IT Best Practices

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Troubleshooting IT Problems

Troubleshooting a problem can be a pretty tense time in the heat of the moment. There are a number of problems that can hinder the best of IT staff if they’re not properly handled. Whether the project is big or small, Scott Matteson believes there are common bad practices that should be addressed. In his article for the TechRepublic, he goes through some mistakes to avoid in order to ensure IT success:

  1. Working alone
  2. Downplaying the impact
  3. Blindly following Google results
  4. Making an irrevocable change
  5. Using the shotgun approach of making many alleged fixes all at once
  6. Overlooking the obvious
  7. Not keeping a log
  8. Not considering the ramifications
  9. Not holding a post-mortem
  10. Failing to document

Troubleshooting Traps

No one is an island, and that phrase particularly applies to IT. Going it alone and not asking for help can seriously limit your ability to pull from the experience of others. So does downplaying the impact of the problem you’re trying to solve. If others don’t know the scope of an issue, they can’t properly plan for it or how much time to devote to it. And despite how easy it may be, don’t blindly trust Google result recommendations; instead, go for qualified websites on the topic.

When it comes to making changes, make sure you can undo whatever changes made in case mistakes were made or errors occur. This also applies to using the shotgun approach because making several changes can either increase your problems or cause confusion as to what the individual changes affected. The ramifications of the changes and decisions you make should be considered to keep from doing a lot of extra work to solve something incredibly simple. That said, sometimes the issue you’re trying to solve is an obvious one and doesn’t require a ton of work.

Matteson goes on to stresses the importance of keeping a log and documenting all the work. He then states that a post-mortem after the fact is a good way to keep issues from being repeated. He provides a list of questions to ask in the post-mortem:

  • What went wrong?
  • What could we have done better?
  • Is this issue likely to happen again?
  • If so, what can we do to prevent it next time?
  • Is additional training needed?
  • How can we obtain this training?
  • Are additional safeguards required?
  • How can we ensure all responsible staff know about this issue?

You can view the original article here:

Austin J. Gruver

Austin is a Staff Writer for AITS. He has a background in professional writing from York College.

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