Cause, Symptom and the Inverted Pyramid
The pyramid structure has some interesting properties. The foundation requires the most time and effort to construct, but as the pyramid grows, the amount of work decreases until it is complete. The base is, therefore, the most difficult place to start. Even the depth and extent of the pyramid are unknown as they are not visible. In a dark room the walls cannot be seen and so it is critical to determine how large the room is before attempting to move around within it. A sensible approach is frequently the hardest and working towards an easier conclusion is more likely to result in success. Starting with the easy options (the lines of least resistance), ultimate failure is the more likely result as the task grows more difficult as any 'progress' is made.
Clearly, time taken at the start to consider options can suggest nothing is happening, yet any major problem can be avoided by carefully considering the detail. Such early thought can prevent an obstruction to an expected conclusion that will require deconstructing and starting again. Even a minor problem in a large project will grow if not fixed and threaten the entire project.
The worst scenario is a major problem revealing itself towards the end and so preventing a conclusion.
The inverted pyramid quickly becomes unstable and will topple over and all the early effort is wasted by not paying attention to the detail at the beginning.
The concept of construction and deconstruction must be considered as "cause" against "symptom". The growth of an idea depends on a stable platform and the direction is from the bottom and upwards. To deconstruct, the direction is the opposite, starting at the end (top) and working backwards to the beginning (bottom). Retracing steps. Similar in principle to returning to the base camp at the bottom of a mountain that has just been scaled. In any attempt to identify the root cause of a problem, the approach should be similar by beginning at the top and dismantling towards the bottom.This will probably be impossible to complete since an error had caused the problem in the first place.
I write under the pseudonym of Louis Brothnias.
Member of The IsleWriters (Thanet)