In this assignment, you will find the answers on all Assessment Criteria’s (AC’s) that listed in the task sheet for Solving problems and making decisions unit and its support document “MARK SHEET”. The main reference to the answers is the course workbook beside internet sources / material.

SANS (Saudi Air Navigation Services) is a service provider company serves the civilian Saudi airspace. Its mission is to provide safe, reliable and cost-efficient services through investing in people, technology and strategic partnership. Its vision is to become a regional ANSP leader by providing world class services. [1]

My career is about design, deploy and maintain the aeronautical communication services between pilots and air traffic controllers kingdom wide with 15 years’ experience in SANS.

As a part of all Qiada (program name) courses main objectives, the below answer will be from my real environment.

In this assignment, I will consider problem solving and Decision making model / steps:

Describe the problem, analyse it, define it, generate possible solutions, select the best and implement.

Section one: Know how to describe a problem, its nature, scope and impact

A.C 1.1: Describe a problem, its nature scope and impact

First of all what is the definition of “problem” word? It is a matter or situation regarded as harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome. Some references called problem as opportunity of enhancement.

In King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) there is a centre called Area control Centre. It is connected via Fiber Optic in order to link air traffic working positions together. In 2011 this fiber has been damaged because of one of airport upgrade project civil works. This situation is considered as major outages because all Air traffic controllers in the tower were isolated from the outside world and they start to use the backup and limited systems as temporary solution as per their contingency plan. This problem is not happened often but when it happened many of consequences are expected and it shall be for as much as we can for the minimum duration. So, the accurate and fastest response is highly requested.

By solving the problem, we are trying to return the provided service normally without any shortages.

The backup solution is not designed to be operated for long time. So, if we lose it while we are trying to solve the primary problem, that mean you will lose the whole Air traffic services for the tower and accordingly you will lose the landing , apron and departure services. Eventually and according to contingency plan you have to re-direct all flights to another neighbour airports for people safety. Beside the stress impact on air traffic controllers.

So, the clear problem statement is “airport air traffic tower service is not available due to network and connection damage”

Section two: Know how to gather and interpret information to solve a problem

AC 2.1: Gather and interpret information to identify possible solutions to a problem

Since we have been informed, the brainstorming and data / information gathering stage have been started in order to ensure finding a proper solution bring the service as normal again.

Summary of collected information:

· Fiber optic is hard to maintain and fix because of his sensitive nature

· There is alternative copper media

· Run a new fiber will cost a lot and consume a time.

· Airport upgrade project works will be for long time relatively that mean the possibility to this issue happened again is high.

· Fiber solutions is better than copper but it more expensive also

· Fiber connections in airport are new and it is not covered underground very well, while the copper connections are very old and never damaged before because its safe underground.

· Wireless links are not recommended for safety purposes

And to analyse the problem, we used fish bone ISHIKAWA famous model with 4 Ms(Method, Machine, Material, Manpower), 4 Ss (Surroundings, Supplier, Systems, Skills) and 4 Ps( People, Place, Procedure, Policies).


Replace the current fiber


run a new Fiber cable in the same duct


Use the copper as alternative media and after make the necessary tests that prove the same quality


Wireless links

After that, we can use a drill down technique to minimise and eliminate the unwanted solution by comparing the collected data and all possible solution and make decisions. Also, the six Hats technique (Edward De Bono) is very helpful in brainstorming and deciding which solution is recommended and which is unwanted. The white one can be used after data/ information gathering and start analysing stage. Compare with histories and anticipate the system outages behaviours. Black hat will help you to see the negative sides for each solution. Green hat helps you to think creatively and outside the box. Blue hat aims to control the process in case of each solution has been selected. The reason behind eliminating the others are related to safety and no grantee to work in very short time.

AC 2.2: Prepare a summary of the options providing facts and evidence

The summary of possible Options:

· Run a new Fiber cable in the same duct.

