Docstoc

Dealing with Technical Problems - PowerPoint

Document Sample
Dealing with Technical Problems - PowerPoint Powered By Docstoc
					 UKIUA Roadshow April 2004


An Approach to Dealing with
    Technical Problems

   Steve Roberts – Acebyte Ltd
         www.acebyteltd.demon.co.uk
                                   Abstract
This session will discuss an approach towards
dealing with technical problems and issues that arise
in a support and development environment.
Although biased towards CA-Advantage IDMS the
session deals with approaching problem solving
in a generic sense rather than addressing any specific
IDMS problems.


An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                                    Content
•   Attitude
•   Approach
•   Support
•   Problems sources
•   Dealing with CA Support



An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                                    Content
• Attitude




An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                                    Attitude
• The key to solving technical problems is to
  have the right attitude towards dealing with
  the issue that has arisen.
• Having the wrong attitude in your approach
  will cloud the issue, waste time and
  potentially antagonise the people that you
  interact with when dealing with the issue


An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                                    Attitude
• Wrong, wrong, wrong
    – “The software doesn‟t work”
    – “There‟s something wrong with IDMS, it keeps
      making my program abend”
    – “It‟s not doing what I‟m telling it to do”
    – “I‟ve been in IT for 30 years, do you think I
      haven‟t checked that my JCL is pointing to the
      right datasets. Blah Blah Blah”

An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                                    Attitude
• Your first thought should always be


“What have I/we done wrong ?”




An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                                    Attitude
• It‟s the simple things that catch you out

    –   Check the basics
    –   Check the Obvious
    –   Don‟t Assume
    –   Prove it



An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                                    Content
Attitude
• Approach




An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                                 Approach
• Problems differ in cause, effect and the
  impact that they have. Therefore depending
  on the type of problem or impact it has will
  determine the specific approach taken.
• However, the general approach should be
  the same.



An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                                 Approach
• What is perceived to be the problem ?
    – Always try and get a clear description of what the
      problem is perceived to be. When possible talk to the
      person who is having the problem.
• How does the problem show itself ?
    – Actions  Effects
• Is the problem isolated ?
    – Is is affecting more than one user ?
    – Is it affecting more than one program
    – Are other systems affected ?

An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                                 Approach
• Is the problem recreatable ?
    – Does it occur every time the action is performed ?
    – Does it occur whatever data is used ?
• What has changed ?
    –   User Action
    –   Program
    –   Database
    –   Environment


An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                                 Approach
• What supporting materials are available ?
    –   Messages / Error Codes
    –   Screen Shots
    –   Output Listings
    –   Dumps / logs
    –   Compile Listings (ideal)
    –   Source Listings (not ideal)


An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                                    Content
Attitude
Approach
• Support




An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                                    Support
•   Tracking System
•   Knowledge Base
•   Site Contacts
•   Escalation Procedures
•   Line Management
•   Authority


An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
 Tracking Systems & Knowledge Bases

• A tracking system is a process that allows you to
  log and track the status of a problem
• Knowledge bases generally are tracking systems
  but also allow the ability to assign and search on
  keywords to find previously reported issues and
  solutions
• Most tracking systems are not knowledge bases
  because they lack the fundamental feature of
  keyword assignment and searching

An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                    Tracking problems
• Have a system in place to record your problems
• A manual process if nothing else exists, recording
  in a book or file
• This allows you to
    –   Document
    –   Provide Ownership
    –   Prioritise
    –   Track
    –   Review
    –   Escalate

An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                       Tracking System
• Have a process in place to log and track problems
• Use the official tracking system if there is one
    – If it doesn‟t support keyword assignment or searching,
      try and find a way to look back at previous issues
    – Perhaps you could use your User ID as part of the
      description
• If there is no „official‟ tracking system
    – Record it manually in a log book
    – Use PC facilities to log it
    – The post-it note tracking system tends not to work very
      well
An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                      Knowledge Bases
•   Your own knowledge
•   Your colleagues knowledge
•   In-House Help systems
•   Tracking Systems
•   CA Support Connect
•   Other Vendors Knowledge bases
•   User Group Forums
•   Intranet / Internet

An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                             Site Contacts
• Try and maintain an accessible list of
  contacts in :-
    –   Operations
    –   Ops Support
    –   Op System Support
    –   Development
    –   Help Desk
    –   Line management

An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                Escalation Procedures
• If you provide support you should clearly
  document and make available your
  escalation procedures.
• If you are a customer of a support provider
  you should make yourself aware of their
  escalation procedures.



