Troubleshooting? Try actually figuring out the problem instead of guessing.

I’ve seen this time and time again both with people I work with and support personel.

Figure out the damned problem, don’t throw rocks at it hoping you’ll get a hit.  When I was in tech-school my instructor called this “shotgun troubleshooting” and siad it’s a sure sign of an inept technical support person.

When I worked for America On-Line, our standard troubleshooting tool was “D&R” for “Delete and Reinstall”.  I got poor reviews for taking the time to actually fix problems, instead of shuffling people off the phone as quickly as I could.  (Keep in mind, I used to support version 2.5 and 3.0 of the AOL software, so it’s been a while) Working for microsoft it wasn’t as common but was still something that was used more often than not in place of actual troubleshooting.

It’s very easy to solve a problem by dropping a bomb on the software, but it’s a bad way of doing business.  When a support person tells me to D&R the software, my first response is “WHY?” and my second response is “Get me someone who knows what the hell they’re doing.”  (Especially in the case of microsoft, who has the nerve to charge me for this bad advise)

My main complaint about D&R is that it eliminates any chance of figuring out what the problem was, which in turn means you can’t take precautions to keep said errors from re-occuring.

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