· Use the copper as alternative media and after making the necessary tests that prove the same quality

The Facts/evidences:

· Contact all suppliers to get a time and money quotations for both solutions to decide later.

· Make test on existing copper media to get the result if it works and pass the same traffic in fiber with the same quality with no shortages. The result is great, but we need to redesign the interfaces from fiber to high speed modems which are available in the local market.

Section three: Know how to evaluate options to make a decision

AC 3.1: Apply a simple decision making technique to evaluate options to arrive at the best solution

There are many techniques, two of them are Grid analysis and decision tree. We applied grid because is more simple and faster.

It is a helpful technique to use in decision making. Especially when you have many alternatives and factors to take into considerations. 1) List your alternatives and factors that are important for making the decision. draw it in table with alternatives as the rows, and factors as columns. 2) scale the importance of the factors in your decision to be used as weight 3) score each alternative for each of the important factors in your decision. 4) calculate by multiplying each of your scores by the values for your relative importance. This will give them the correct overall weight in your decision.  5) add up these weighted scores for your options. The option that scores the highest wins!

I will apply this technique to evaluate the possible solutions as per the following table:

Factors ( Weight )
Options Cost (2) Time(3) Quality (2) Availability/sustainability (3) Total
1) Run a new Fiber 1 3 7 6 2+9+14+18 = 43 out 100
2) Use Copper as alternative 9 5 6 8 9+15+12+18 = 54 out 100

From the previous table , it is clear that the copper solution is winning. But still it is not final solution and we will not go to implementation stage before we compare the results and consequences for each one

The delivered outcome for both solution is the same both aim to return the service to the tower positions but solution no. one is not realistic and expensive.

While solution 2 is cheaper but we need to be careful and make all necessary tests to ensure same traffic quality of transferred data.

Section four: Know how to plan, monitor and review the implementation and communication of decisions.

AC 4.1: Plan the implementation and communication of the decision

After selecting the solution stage, a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timed ) action plan is needed including communication and implementation steps.

The Stakeholders shall be ready specially High Power and High Interest to ensure smooth execution of plans and solution itself.

They are: Maintenance Dept., Logistics and End-users the air traffic controllers

Action Owner Timeline Outcome / deliverable Comments (if applicable)
Contact with the manufacturer for support Engineering dept. 2 days Result Go/No Go Communication plan
Keep the backup systems in scheduled maintenance Maintenance Dept. During all stages Ensure service availability during solution implementation Implementation plan
Coordinate with Logistic and procurements for urgent action to deliver the new Interfaces Engineering and LOG Dept. 3 days The new hardware Interfaces delivery Communication plan
Run the necessary Tests and compare then implement the solution Engineering and Maintenance Depts. 2 days Conduct test and solution itself Implementation plan
Monitoring the results and announce the service back successfully Engineering Dept. and Air traffic controllers “end users” 90 days Feedback and solution evaluation Monitoring & Feedback

AC4.2: Describe which monitoring and review techniques could be used to evaluate outcomes

After finishing solution implementation, the evaluation and feedback stage is started. All stakeholders specially the end-users will help to write a periodic report regarding the performance and availability of service at least for the first 7, 30 , 60 and 90 days after implementation. Monitoring and evaluating traffic light technique is one the famous and easy method. It addressed directly the following questions:

· What should we stop doing?

· What do we need to consider continuing with or perhaps stopping?

· What did we do well that should be imparted to others?

The answers are:

· We need to stop depending on single source for the critical services.

· We need to look and consider from the beginning the redundant design solutions.

· As a lesson learned from this problem, we have to think outside the box and find the alternative and quick solution because of the sensitive environment of work.

References list:


[2] (general guidance for the whole assignment)

Cause: Supplier

Delay to find a proper solution for current fiber media

Cause: Method

Fiber connections are modern and available in the higher layers of underground while the copper is legacy and in lower layers

Cause: Material

Sensitive nature of fiber and hard to fix

Cause: Place

Inside airport field and working time is limited

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