An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                     Line Management
• Needs to Provide
    – Escalation
          • Reporting Path
          • Conflict Decision
    –   Authority
    –   Liaison
    –   Shield
    –   Resources

An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                                  Authority
• You need to have the necessary authorities to deal
  with issues
• This does not mean that you always have the
  authority to do everything
• You should have necessary authorities in place for
  your normal working practices
• There should also be a process in place that allows
  additional authorities to be granted when required


An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                                    Content
Attitude
Approach
Support
• Problem Sources




An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                       Problem Sources
• Personal
    – Problems you encounter performing your own
      workload
• Reported Problems
    – Problems reported outside your group usually through a
      help desk or tracking system
          • Development
                – Compilation, data definition, data, access, run time &
                  performance issues
          • Production
                – Normally higher priority and often critical


An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems                  UKIUA Roadshow 2004
       Problem Sources - Personal
     Do you have personal problems ?
• “What have I done wrong?”
• “Does what I am doing make sense?”
• Check the obvious, do not assume
    – Correct version/library/data/JCL
• Get someone to check what you are doing


An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
        Problem Sources - Personal
• Re-run with different data or in a different
  environment – Is it recreatable ?
• What differences are there ?
• Has this ever worked ?
• Collect supporting materials
• Check knowledgebase's


An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
        Problem Sources - Personal
• Log your problem on your tracking system
• Describe the problem clearly
• Document checks already performed
• When resolved, clearly document the
  solution
• Review the problem to determine if it can
  be avoided in the future

An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                    Reported Problems
• Contacts
    –   Reporter
    –   End user contact
    –   User Helpdesk You
    –   Details get lost in translation
    –   Where possible speak to the end user



An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                     Reported Problem
• Determine Impact
• Repeatable or Re-creatable
• Users affected
    – Where are they ? What floor ? What Building ?
• Data affected
• Systems affected


An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                  Development Issues
• Program Abends/Functionality/Performance
• Insist on access to the compiled listing
• If run time doesn‟t match insist on re-
  compilation and recreation
• Where not feasible access to source listing
  is not ideal but better than nothing
• Check the obvious

An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                      Production Issues
•   Symptoms
•   Whose affected
•   What‟s affected
•   Critical / Non-Critical
•   Collect Supporting Materials



An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
        Production Issues - Critical
• Don‟t panic, assess the situation clearly
  before deciding on a course of action
• Shield yourself
    – Deal with the issue not the constant queries
      about the issue
    – Either your line manager should deal with this
      as they should be part of the escalation process
      or appoint someone else in the group to deal
      with it

An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
        Production Issues - Critical
• For business critical situations where the
  issue is seriously affecting the business
  process, you must already have or a process
  to obtain the necessary authorities to deal
  with the situation.
    – Authority to cancel tasks/programs/jobs
    – Authority to recycle the CV


An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
        Production Issues - Critical
• Data recovery situations
• Clearly define what is required
• Do not rush into anything as you may
  damage your recovery path
• Best advice seen in a recovery manual
    – Task #1 – Sit down have a cup of coffee and
      think about what you need to do next


An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                      Production Issues
                                  Critical Signs
Anytime you check a CV you should perform a health check by looking at
the systems critical signs
    –   CPU & I/O
    –   Access
    –   Journals
    –   Logs (DC & JES)
    –   Workload
    –   Pools (Storage & Program)


An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems             UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                            Critical Signs
                   CPU
• Is CV using CPU ?
    – Is it maxed out on an engine ?
          • 25% on a 4 engine box running uni-tasking
    – No CPU or just ticking
          • No work to perform or not getting dispatched




An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                            Critical Signs
                    I/O
• Is CV performing I/O ?
    – Little or no I/O buts lots of CPU ?
          • possible loop




An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                            Critical Signs
                   Access
• Can you access the system ?
    – DC
    – CICS




An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                            Critical Signs
                  Journals
• Display the journals ?
    – Ideally 1 active others should be free
    – If other journals show offloading or
      condensing, are the offload jobs OK
    – Is the active journal being updated ?



An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                            Critical Signs
                     Logs
• Look at the last messages written to the
  jeslog, anything unusual ?
• Oper w crit log to see how full the log is
    – Does it need offloading ?
    – Check log offload jobs
• OLP to check last message written to the
  DCLOG, anything unusual ?

