Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Raymond Kirsch


A great deal of time is spent teaching new support and help desk staff members how to triage, investigate, and test new issues that they encounter, both the time of the new employee and the time of the experienced staff member asked to train them. This is especially true when each new ticket could be connected to any of the various aspects of a product; hardware, software, user interface, process, data integrity, user access. Often times, new support employees are unsure of the general steps to take in order to investigate a problem with as well as where to begin an investigation. This uncertainty results in lost time as the employee is investigating in the wrong area or spending time gathering information that may not be helpful. Uncertainty also causes the employee to repeat steps that have already been taken as those steps and observations were not recorded or the employee lacks confidence in what is discovered.

The focus of this capstone is to develop a protocol and workflow process which would allow for the rapid transference of knowledge gained through experience as well as teaching effective investigation habits to those new to the field of software support. A Support Process was developed which gives both an overall process for a support staff member to follow and specific tasks to complete at each phase of the troubleshooting process. The Support Process also encourages support staff members to document hypotheses and the evidence that lead to those hypotheses. This will help with tracking progress as well as minimizing the risk of another support staff member having to repeat steps that have already been taken once a ticket is escalated or if a similar issue is reported in the future.