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Asking the Right Questions

March 5, 2019

I love the approach expressed in this tweet:
Brad Geesaman @bradgeesaman

Instead of asking “Why didn’t you just use X?” Ask: “Was solution X considered?” You’ll 9/10 times get a really good reason and 10/10 times not make yourself sound arrogant and accusatory.

Have you ever wondered how a particular implementation was ever approved? Why was this choice made instead of something simpler or easier?
Short answer: Often it isn't that simple. It's important to understand that, even when the technical solution seems obvious to you, there may be political or other considerations in play behind the scenes that you know nothing about.
It may seem simple to you: What do you mean you didn't mirror that logical volume to begin with? What do you mean you never tested your backups before today? What do you mean you only gave 0.1 CPU to that VIO server? Why?as stated in the tweet?didn’t you just do X?
It's important though to be open to other possibilities. Some answers may surprise you. 
Sometimes systems that are set up as test machines morph into production machines, and decisions that were perfectly fine for testing weren't revisited. Obviously there could be skills gaps; those involved did the best they could with the information that they had at the time. Beyond that, requirements change; what once worked great will no longer cut it. Maybe sufficient resources are lacking, either in hardware or personnel, to implement requests. I've seen situations where technical employees are overruled and a non-IT decision maker dictates system configuration.
There could be a hundred reasons why your "no-brainer" solution to this obvious problem wasn't used. Part of our job is to understand and deal with the constraints that are in place. It's not our place to simply chime in with some quick fix. Especially when you're being brought into a new situation, make sure you take the time to really listen before making suggestions, and make sure your questions are the right ones.
Remember, things change. A few years from now, someone may walk in and wonder about the solution you implemented. "Well why didn’t he (you) think of this?

Posted March 5, 2019| Permalink

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