Monday, November 1, 2010

The Secrets of Troubleshooting

It doesn’t matter if the problem affects one person on one computer or an entire facility. The fact of the matter is that a great PC administrator is also a great troubleshooter. Want to know my secrets of troubleshooting? Read on my friends!
Secret #1 – Know how it works. If you know how things work you can better determine the cause of a problem or get things up and running much quicker. Lets say you are troubleshooting a problem on a computer for a user. They are having an issue with an application that no one else is using, no one else knows anything about, and no one else has any information on. What do you do in this case? Well, one of the things that is a great start is finding out how it works. Starting here is perfect and leads you to more obvious questions such as “How is the program installed?”, “How is the program used?”, or even “Is this the latest version of the program?”. As you can see, finding out how something actually works is often completely overlooked by many tech support personnel when they are stumped on an issue. Going back to the basics and finding out how something works will help not only to get to the bottom of a problem, but it will expand your knowledge and experience. This leads into Secret #2…..
Secret #2 – If you don’t know, find out. Ok…. this bit of guidance is AGAIN completely lost with a great many tech support personnel. Research is the heart of troubleshooting in general. If you do not know how to fix a problem, or don’t know how something works, you need to research and find out on your own. In my opinion, those that do not wish to research simply do not care or do not wish to learn and expand their knowledge. This is a dangerous situation to have especially in the tech support area as it displays carelessness and laziness. Knowledge is key. Always remember that “Google is your friend”.
Secret #3 – Share the knowledge. Sharing knowledge is key in the tech support business. A common belief amongst tech support people is that if they hold the knowledge in their heads, it increases their job security because they are the only ones that knows the info. But withholding knowledge hurts everyone including your co-workers, the users you support, and even the business you support. Think of it this way, what if internet search engines never existed? What if Google said, “Oh, well I know this information but I don’t want to share it.” It would be almost impossible to find information quickly and efficiently wouldn’t it? The internet would almost cease to exist without search engines. Sharing knowledge helps improve some of your basic communication and writing skills and can even help to improve your work ethic and credibility as a tech support employee. Sharing knowledge can be as simple has having a network share with word documents, or can be a Sharepoint site, or even a knowledgebase application. Just remember to write down that knowledge and store it in a safe place for everyone to share.
So, out of this entire article, what do you think the theme of troubleshooting comprises of? Knowledge!
I hope you gain some important knowledge out of this article and that is serves as a reminder for your future troubleshooting situations!