Troubleshooting SharePoint

We all know that SharePoint loves to throw curve balls at us every so often.  One day everything is working fine, the next it just stops – no explanation.  And then you get those oh so completely (un)helpful error messages like “Sorry, something went wrong.”

Before you log a call with IT, do some basic troubleshooting yourself.  They are going to ask you these questions anyway, so you may as well save yourself some time and prevent the aggravation of “it works on my machine” answers.

  • Is it just you experiencing the issue, or other users as well?
  • Is it just on that one document / list item, or all of them, or some of them?
  • Is it just in that one list / library, or all of them?
  • Is it just that one site, or all of them?
  • If you give someone else the same permissions as you, do they get the same issue?
  • If you go to another computer and sign in as you and do it, does it still happen?
  • If you change browsers does it still happen?
  • What browser versions are you on?
  • What version of Office are you using?
  • Can you replicate the issue, what were you doing when it happened?

By trying these different things, you will be able to narrow it down to whether it’s happening across SharePoint, or just in a localised area; whether it’s browser based, or if there is a problem with your user account instead.  Give that feedback to IT so that they can start looking in the right places from the word go.  It builds rapport between business and IT because business is taking the initiative to communicate issues better.  IT can then be empowered to resolve those issues quicker and everybody wins.

And if you are in IT, please give a proper explanation to your users as to how it was fixed. Don’t just say “it’s fixed”.  It’s very annoying to business people who are trying to learn a new technology.  By teaching them what went wrong, they can do better next time and sort things out themselves where possible, thereby reducing the bottleneck at IT.  Meet your users half way here.

Remember to keep a track of what the fixes were to create a cool FAQ down the line as a self-service portal.

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