Troubleshooting Guide Basics: Can
You Re-create the Problem?
Not sure how to start your Troubleshooting Guide? One of the simplest ways to start this manual is
to ask the reader, Can you re-create the problem?
This Question and Answer format works very well as it allows you to work down through all the
different issues that person may be having until you identify the root cause.
Troubleshooting Guide Writing Formula
Here’s an example of how to do this from an IBM Troubleshooting Manual.
First is the introduction:
This guide is intended to help you solve problems without having to call IBM support. If you do have
to call IBM support, this guide provides the information that you need to help your IBM service
representative diagnose and resolve the problem.
Next the writer asks
Can you re-create the problem?
There are two options: Yes and No.
Yes. If you can re-create the problem, enable tracing and then re-create the problem to capture
more log information. You can enable logging and tracing for software that is shipped with
No. If you cannot re-create the problem, continue to the Researching a problem section.
Use Questions and Answers
As mentioned above, this technique allows you to move through different issues until you’ve
identified the root cause.
And, while this formula works well with software systems, you can also modify it for car, automotive,
and electrical appliances.
About the Author: Sharon Quinn helps companies develop Software Development Plans. Sign up
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