An Oracle blog about Solaris

Trouble Shooting

Chris Beal
Senior Principal Software Engineer
I was in the process of composing a blog entry about some of the things I've been up to so far this year (but infact I'll make it several later on) when a colleague pointed me at Chris G's entry on SGR
SGR (Sun Global Resolution) Is Sun's internal development of the Kepner Tregoe Analytic Trouble Shooting Technique. The idea is to provide a consistent and reproduceable technique which will help solve problems.
I have to be honest that when I first heard of it I was really sceptical. I fixed customer problems - how could they have a process for that?
Well to be honest what it does is force you to not ignore the obvious, not to jump to conclusions and to write things down in a way that others who understand the process can understand and progress. Chris's Ephihany is a great example of this.
In SGR language You have 4 processes. First of which is Situation Appraisal (Finding out what it is you need to work on) This leads in to one of three other processes, one of which is Problem Analysis (I'll talk about the others another time).
To decide if you need to do some problem Analysis you ask yourself three questions
1) Is there a deviation: In this case is the system doing something it shouldn't?
2) Is the cause unknown?
3) Do I need to know the cause to take meaningful action (eg. if the Espresso machine in the cafe is broken I don't need to know why, I can walk the 50m to the cafe in the other building to get the coffee to wake me up tomorrow)
So in Chris's case he is doing Situation Appraisal with a bit of Crashdump Analysis to find out what the concerns are. At which point there is probably a deviation but Chris knows the cause so stop trouble shooting.
There is a forth process that is unofficially recognised by most ATS/SGR Programme leaders like myself. That is the JFDI process. Once you know what to do, just do it.


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