An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                            Critical Signs
                    Workload
• Is CV processing a workload ?
    – OPER W AC TA
    – OPER W DB
    – Are tasks turning over (I.e. tasks ending and new tasks
      starting)
    – Any tasks „hanging around‟ ?
• What‟s being waited on ?
    – DCMT DIS ACT TASK

An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                            Critical Signs
                    Pools
• Are storage pools OK ?
    – DCMT DIS ALL STOR
    – Any SOS ?
    – Check LOCKMON Status for overflow
• Are program pools OK ?
    – Ideally should only see loads into unused space

An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                                    Content
Attitude
Approach
Support
Problem Sources
• Dealing with CA Support




An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                       Dealing with CA
• Technical Support are there to help and
  support you
• It‟s an important relationship
    –   Listen
    –   Don‟t be arrogant
    –   Be Honest
    –   Don‟t use them as a scapegoat
    –   Educate them in your business

An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
           Dealing with CA Support
                                        Listen
• For what information they require
• To what they suggest
    – CA will check the obvious first
    – A large percentage of issues logged with CA are user
      created problems
    – If you are asked to check something that you have
      already checked. Tell them you have checked it but you
      will check it again (i.e. prove it to them)

An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
           Dealing with CA Support
                                         Listen

• Remember CA have access to a larger
  knowledge base about issues than you have
• If there are 9,999 issues saying X happens
  because you have done Y, then don‟t argue
  about it. Check it out. In other words check
  the obvious

An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems    UKIUA Roadshow 2004
           Dealing with CA Support
                 Don‟t be arrogant
• OK you have used IDMS for 30 years, but don‟t
  dismiss something just because you think that‟s a
  mistake a junior DBA would make.
• Be humble, admit it when you were wrong
• The worst customers are those who dismiss every
  CA suggestion with „No it‟s not that‟, without
  even considering it as an option.


An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
           Dealing with CA Support
                                      Be Honest
“What’s Changed ?”
“Nothing. It wasn’t me I haven’t been anywhere
  near it”
• Tell them everything you have done.
• Don‟t leave out something that you‟ve done which
  you think you shouldn‟t have done
• We all make mistakes, admit it when you have
  made an error

An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems    UKIUA Roadshow 2004
           Dealing with CA Support
                   Be Honest
• Don‟t cry wolf !
• Be honest with your assessment of your
  issue priority
• If you report every issue as critical and keep
  hounding CA for a resolution how are they
  supposed to re-act when you DO have a
  business critical issue ?

An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
           Dealing with CA Support
                    Don‟t use them as a scapegoat

• If a problem persists and has been outstanding for a period
  of time, don‟t blame CA unless you have always promptly
  provided the feedback they have requested
• Remember CA‟s tracking system tracks everything. If your
  manager calls CA and starts asking why has it taken six
  weeks to resolve a issue, can you be sure CA‟s tracking
  system will not show that they have been waiting 5 and a
  half weeks for you to provide information they have asked
  for ?

An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
           Dealing with CA Support
                    Educate them in your business

• CA technical support deal with hundreds of different issues
  related to many different business‟s.
• They become isolated from the day to day demands that
  constrain DBA‟s, (i.e. change control, scheduling) but they
  are not unsympathetic.
• Some issues will seem minor to them but may be a major
  problem to you because of the way your business uses it.
• CA will want to know when an issue is business critical so
  that they can react appropriately.

An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
           Dealing with CA Support
                    Educate them in your business

• Document in issues logged with CA or discuss with the
  CA technician the reasons why a specific issue is a concern
  for your business.
• Also CA will say “all you have to do is …” . Most of the
  time DBA‟s cannot simply just “Do it”. They are
  constrained by change control, timing issues and resources
  to perform tasks. Again make CA aware when you cannot
  just “Do it”, give them an estimate when you can try to
  “Do it”, they will log this and check back with you at the
  appropriate time.
An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
           Dealing with CA Support
                                      Salesmen

• Do not confuse “sales” people with the CA
  technical support people.
• Salesmen come and go (quite often) but the
  technical professionals remain.
• Do not let your good relationship with CA
  technical support be „tainted‟ by problems or
  issues you have with the sales people.

An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
           Dealing with CA Support
                                     Escalation

• Contact the local CA technician dealing with your
  issue
• Discuss your concerns with them
• Ask them to increase priority
• If you yourself are getting pressure to resolve the
  issue make them aware of this (but don‟t say you
  are when you are not)

An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems    UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                                    Content
Attitude
Approach
Support
Problem Sources
Dealing with CA Support




An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                                  Summary

• Right Attitude

• Consistent Approach

• Build positive relationship with CA support


An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004
                                 Questions




An Approach to Dealing with Technical Problems   UKIUA Roadshow 2004

				
DOCUMENT INFO