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RE: Common operational misconceptions
From: George Bonser <gbonser () seven com>
Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2012 17:31:19 +0000


I wouldn't call it a "misconception", but I want to echo Paul's
comment.  I would venture over 90% of the engineers I work with have no
idea how to troubleshoot properly.  Thinking back to my own education,
I don't recall anyone in highschool or college attempting to teach
troubleshooting skills.  Most classes teach you how to build things,
not deal with them when they are broken.

Look for people who grew up on a farm.  They are used to figuring out how to fix things they haven't seen before and 
generally attempt to gain knowledge of the fundamental principles of how things work so they can apply those principles 
in a similar situation.  For example, such a person may know enough about troubleshooting both gasoline and diesel 
engines and might have a better understanding of the underlying fundamentals of internal combustion engines to do a 
passable job troubleshooting something they have never seen before (air, fuel, timing).  There is a certain APPROACH to 
troubleshooting that transcends various fields.  Some naturally have a talent for it, others aren't so good at it.  
Such people might be better in a multi-vendor network when there is a problem.  You can generally spot those people not 
by what they know, but by the quality of the questions they ask.  They generally know what they want to accomplish or 
what they are looking for, but they might want to know how that is done with this particular vendor's command set or 
how this particular vendor processes traffic.  

Some are natural designers, some are natural troubleshooters, some are natural documenters/support staff and they LIKE 
doing it.  It takes all of those skills.

One important thing to keep in mind, too, is that by identifying the skills and natural talents of your line staff, you 
yourself are being a value multiplier to your organization.  You are making best use of the resources that you have at 
your disposal and are improving the efficiency of the organization as an organic entity.  So this benefits everyone in 
the entire organization, including you.



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