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Troubleshooting

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Explains what troubleshooting is, what skills are involved, and clears up some common misconceptions. Originally designed with IT Helpdesks in mind, but it could apply to any kind of troubleshooting.

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Troubleshooting

  1. 1. Troubleshooting
  2. 2. <ul><li>“ If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” </li></ul><ul><li>- Bernard Baruch </li></ul>
  3. 3. What is troubleshooting?
  4. 4. Example of a problem solving workflow Identify the problem Find the faulty component Correct the problem Verify the correction Prevent recurrence
  5. 5. Which of these is trouble-shooting ? Example of a problem solving workflow Identify the problem Find the faulty component Correct the problem Verify the correction Prevent recurrence
  6. 6. Which of these is trouble-shooting ? Example of a problem solving workflow Identify the problem Correct the problem Verify the correction Prevent recurrence Find the faulty component
  7. 7. Example of a problem solving workflow This is where we spend most of our time. Identify the problem Find the faulty component Correct the problem Verify the correction Prevent recurrence
  8. 8. Example of a problem solving workflow (This bit is easy when we know what to fix!) This is where we spend most of our time. Identify the problem Find the faulty component Correct the problem Verify the correction Prevent recurrence Find the faulty component
  9. 9. For the purpose of this discussion, troubleshooting is finding the faulty component
  10. 10. Misconceptions
  11. 11. <ul><li>...also known as... </li></ul>
  12. 13. <ul><li>Some people believe this is troubleshooting: </li></ul>
  13. 14. Keywords: Search Search
  14. 15. Keywords: Error 4096 Search Search
  15. 16. Keywords: Error 4096 Search How to resolve error 4096 How to resolve error 14096 How to resolve error 40962 Search
  16. 17. Keywords: Error 4096 Search How to resolve error 4096 How to resolve error 14096 How to resolve error 40962 Search
  17. 18. Keywords: Error 4096 Search How to resolve error 4096 How to resolve error 14096 How to resolve error 40962 Search
  18. 19. <ul><li>This is not troubleshooting! </li></ul>Keywords: Error 4096 Search How to resolve error 4096 How to resolve error 14096 How to resolve error 40962 Search
  19. 20. <ul><li>Looking for known errors in a database or library is known as incident matching </li></ul>
  20. 21. <ul><li>Looking for known errors in a database or library is known as incident matching </li></ul><ul><li>This can be a useful tool for problem solving, but real troubleshooting requires us to think independently , not just follow instructions </li></ul>
  21. 22. <ul><li>Some people believe this is troubleshooting: </li></ul>
  22. 23. First I tried adjusting the attenuator
  23. 24. First I tried adjusting the attenuator Then I booted the backup system
  24. 25. First I tried adjusting the attenuator Then I booted the backup system Then I calibrated the connection
  25. 26. First I tried adjusting the attenuator Then I booted the backup system Then I calibrated the connection Hang on a sec, are you just working through these in alphabetical order?
  26. 27. Yeah, that’s what I always do when I don’t know the answer.. .
  27. 28. Yeah, that’s what I always do when I don’t know the answer ... ...usually one of the things on my list fixes it eventually
  28. 29. Yeah, that’s what I always do when I don’t know the answer... ...usually one of the things on my list fixes it eventually Hmm, maybe... if you don’t break something first...
  29. 30. <ul><li>Working through a set of possible ‘fixes’ without trying to understand the problem is not troubleshooting </li></ul>
  30. 31. <ul><li>Real troubleshooting requires us to think in a methodical way </li></ul><ul><li>and choose the best action based on the information we have </li></ul>
  31. 32. Does everyone know how to troubleshoot?
  32. 33. Yes!
  33. 35. Hi, Grandma , how are you?
  34. 36. Hi, Grandma , how are you? Very well thank you, I’ve just been thinking about buying a new toaster !
  35. 37. A new toaster? What happened to the old one?
  36. 38. A new toaster? What happened to the old one? Well, I went to use it this morning, and it was broken .
  37. 39. A new toaster? What happened to the old one? Well, I went to use it this morning, and it was broken . I put my bread in, pushed down the handle and nothing happened !
  38. 40. Are you sure it’s the toaster that’s broken ?
  39. 41. Are you sure it’s the toaster that’s broken ? I tried it in another socket so I know it isn’t the electrical socket that’s the problem.
  40. 42. Are you sure it’s the toaster that’s broken ? I tried it in another socket so I know it isn’t the electrical socket that’s the problem. I even plugged in the blender just to make sure, and that was fine ...
