Nerd Guru

Because technical people need good soft skills to get ahead.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Troubleshooting Techniques: Step 1 - Were all the instructions followed correctly?

Things that are obvious to you are a complete mystery to others who possess a different perspective of the world. Logic would dictate that before escalating a problem such that someone like you is involved in its solution, somebody would have double-checked that the set up instructions were followed correctly. To assume this, unfortunately, is giving others a bit too much credit.

Whatever it is that is broken, it is highly likely that instructions for using it or for installing it were provided to whoever is now having a problem with it. Too often, people either do not read, do not follow, or do not understand directions given to them when setting up a product for use. In situations as simple as inserting batteries backwards in some handheld electronic device, everyone has had this experience. By walking through those instructions yourself and by verifying the correct completion of each of the steps, you establish a baseline for the present state of the device in question that you can rely on for more complex steps later on.

The most important aspect of this step is to use the exact instructions you or your team provided the person with the problem and don't rely on your expertice in verifying the set up. This will help you discover any errors in the instructions themselves. Perhaps they are ambiguous or make assumptions about its readers that it should not have. Regardless, a large percentage of solutions to problems are because a product was not initialized correctly. As simple as it sounds, verifying the instructions given to the person experiencing the problem is always a good place to start.


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posted by Pete Johnson @ 9:13 PM   0 comments

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