DrHGuy’s Fish Fry & The Fundamental Troubleshooting Flow Chart

Other Fish To Fry

DrHGuy is taking some time off from blogging to fry those other fish about which one hears so much, perhaps with a side of sour grapes and a hot potato or two.

In the meantime, readers are offered a powerful tactical tool, the Fundamental Troubleshooting Flow Chart, and the profoundly utilitarian philosophy it embodies.

The following content was originally published here on September 24, 2006.

The Fundamental Troubleshooting Flow Chart

The Troubleshooting Flow Chart

Problem-solving is clearly an essential skill, regardless of ones profession or socioeconomic setting. Thus, when I recently happened onto these versions of the Troubleshooting Flow Chart that depict this process at its most fundamental level, I recognized the opportunity and obligation to introduce them to viewers unfamiliar with the schematic and, more importantly, its powerful underlying concept.

The diagram at the top of this post (for best viewing click on charts) is said to have circulated on the internet before it was the internet1 but is nonetheless certainly a distant iteration of the original.2

I first glimpsed a variation of this chart at a conference so long ago that I was young enough to buy into the speaker’s implication that he had created the diagram himself. Some time later, disillusioned of such foolishness, I recalled enough of the chart to develop my own moderately Bowdlerized version for a flowcharting tutorial I was presenting. That model is pictured below.

Troubleshooting Flow Chart

  1. The internet did not arrive completely developed, like Athena springing full-grown in a suit of armor from the head of Zeus (I suppose a more accessible simile these days would be “like a Amazon.com order delivered by FedEx” but that gets tangled since a pre-internet Amazon.com would be an anachronism). The internet had a precursor, the ARPANET (The Advanced Research Projects Agency Net), and the consequences of its evolution from that beginning include some of the most beneficial, most cumbersome, most dangerous, and most creative aspects of the net. The Wikipedia article on this topic can be accessed at ~ Wikipedia: ARPANET ~ []
  2. While the author of Version 1.0 will probably never be ascertained, my personal conviction is that Adam and Eve, after being cast from the Garden of Eden, paused, using accepted Quality Cycle methodology developed by their contemporaries, Deming and Juran, to reflect and review recent events with an eye toward performance improvement. The result was the prototype of the Fundamental Troubleshooting Flow Chart. In any case, it certainly fits:

    OK, what happened? We had the Garden of Eden, which seemed to work fine. Then what happened? Then we screwed with it. And then? … []

4 responses to “DrHGuy’s Fish Fry & The Fundamental Troubleshooting Flow Chart

  1. fry them fish.

  2. …OK, what happened? We had the Garden of Eden, which seemed to work fine. Then what happened? Then we screwed with it. And then?

    In regard to the above statement, I’m inclined to believe “Will we be held accountable?” is in the wrong place of flow.

    Looking forward to your return.

  3. How long does it take to fry a fish — or two?