Technology Blog

Onion Approach to wifi troubleshooting basics - Same, Better or Worse

Guest Blogger

I learned long ago working with end users is sometimes a blessing and a curse. Users have valuable information that will enable us as WiFi engineers to get a glimpse to the issues they are having. At times and from personal experience users may not always be truthful. I'm not saying their lying rather I'm point out the obvious.  Users I interview as part of my fact gathering phase sometimes don't have the time or don't clearly remember specific facts. In some cases I get that user who is the negative Nancy. You know her the gal who says nothing never works. It's always broken. It's always slow. 


When I make changes in an effort to resolve an issue I like to take the easy approach to get the users perspective if the issue has improved. Clearly some issues are black and white in terms that the issue is fixed and resolved or not.


Other times problems require small changes in an effort to improve a solution. Because maybe you aren't sure of the fix and you need to layer (Onion approach) back on complexity to see if we get improvement. 


Rather than go back to a user and ask them details about any improvements from their end. I simply start off with a simple question. 


I made some changes to xyz. I have reason to believe this may help our issue. Can you tell me in your experience is the issue your experiencing same, better or worse. 


I’ve found these simple 3 words allow me as a WiFi troubleshooter to get quick user feedback and the user perception. After getting the answer I then move on:


Same - Ok so you haven't seen any improvement?

Better - Can you tell me why you think its better?

Worse - Can you tell me what is worse after the change ?


I hope you found this helpful. 


I've had good success making "Nancy" part of the project team.


Sometimes information from these more critical  users is invaluable to attain an objective view as to whether things are working - or not. Often even the low-tech

statements carry the ring of accuracy as you point out.


It's better to have the critical statement,  ideal of course is some objective, mathematical measurement demonstrating the fix  - than a less critical "it's all great" output, only to receive a call a week later with the anger level 3dB higher.


Sometimes bringing "Nancy" into the team costs a few pizzas (Hospital staff seem especially fond of Pizza) , but actively soliciting such critical feedback often produces the opportunity to educate, and often results in WIFI advocates who've shared in the solution,  educate and share their new knowledge - raising the WIFI experience for the wider community.







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