Mark R Lindsey

Rule of troubleshooting: first, fix what you KNOW is broken

In Uncategorized on January 15, 2008 at 11:21 pm

There’s a technique I’ve picked up from programming: when you have a problem, fix what you know to be broken first. Further, fix the most obvious broken thing first.


I think this started with C programming with cc and gcc. When you compile your programs, it dumps out a slew of errors it finds. I learned that the first error listed might be the only true error; the others were just shown because the compiler got all confused by the first one. Often, when I fixed that first error, the rest of the symptoms went away.

This technique seems to apply to other domains too — network troubleshooting, in particular. There might be a pile of symptoms and a few known problems, and it may be very difficult to explain all the symptoms based on the known problems. But these are complex systems. That means you can’t easily see it all in your head. 

So if you have actual problems that need to be fixed, fix those problems and see if the problems go away
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: