Valuable time is often wasted in uncovering the causes of problems in processes. We’ll help create troubleshooting guides and train your people to effectively and rapidly resolve problems.
Scope And Deliverables
Troubleshooting is a form of problem solving. It is the systematic search for the source of a problem so that it can be solved. Troubleshooting is often a process of elimination – eliminating potential causes of a problem. Troubleshooting is used in many fields such as system administration and electronics.
Usually troubleshooting is applied to something that has suddenly stopped working, so the first focus, or concentration of attention, should be on what has changed. However, care must be used to not jump to false conclusions of causality — correlation does not always mean cause.
A basic principle in troubleshooting is to start from the simplest and most probable possible problems first. This is illustrated by the old saying “When you see hoof prints, look for horses, not zebras”, or to use another maxim, use the KISS principle. This principle results in the common complaint about help desks or manuals, that they sometimes first ask: “Is it plugged in and does that receptacle have power?”, but this should not be taken as an affront, rather it should serve as a reminder or conditioning to always check the simple things first before calling for help.
Further steps in troubleshooting are to check each component in a system one by one, and to substitute known good components for any suspect ones. It also helps to start from a known good state, the best example being a computer reboot. A cognitive walkthrough is also a good thing to try. Comprehensive documentation produced by proficient technical writers is very helpful, especially if it provides a theory of operation for the subject device or system.
A common cause of problems is bad design, for example bad human factors design, where a device could be inserted backward or upside down due to the lack of an appropriate forcing function (behavior-shaping constraint), or a lack of error-tolerant design. This is especially bad if accompanied by habituation, where the user just doesn’t notice the incorrect usage, for instance if two parts have different functions but share a common case so that it isn’t apparent on a casual inspection which part is being used.
Troubleshooting can also take the form of a systematic checklist, troubleshooting procedure or table that is made before a problem occurs. Developing troubleshooting procedures in advance allows sufficient thought about the steps to take in troubleshooting and organizing the troubleshooting into the most efficient troubleshooting process. Troubleshooting tables can be computerized to make them more efficient for users.
What We Will Do
- Examine your existing procedures, work instructions and problem-solving mechanisms.
- Facilitate a team of employees to uncover all of the potential causes of problems (using a FMEA-based approach)).
- Create trouble-shooting guides that are consistent with your organizational culture and skill set.
- Provide training to all relevant employees on the use of the trouble-shooting guides.
- Deploy the trouble-shooting guides, along with a mechanism to ensure that these documents remain current.
What We Need You To Do
- Provide us with access to the relevant areas.
- Ensure availability of a small working team of employees to create the list of potential failure modes, and their appropriate control mechanisms.
- Provide us with a suitable working space.
- Review and approve any submitted documents in a timely manner.
- Ensure availability of personnel for training.
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