  41. 43. What about the fuse in the plug? Did you check that?
  42. 44. What about the fuse in the plug? Did you check that? Yes, I tried that too. I even changed the plug so I’m quite sure it’s the toaster.
  43. 45. It sounds like you thought of everything already...
  44. 46. It sounds like you thought of everything already... Yes, except opening up the toaster and messing around inside – but I’m no electronics expert !
  45. 47. Grandma used her innate troubleshooting skills to eliminate
  46. 48. Grandma used her innate troubleshooting skills to eliminate <ul><li>the socket </li></ul>
  47. 49. Grandma used her innate troubleshooting skills to eliminate <ul><li>the socket </li></ul><ul><li>the power supply </li></ul>
  48. 50. Grandma used her innate troubleshooting skills to eliminate <ul><li>the socket </li></ul><ul><li>the power supply </li></ul><ul><li>the fuse </li></ul>
  49. 51. Grandma used her innate troubleshooting skills to eliminate <ul><li>the socket </li></ul><ul><li>the power supply </li></ul><ul><li>the fuse </li></ul><ul><li>the plug </li></ul>
  50. 52. Because we do this naturally, it isn’t always obvious what we’re doing ... ...so let’s break it down
  51. 53. Here’s what we do:
  52. 54. Here’s what we do: Gather information
  53. 55. Here’s what we do: Gather information Process results
  54. 56. Here’s what we do: Gather information Process results Narrow down possible causes
  55. 57. Here’s what we do: Gather information Process results Narrow down possible causes Suggest action plan
  56. 58. Here’s what we do: Gather information Process results Narrow down possible causes Suggest action plan Carry out action plan
  57. 59. ...I pushed down the handle and nothing happened ... ... I tried it in another socket... ... I even plugged in the blender , and that was fine ... Here’s what we do: Gather information Process results Narrow down possible causes Suggest action plan Carry out action plan
  58. 60. Here’s what we do: If the blender works in the same socket it can’t be the socket, and the power supply must be OK... Gather information Process results Narrow down possible causes Suggest action plan Carry out action plan
  59. 61. What about the fuse in the plug? Did you check that? Here’s what we do: Gather information Process results Narrow down possible causes Suggest action plan Carry out action plan
  60. 62. I tried that too. I even changed the plug so I’m pretty sure it’s the toaster. Here’s what we do: Gather information Process results Narrow down possible causes Suggest action plan Carry out action plan
  61. 63. So how come some people are better at troubleshooting than others?
  62. 64. Knowledge and Skills
  63. 65. The following table shows our five troubleshooting steps
  64. 66. The following table shows our five troubleshooting steps
  65. 67. The following table shows our five troubleshooting steps with the knowledge and skills required for each
  66. 68. Gather information
  67. 69. Gather information Process results
  68. 70. Gather information Process results Narrow down possible causes
  69. 71. Gather information Process results Narrow down possible causes Suggest action plan
  70. 72. Gather information Process results Narrow down possible causes Suggest action plan Carry out action plan
  71. 73. <ul><li>Communication skills </li></ul>Gather information Process results Narrow down possible causes Suggest action plan Carry out action plan Gather information Communication skills are important so we can ask questions in the right way to get the information we need
  72. 74. <ul><li>Communication skills </li></ul><ul><li>Operational knowledge </li></ul>Gather information Process results Narrow down possible causes Suggest action plan Carry out action plan Gather information Operational knowledge is required so we know what questions to ask . (If you’d never made toast before, Grandma might find it frustrating to explain what was wrong in a way you could understand!)
  73. 75. <ul><li>Communication skills </li></ul><ul><li>Operational knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical skills </li></ul>Gather information Process results Narrow down possible causes Suggest action plan Carry out action plan Process results Analytical skills are required to make sense of the information we’ve gathered
  74. 76. <ul><li>Communication skills </li></ul><ul><li>Operational knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical skills </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge of components and dependencies </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical skills </li></ul>Gather information Process results Narrow down possible causes Suggest action plan Carry out action plan Narrow down possible causes Knowledge of components and dependencies (knowing how electricity gets to the toaster ) allowed us to apply our analytical skills to eliminate the socket and power supply
  75. 77. <ul><li>Communication skills </li></ul><ul><li>Operational knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical skills </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge of components and dependencies </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical skills </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical skills </li></ul>Gather information Process results Narrow down possible causes Suggest action plan Carry out action plan Suggest action plan We need Analytical skills to evaluate possibilities for our next action
  76. 78. <ul><li>Communication skills </li></ul><ul><li>Operational knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical skills </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge of components and dependencies </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical skills </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical skills </li></ul><ul><li>Decision-making skills </li></ul>Gather information Process results Narrow down possible causes Suggest action plan Carry out action plan Suggest action plan Decision-making skills help us choose the best action plan. For instance, Grandma decided she should buy a new toaster rather than try to find an electronics expert to work on the old one.
