How to investigate a problem

how to investigate a problem

How to Write an Effective Problem Statement

The Rules of Brainstorming The facilitator should explain the purpose of the brainstorming session (outline the problem/s), and emphasise the four rules of brainstorming that must be adhered to: Absolutely no criticism of suggestion or person is allowed. . You are essentially aiming to gain a degree view of your problem; leaving no stone unturned. This fact-finding mission is of course of tremendous value. Often we may typically try and solve a problem without knowing all the facts. Then, as a result, we make an assumption and jump to conclusions, which can often lead us astray.

The ability and the confidence to investigate an intermittent bug is one of the things that marks an excellent tester. Recently, a thread on the SHAPE forum made me realized hoq I had not yet written about this fascinating aspect of software testing.

Unlike a mysterious non-intermittent bug, an intermittent bug is more of a testing how to play pursuit of hat than a development problem.

Intermittent behavior itself is no big deal. It could be said that digital computing is all about the control of intermittent behavior. So, what are we really talking about? The only thing we can do about that is to get the best test coverage we can and keep at it. No algorithm can exist for automatically detecting or preventing all intermittent problems. So, what we typically call an intermittent problem is: a mysterious and undesirable behavior of a system, observed at least once, that we cannot yet manifest on demand.

Our challenge is to transform the intermittent bug into a regular bug by resolving the mystery surrounding it. When investigating an intermittent problem, it maybe worth considering the kinds of things that cause such problems. The list of guideword heuristics below may help you how to investigate a problem do that analysis. There is some redundancy among the items in the list, because causes can be viewed from different perspectives.

Possibility 1: The system is NOT behaving differently. The apparent intermittence is an artifact of the observation. Possibility 2: The system behaved differently because it was a different system. Possibility 3: The system behaved differently because it was in a different state. Possibility 4: The system behaved differently because it was given different input. X 5: The other possibilities problemm magnified because your mental model of the system and what influences it is incorrect or incomplete in some important way.

Why how to investigate a problem the bug report being raised and cleared? The essence of intermittent bugs are of chaotic nature where multiple at least three factors come into play. The famous three-body problem is a good start to understand the essence of intermittency. You could as well say that anything that happens has an infinite number of causes.

But I guess we could say that one reason a bug can be intermittent is because of a set of causes that are uncorrelated and unknown. In other words, give me an fo of an intermittent bug, and I can give you one new fact that, if true, would reveal it to be not intermittent or vice versa.

As per my understanding, it is easier and cheaper to find problems between two components rather than finding problems between more than two components. I was wondering, if you would be able to provide me some examples on how best to isolate defects between more than two components.

Assuming that such defects in some way maybe considered as intermittent. What would it look like in real life? The possibility of outputs is unconnected to input. Consider a random number generator. Consider a simple circuit with a switch, power source, and light bulb.

When the switch is turned on, the bulb illuminates. When the switch is turned off, the bulb goes dark. If we turn the switch on, and the bulb does not light up, we call this a bug, and uow diagnose what we know, for example the probleem source is dead. In the first example, if our power source which is unknown to the tester was a hamster running on a wheel with a generator attached, it would seem that intermittently the switch would turn the light on.

How can we ever investigaye the total set of our unknowns? The state responsible for the error is likely to be completely wiped out by doing a restart. As soon as you notice the intermittent error, try to probe test points, examine status words, and record as much as possible what does coptic christian mean all iinvestigate signals on the system.

Work out possibilities in your head later. For example after how many tries I should declare the defect is not reproducible. But there are mysteries. Some mysteries we never solve. Atul, I think investibate depends on process.

Probably the best way with that kind of bug problems is statistical approach. If you want to describe the process statistically then you should collect some basic features of how to install replacement windows part 1 process.

The features are: minimum values, maximum values, range of the values, standard deviation. Going back to the root of your question: If in the same conditions every single time results are different then you know that the bug is not easy to reproduce.

We have a solution and tool for these problems. The method is based on execution differences, when we compare the exdecutions, I mean the failed and the passed one, ane based on the differences we usually can find the fault. More information on jidebug.

Lots of generic advice. Wish each point had real life examples as opposed to just a few. Maybe you could write a book or suggest one? But perhaps I have a blind spot. Can you suggest three or four that seem overly generic to you?

Your email address will not be published. Some Principles of Intermittent Problems: Be comforted: the cause is probably not evil spirits. If it happened once, it will probably happen again. Be wary of any fix made to an intermittent bug. Any software state that takes a long time to occur, under normal circumstances, can also be reached instantly, by unforeseen circumstances. Complex and baffling behavior often has a simple underlying cause. Complex and baffling behavior sometimes has a complex set of causes.

Intermittent problems often teach you something profound about your product. An intermittent problem in the lab might be easily reproducible in the field. The problem may be intermittent, but the risk of that problem ivestigate ever present. The more testability is how to investigate a problem into a product, the easier it is to investigate and solve intermittent problems. When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, could have done a lot of damage by then!

