Troubleshooting Best Practices

Engaged Diagnostics
Engaged Diagnostics is a methodology in providing high quality technical support by engaging the customer as a partner in the process while troubleshooting an issue to resolution.
1. Acknowledge the issue and its importance
a. Restate the problem and your understanding of the impact to the customer. Use reflexive statements to assure the customer you understand and are answering the right question. Example: "From the description of the issue, here are the steps, article, forum thread, possible approaches..."
b. If the impact is unknown, ask questions to reveal the impact
c. If the customer's goal is not clear, ask clarifying questions. Example: "Some more background on your ultimate goal may allow us to provide an answer that better fits the solution being sought"

2. Share what you know about the issue in a positive manner
a. Never deride the product's failures or challenges.
b. Communicating limitations may be necessary, but try to provide a supportable workaround where possible. If the workaround is not supportable, it is not a workaround and should NEVER be offered.

3. Pick up the phone
a. It doesn't make any sense to burn 5 email cycles to get a customer to attempt a few tests that would take 15 minutes if guided with you on the phone.
b. Telephone conversations are sometimes much more effective for getting information and seeing the whole context as customers often don't know they are staring at an important clue.
c. Use the feature, read existing documentation and review any related Support cases where this same feature was troubleshot - you may just wind up walking them through the manual
d. Know what you are going to test!
e. Verify your test on your own local installation!
i. Perform a local reproduction first.
ii. Make sure you know the steps and that you know what both success and failure look like.
f. Know what you are going to collect if all else fails. Sometimes, gathering this list is the exercise that gets you the best ideas for troubleshooting, but also becomes your case documentation and possible bug data

4. Provide a resolution or propose a potential resolution
a. Based on a sound understanding of the issue and your knowledge of the product and systems, this step resolves the case in many instances
b. Offer 'how', not simply 'why not ...’. Positive, forward-leaning, solution selling is the goal.
c. Base resolution steps on documentation and your knowledge of the product/systems used
d. Explain why the solution is the best valid solution
e. If alternate solutions exist, explain why these solutions may not be the best solution

5. Follow up with information needed to continue researching the issue if the solution provided does not resolve the issue
a. What next? This not only shows you are fully engaged in the solution, but also reduces email cycles to provide next steps.
b. What if your theories do not work, what next? Logs, TWBX, screenshots, more details about the circumstances, more steps to attempt, tests to complete (in other environments, with other client software)?
c. Provide the customer with the reasons for the information requested where possible

Engaged Diagnostics
Engaged Diagnostics is a methodology in providing high quality technical support by engaging the customer as a partner in the process while troubleshooting an issue to resolution. The Goal is to establish trust and form a working partnership with the Customer
Remember: To practice Engaged Diagnostics, you must troubleshoot by:
Examining the case
Noting the history
Goal setting - verify and work towards
Acting with a plan
Getting the data
Exploring the data
Determining next steps

Quick Tips:
Be aware of the currently supported versions of Tableau, and when versions become unsupported
• When will Tableau stop supporting version X.X?
• What’s the quickest way to check older versions of the documentation?
• The base URL for Online Help is This URL can be modified for previous versions by specifying what version after the trailing slash. will always return documentation for the current version. - Current Version - 9.2
• How can the localised documentation be checked against the original English version?
• Server Administrator Guide
• Knowledge Base
• For non-English languages, replace “en-us” in the URL with the appropriate language code. Codes for other languages are as follows:
• French – fr-fr
• German – de-de
• Japanese – ja-jp
• Korean – ko-kr
• Mandarin – zh-cn
• Portuguese – pt-br
• Spanish – es-es

Be aware of the information in our Technical Specifications page
• Supported OS versions
• Supported data sources
• Supported browsers
Be aware of our localization limits
• Not all KBs are translated (we are working to improve this)
• Translated KB:
• Untranslated KB:
• Release notes are in English only!

Be aware of explicitly unsupported scenarios:
• Generic ODBC connections (refer to the natively supported data sources list)
• Custom SQL
• Sparkler
• Web Data Connector (WDC)
• Tabmon/Tabjolt
• REST API, Javascript API, Tableau SDK
• IT infrastructure setup/configuration
• Proxy configuration
• Firewall configuration
• Impact of third-party software (OS, monitoring tools, anti-virus)
• Running Windows Updates at the same time as Tableau Server is creating a backup
• Running live AV scans whilst Tableau Server is starting up

Tableau Technical Support Expectations
Technical specifications are important, especially for Production machines
• 8 cores, 32GB RAM is the current minimum for 9.x
• More memory is always a good idea (and more cores if possible)
Recommend that customers upgrade regularly (once every 6 months)
• Customers should use test environments to verify new versions
• Release Notes should be reviewed regularly to see when a security vulnerability or serious issue is fixed
Reinforce statements from Support
• Upgrade requests
• Insufficient technical specifications
• Root Cause Analysis result
Scope of Support
• What can Support assist with? Break/fix support, with some how-to advice
• When is Professional Services a better option? Tableau Server sizing questions, workbook performance tuning
• Setting customer expectations

Getting Started – Some Example Cases:
1. Tableau Server performance issue
• Customer’s issue: Prolonged high CPU/memory usage, slow rendering of views
• What should we ask the customer for?
• Tech specs
• Version
• Number of concurrent users
• One workbook or all workbooks?
• If one workbook, how does Tableau Desktop perform?
• Test Tableau Desktop installed on the Tableau Server machine
• Reproduction steps
• CPU/RAM usage during the performance issue

2. Installation / Upgrade issue
• Customer’s issue: Upgrade completes but Tableau Server fails to start; backup does not restore…
• What should we ask the customer for?
o Screenshot of the error
o Check tabadmin.log for an error
o Check process-specific logs
o If PostgreSQL does not start, check Postgres logs
o Installation/upgrade steps
o What was the previous version? What is the new version?

3. Browser Rendering Issues
• Customer’s issue: Browser Rendering error is reported  
• What should we ask the customer for?
o Even if they can only use one browser, try another browser anyway
o Does the issue occur with Server rendering (add ?:render=false)?
o Screenshot of the browser developer tools console (F12)
• What should we ask the partner for?
o If the customer can provide a sample workbook, it is possible to reproduce the issue?

4. Extract Refresh Issues
a. Customer’s issue: Scheduled refresh fails  
b. What should we ask the customer for?
o Does the refresh work if the customer uses “Run Now”?
o Is more than one extract refresh failing, or just one?
o Is there anything in common? Same type of data source, or the same database
o Screenshot of the Background Tasks admin page, showing the tooltip