Kenny Tilton writes a blog that is mostly about LISP programming, but today he posted about database troubleshooting, and he anecdotally illustrates and elaborates on a law of troubleshooting that I strongly agree with: Always solve the first problem. Based on the way this law is named, I suspect it is his own.
In a nutshell, any time there is a multiplicity of problems affecting an endeavour, simplify mercilessly until you have only one problem left. Then solve that one.
The corollary to his law is that “there only is the first problem.” I’m not sure I entirely agree with that one, but I will admit that that corollary is true at least 90% of the time, which is often enough to make it an incredibly useful insight.
Brilliant stuff! Read it.