y, you still have to cleanup the mess so you need to do X as a one time fix, (if you correctly fixed Y)

But I do agree, we’ve had some extremely poor questions posed lately. And I like the idea of being more open minded in the solutions arena, rather than being fixated a single solution. Good stuff!

yea… I have been trying to not show any recent examples in my comment… hard to think of one when trying to ignore the obvious ones. But, my example was real… the customer was basically trying to make it easier to fix a problem after the fact, instead of trying to plug the hole.

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A perfect example of when providing a little more context completely changes the response.

My current favorite Y Problem this time of the year:

“I need a list of items and their values shipped by state”

This can be a complicated problem with drop-shipments, one-time only shipments, complicated business arrangements, etc.

The X problem: For Tax reasons, I have to report business with specified government agencies. These can be States or Countries and the sales has to be reported regardless if any tax is due. So far, the easiest solution I have found is to use what Epicor already supplies: Sales Tax reporting. You set up codes for the various reporting agencies (with zero rate if necessary), assign them at Order time (maybe using defaults on ship to records to help) and then run the standard Epicor Sales Tax report. Done.

It’s the one solution that handles situations like:

“Ship the product to the integrator in State A and they will ship the solution to customer in State B”

“Ship product to Port Forwarder in State A but report the sales in country B”

which are not picked up correctly in a BAQ of packing slips.

Mark W.