  77. 79. <ul><li>Communication skills </li></ul><ul><li>Operational knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical skills </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge of components and dependencies </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical skills </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical skills </li></ul><ul><li>Decision-making skills </li></ul><ul><li>Operational knowledge </li></ul>Gather information Process results Narrow down possible causes Suggest action plan Carry out action plan Carry out action plan Without Operational knowledge we wouldn’t be able to try out our action plan, or give instructions to someone else
  78. 80. And now for something a little more challenging...
  79. 83. <ul><li>This is Captain Taylor on flight 129 to Dubai. I’m unable to complete my pre-flight checks because indicator GU29D is showing a fault. </li></ul>
  80. 84. <ul><li>This is Captain Taylor on flight 129 to Dubai. I’m unable to complete my pre-flight checks because indicator GU29D is showing a fault. </li></ul>Can we help?
  81. 85. Maybe we could if we knew...
  82. 86. <ul><li>How to fly an aircraft </li></ul>Maybe we could if we knew...
  83. 87. <ul><li>How to fly an aircraft </li></ul><ul><li>(so we can ask intelligent questions) </li></ul>Maybe we could if we knew...
  84. 88. <ul><li>How to fly an aircraft </li></ul><ul><li>(so we can ask intelligent questions) </li></ul><ul><li>What indicator GU29D means </li></ul>Maybe we could if we knew...
  85. 89. <ul><li>How to fly an aircraft </li></ul><ul><li>(so we can ask intelligent questions) </li></ul><ul><li>What indicator GU29D means </li></ul><ul><li>How the aircraft works </li></ul>Maybe we could if we knew...
  86. 90. <ul><li>How to fly an aircraft </li></ul><ul><li>(so we can ask intelligent questions) </li></ul><ul><li>What indicator GU29D means </li></ul><ul><li>How the aircraft works </li></ul><ul><li>(so we know what parts we might need to check or fix when we get a GU29D fault) </li></ul>Maybe we could if we knew...
  87. 91. <ul><li>How to fly an aircraft </li></ul><ul><li>(so we can ask intelligent questions) </li></ul><ul><li>What indicator GU29D means </li></ul><ul><li>How the aircraft works </li></ul><ul><li>(so we know what parts we might need to check or fix when we get a GU29D fault) </li></ul><ul><li>How to maintain the aircraft </li></ul>Maybe we could if we knew...
  88. 92. <ul><li>How to fly an aircraft </li></ul><ul><li>(so we can ask intelligent questions) </li></ul><ul><li>What indicator GU29D means </li></ul><ul><li>How the aircraft works </li></ul><ul><li>(so we know what parts we might need to check or fix when we get a GU29D fault) </li></ul><ul><li>How to maintain the aircraft </li></ul><ul><li>(so we can advise the ground crew) </li></ul>Maybe we could if we knew...
  89. 93. In other words we need...
  90. 94. Operational knowledge
  91. 95. Operational knowledge <ul><li>How to fly an aircraft </li></ul>
  92. 96. Operational knowledge <ul><li>How to fly an aircraft </li></ul><ul><li>How to maintain the aircraft </li></ul>
  93. 97. Knowledge of components and dependencies
  94. 98. Knowledge of components and dependencies <ul><li>What indicator GU29D means </li></ul>
  95. 99. Knowledge of components and dependencies <ul><li>What indicator GU29D means </li></ul><ul><li>How the aircraft works </li></ul>
  96. 100. ...but if we look back at our list...
