Troubleshooting Techniques: Asking “What changed?” | Tech, No Babel

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On today’s Tech, No Babel: Troubleshooting Techniques: Asking “What changed?”

When you run into a problem, it’s always valuable to ask, “what changed?” There’s a risk there, too. It’s easy to blame recent additions that have nothing to do with the core problem.

[tweet “When you’re troubleshooting, this is a valuable question to ask, but don’t be a slave to it: “]

I’m working on some software (check back because I’m getting close). I recently added a feature that I’d wanted, but in doing so, something else broke.

Now, I could say that all I need to do is remove the new feature. The problem is I like it. So, how do I fix the old feature without removing the new one? I look for where the problem actually is.

In this case, I had a dialog that was on the page, but I wanted it to be a pop up. In doing so, I removed another dialog, planning on adding it later.

As it turns out, the old feature was dependent on that information, so it wasn’t that I’d added the new feature as much as that I’d removed something that I thought was extra.

This is a great point about this question. In my undergrad days, in logic class, we learned that correlation isn’t causation. In other words, just because two things happen at the same time or nearly the same time, doesn’t mean that one caused the other.

Back to this software. I added a popup box and then on old feature quit working. It could be that the popup somehow broke the old feature, but it was actually that I’d done something else in addition. So it wasn’t the cause. When I added the dialog I’d removed altogether, that fixed the problem and I had both features again.

For more information on this technique, watch today’s show.

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