Top 5 missteps poor problem solvers  make when tackling IT problems

Here are the top 5 missteps I see poor problem solvers make when tackling IT problems (in no particular order):

  1. The assumption is made that the problem reported is the problem they have. It is essential to see and validate the problem, but again and again…situations happen where this does not occur.
  2. When a request is received, the reasoning behind the request is not fully understood. The request the user made may not be ideal or the best solution. It’s the sysadmin’s job to implement the correct solution, not just be a button clicker.  Part of this can be addressed by knowing the people you are serving better.
  3. Assumptions are made about known events being causal.  Humans love creating narratives, piecing together facts to explain what they are observing.  It’s in our nature. However, I’ve seen too many times where stories have been pieced together with assumptions that weren’t fully validated.  It’s like there’s some urge within us for the calm feeling when an issue is finally “understood.”  It’s wise to stave off such urges.
  4. Implementing a fix of improper magnitude.  Another way to think of this is using a hammer when a scalpel will do…or vice versa.  This takes a bit of experience to weigh the pro’s and con’s of any given fix….but also knowing the people and the implications of the change before it’s made.
  5. Not taking the most economical approach to solving the problem.  Another way of saying this is not being able to see the big picture.  Putting several hours or days into banging your head against a problem when it could be push to a vendor to resolve very likely is be a more rational solution.  Economics could be said to be the silent governor of all practical troubleshooting efforts.

One thing to note about this is that this really doesn’t put technical knowledge in the forefront.  Most of these points are all about ensuring proper perception of a problem and how it affects the people you serve.  From there, the technical know-how kicks in to get it done.


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