If you ever get in trouble an intermittent problem investigafe you could not lock down before release, you will fare a lot better if you made a faithful, thoughtful, vigorous effort to find and fix it. The journey can be the reward, you might say. Some General Suggestions for Investigating Intermittent Problems: Recheck your most basic assumptions: are you using the computer you think you are using?

Eyewitness reports leave out a lot of potentially vital information. Invite more observers and minds into the investigation. Create incentives for people to report intermittent problems. Check tech support websites for each third party component you use. Maybe the problem is listed. Seek tools that could help you observe and control the system. Improve communication among observers especially with observers who are users in the field.

Establish a central clearinghouse for mystery bugs, so that patterns among them might be easier to spot. Look through the bug list for any other bug that seems like the intermittent problem. Make more precise observations consider using measuring instruments. Improve testability: Add more logging and scriptable interfaces. Control inputs more precisely including sequences, timing, types, sizes, sources, iterations, combinations. Control state more precisely find ways to return to known states.

Systematically cover the input and state spaces. Save all log files. If the problem happens more often in some situations than in others, consider doing a statistical analysis of the variance between input patterns in those situations.

Try changing only one variable at a time; try subdividing the system. Create background stress high loads; large data. Consider reviewing the code. Look for interference among components created by different organizations. Celebrate and preserve stories about intermittent problems and how they were resolved.

Systematically consider the conceivable causes of the problem see below. Beware of burning huge time on a small problem. Keep investigqte, is this problem worth it?

When all else prroblem, let the problem sit a while, do something else, and see if it spontaneously recurs. Considering the Causes of Intermittent Problems When investigating an intermittent problem, investtigate maybe worth considering the kinds of things that cause such problems.

Bad observation: The observer may have made a poor observation. Also, certain optical illusions cause apparently intermittent behavior in an unchanging scene.

1.1 Introduction

1. Decide whether to investigate. Before you put on your detective's hat, take some time to decide whether you really need an investigation. In a few situations -- for example, if all employees agree on what happened or the problem appears to be minor -- you may reasonably decide that a full-blown investigation is unnecessary. Sep 18, Analyze Data. By analyzing the collected data the manager can explore which of the possible causes did or did not contribute to problem occurrence. The problem may be intermittent, but the risk of that problem is ever present. The more testability is designed into a product, the easier it is to investigate and solve intermittent problems. When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, could have done a .

Continuous improvement specialists are challenged to solve problems for their organizations or clients. They have acquired a wide array of tools, methods and techniques for that purpose. If continuous improvement practitioners are able to establish the winning conditions for change, they can look forward to successful outcomes.

However, the devil is in the details, making continuous improvement jobs interesting and challenging. Adapted from an article by Alan Bryman in the International Journal of Social Research Methodology : A problem is a statement about an area of concern, a condition to be improved upon, a difficulty to be eliminated, or a troubling question that exists in theory or in practice that points to the need for meaningful understanding and deliberate investigation. One of the challenges in writing a great problem statement is the distractions that can come from a variety of sources.

In short, a great problem statement must be free of causes, solutions and blame, and careful consideration must be given to ensure symptoms do not become a distraction. A problem statement should describe an undesirable gap between the current-state level of performance and the desired future-state level of performance.

A problem statement should include absolute or relative measures of the problem that quantify that gap, but should not include possible causes or solutions!

The ability to articulate an effective problem statement is not simply a business skill it is a life skill. This holds true for continuous improvement specialists. The 5W2H what, when, where, why, who, how, how much method is deceptively simple. Ask the right questions in the right order and let the answers lead you to a great problem statement. Question 7 : How often is the problem observed? Think of a problem you have encountered in your personal or professional life, or a problem you are currently tasked to solve.

Employ the preceding method of asking seven simple questions and see where it takes you. Teach this simple and effective method to your friends, colleagues and family. Writing problem statements truly is a life skill and, when employed correctly, will place anyone in good stead to start solving the problem.

Probably, even the most important after planning. In many ways, depending on how correctly the tasks are set, the goal achieving will depend. Of course, not everything will turn out right away, but in due course this should become your habit. Or rather, even grow into a good and useful skill. In order to properly write statement, it is necessary to remember the following rules: The task should be specific, otherwise how do you know that the task is completed.

Bring that, I do not know what. As it is customary within military or people with technical education. Accuracy is the guarantee that the task you give to the employee will be understood by them clearly.

Incorrect, unauthorized interpretation will be excluded. Thus, you save your own time. After all, if you explained everything very clearly, the employee simply will come and ask you to repeat your assignment. I liked the article very much! Thank you for the positive comment, Robert! Wishing you a fabulous year ahead. You must be logged in to post a comment. Please Sign in Register. How to Write an Effective Problem Statement.

By Rod Morgan. You Might Also Like. Rod Morgan. View Profile View all posts by Rod Morgan. PQ Systems adopts rebranding strategy to reflect its vision. Comments 5. Tayo Good article.

April 9, at am - Log in to Reply. May 7, at am - Log in to Reply. Rod Morgan Thanks for the wonderful comment and ideas, Homework Doer. September 5, at pm - Log in to Reply. Robert Beers I liked the article very much! September 5, at am - Log in to Reply.

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