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What changed?

IT pros get a LOT of support requests.

This isn't working. This is broken. That stopped connecting. We can't log in any more. Technology is rarely random when it fails us. Usually, it's for a good (and often specific) reason. The job of the IT person is to locate the reason(s) and then help get things resolved in a timely manner.

When faced with a "this isn't working", many IT pros rush to start trying to repair instead of asking a simple question: what changed? If it was working fine before, what circumstances may have contributed to it now not working?

Myriad factors contribute to any kind of issue, but common ones include:

  • a power outage

  • a hardware failure (hard drive, power supply, motherboard)

  • a severed cable or downed internet connection

  • a cloud vendor's outage

  • a security breach

Asking a simple question can sometimes give you a shortcut to the root cause.

"What changed just prior to this occurring?"

Be careful: some people will associate factors or criteria that they believe are related but may be unrelated. "We did have some lightning last night", or "The cleaning person was vacuuming this morning and then it stopped" - be careful not to let confirmation bias push you toward an inaccurate assumption.

One of the comforting aspects of technology is that things rarely just 'happen' - there's usually a logical explanation, though it can take some digging to get to the root cause. Knowing what preceded an issue can help a professional get to their diagnosis faster, so before jumping in and fixing things, get more context first.


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