My brother recently observed that troubleshooting is a lost art…that many people struggle to know what to do when things go wrong. I asked him to share some pointers, and he gave us a rich list of suggestions. These are good for troubleshooting your processes AND your equipment.
Troubleshooting requires thought, time, energy and a desire to understand what is actually occurring “under the hood”. Some people don’t really care how the process works as long as it gets fixed. Then, they don’t know what to do when the exact same issue happens a second time. Ask yourself:
Did this (process or equipment) ever work for you before? If it worked before, what has changed since that time?
Always start with basics. Look at the simple obvious things first. Is it plugged in? Does it have gas? Is it turned on?
Do you know what it should look like when it’s not broken?
Be intentional not to introduce a second problem before fixing the first. Work in logical steps. Know how to backtrack.
Avoid tinkering with the process (or equipment settings…not really knowing what the result should be) to see what happens. People often make changes, hoping to just change it back (backtrack) if it doesn’t fix the problem. Then they forget to tell anybody and fail to change it back.
Beware of strangers claiming to know quick fixes. I have let people help me only to discover that they made the problem worse.
If a work-around fixes the problem, don’t settle for that as the final solution. Use it to find the real cause and actually fix the problem. After all, this problem WILL happen again.
I don’t trust a fix until I understand why it fixed the problem.
Finally – If you need my help, just give me the facts. Only tell me what is broken. I don’t care who you were talking to, what you were eating, or what the weather was outside when things went bad.
Thanks Steve! These are great suggestions!
Do you have any to add to this list? Thanks for listening.
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