This is the blog of Ronald Bartels that wanders on and off the subject of problem management (that is how it started). Mostly now the topics are about IoT and SD-WAN.
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Cassette tape - the flash drives of the 80's
Remember cassette tape? I remember using these tapes to save and restore
programs using a ZX81 when I was fifteen. The procedure was fraught
with potential issues and a person had to be real thick skinned to use
it! It might take a few attempts to successfully load a program and it
was all about patience, I wonder if I should add, learnt to program on a
ZX81 to my CV? There was no Internet and the only reference was manuals
and magazines. And then there were the programming language books. In
those days they were not called dummies!!!
There I was shooting the breeze with an old mate. The conversation turned to why Madge Networks which I wrote about here went titsup. My analysis is that Madge Networks had a solution and decided to go out and find a problem. They deferred to more incorrect strategic technology choices. The truth of the matter is that when something goes titsup, its not because of one reason only, but a myriad of them all contributing to the negative consequence. There are the immediate or visual ones, which are underpinned by intermediate ones and finally after digging right down, there are the root causes. There is never a singular root cause for anything but I'll present my opinion and encourage everyone else to chip in. All of them together are more likely the reason the company went titsup. As far as technology brainfarts go there is no better example than Kodak . They invented the digital camera that killed them. However, they were so focused on milking people in their leg
Many "ITIL aligned" service desk tools have flawed incident management. The reason is that incidents are logged with a time association and some related fields to type in some gobbledygook. The expanded incident life cycle is not enforced and as a result trending and problem management is not possible. Here is a fictitious log of an incident at PFS, a financial services company, which uses CGTSD, an “ITIL-aligned” service desk tool. Here is the log of an incident record from this system: Monday, 12 August: 09:03am (Bob, the service desk guy): Alice (customer in retail banking) phoned in. Logged an issue. Unable to assist over the phone (there goes our FCR), will escalate to second line. 09:04am (Bob, the service desk guy): Escalate the incident to Charles in second line support. 09:05am (Charles, technical support): Open incident. 09:05am (Charles, technical support): Delayed incident by 1 day. Tuesday, 13 August: 10:11am (Charles, technical support): Phoned Alice.
Assumptions! What is really wrong? Is it the network that is being blamed for something else? Fully describe and detail the issue . The mere act of writing it down, often clarifies matters. Kick the tyres and do a visual inspection. With Smartphones being readily available, take pictures. I once went to a factory where there was a problem. Upon inspection, the network equipment was covered in pigeon pooh! The chassis had rusted and the PCB boards were being affected by the stuff. No wonder there was a problem. In another example, which involved radio links. It is difficult with radio links to remotely troubleshoot alignment errors. (I can recall when a heavy storm blew some radio links out of alignment. Until we climbed onto the roof we never realised how strong the wind really was that day!) Cabling. Is the cable actually plugged in? Is it plugged into the correct location. Wear and tear on cabling can also not b