Gwen Shapira has written an article about a good example of a non-trivial performance problem.
I’m not talking about anything advanced here (such as bugs or problems arising at OS/Oracle touchpoint) but that sometimes the root cause of a problem (or at least the reason why you notice this problem now) is not something deeply technical or related to some specific SQL optimizer feature or a configuration issue. Instead of focusing on the first symptom you see immediately, it pays off to take a step back and see how the problem task/application/SQL is actually used by the users or client applications.
In other words, talk to the users, ask how exactly they experience the problem and then drill down from there.
NB! After a 1.5 year break, this year’s only Advanced Oracle Troubleshooting training class (updated with Oracle 12c content) takes place on 16-20 November & 14-18 December 2015, so sign up now if you plan to attend this year!