  97. 101. <ul><li>Communication skills </li></ul><ul><li>Operational knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical skills </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge of components and dependencies </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical skills </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical skills </li></ul><ul><li>Decision-making skills </li></ul><ul><li>Operational knowledge </li></ul>Gather information Process results Narrow down possible causes Suggest action plan Carry out action plan
  98. 102. <ul><li>Communication skills </li></ul><ul><li>Operational knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical skills </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge of components and dependencies </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical skills </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical skills </li></ul><ul><li>Decision-making skills </li></ul><ul><li>Operational knowledge </li></ul>Gather information Process results Narrow down possible causes Suggest action plan Carry out action plan Most of us don’t have the required knowledge to troubleshoot an aircraft
  99. 103. <ul><li>Communication skills </li></ul><ul><li>Operational knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical skills </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge of components and dependencies </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical skills </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical skills </li></ul><ul><li>Decision-making skills </li></ul><ul><li>Operational knowledge </li></ul>Gather information Process results Narrow down possible causes Suggest action plan Carry out action plan Most of us don’t have the required knowledge to troubleshoot an aircraft But the skills required are the same ones we use every day
  100. 104. <ul><li>To troubleshoot a system, whether it’s a toaster or an aircraft , you need some knowledge of that system... </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  101. 105. <ul><li>To troubleshoot a system, whether it’s a toaster or an aircraft , you need some knowledge of that system... </li></ul><ul><li>...b ut the skills you need are the same ones Grandma has! </li></ul>
  102. 106. Components and dependencies
  103. 107. Here are some simple components Grandma knows are involved in making her toaster work
  104. 108. Components Toaster Electricity Fuse Plug Socket
  105. 109. She also knows some dependencies between the components which allow her to narrow down where the fault might be
  106. 110. Dependencies
  107. 111. Dependencies Toaster The toaster ...
  108. 112. Dependencies Toaster Socket Depends on The toaster ... ...needs a working socket
  109. 113. Dependencies Toaster Electricity Socket Depends on Depends on The toaster ... ...needs a working socket , which needs a working electricity supply
  110. 114. Dependencies Toaster Electricity Socket Plug Depends on Depends on Depends on The toaster ... ...needs a working socket , which needs a working electricity supply ...and needs a working plug
  111. 115. Dependencies Toaster Fuse Electricity Socket Plug Depends on Depends on Depends on Depends on The toaster ... ...needs a working socket , which needs a working electricity supply ...and needs a working plug , which needs a working fuse
  112. 116. A dependency diagram for a complex system might look more like this:
  113. 117. Duct tape TG19J Widget connector GU29D Regulating grommet C3P0 RP14B FS44X Cabling PT45J Flux capacitor Quantum rheostat WD40 Low-pressure release valve Thermal oscillator Oscillatory connector R-19 Thermal duct regulator (this isn’t a real one)
  114. 118. In summary
  115. 119. <ul><li>Trying ‘known fixes’ </li></ul><ul><li>with no logical thought about </li></ul>
  116. 120. <ul><li>Trying ‘known fixes’ </li></ul><ul><li>with no logical thought about </li></ul><ul><li>context </li></ul>
  117. 121. <ul><li>Trying ‘known fixes’ </li></ul><ul><li>with no logical thought about </li></ul><ul><li>context </li></ul><ul><li>relevance </li></ul>
  118. 122. <ul><li>Trying ‘known fixes’ </li></ul><ul><li>with no logical thought about </li></ul><ul><li>context </li></ul><ul><li>relevance </li></ul><ul><li>impact </li></ul>
  119. 123. <ul><li>Trying ‘known fixes’ </li></ul><ul><li>with no logical thought about </li></ul><ul><li>is not troubleshooting </li></ul><ul><li>and is likely to do more harm than good </li></ul><ul><li>context </li></ul><ul><li>relevance </li></ul><ul><li>impact </li></ul>
  120. 124. <ul><li>Following given instructions </li></ul><ul><li>to resolve known errors </li></ul><ul><li>has its place </li></ul>
  121. 125. <ul><li>Following given instructions </li></ul><ul><li>to resolve known errors </li></ul><ul><li>has its place </li></ul><ul><li>But this is known as incident matching </li></ul><ul><li>and should not be mistaken for </li></ul><ul><li>troubleshooting </li></ul>
  122. 126. <ul><li>When supporting any system , </li></ul><ul><li>some form of </li></ul><ul><li>operational knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>(how to use the system, for instance) </li></ul><ul><li>is necessary to communicate effectively </li></ul><ul><li>about problems and their solutions </li></ul>
  123. 127. <ul><li>...but when we have some knowledge of </li></ul><ul><li>components and dependencies </li></ul><ul><li>of a system we can begin to </li></ul><ul><li>troubleshoot effectively </li></ul>

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