Monday, 5 August 2013

Thought Picnic: Step Away

Break the cycle
Stepping away is sometimes the best way to get a new perspective to solving a problem, at least that is what I have learnt time and again when met with thorny issues.
There comes a time when you are caught in the cycle of thinking the same way of tackling a problem that the ideas proffered almost seem like clutching at straws for survivor defying common-sense and logic as proposal after proposal is given to take the issue from simply implausible to a looming impossibility.
It’s a challenge, not a nail
The times we have gathered to hammer at the problem to the point that everything looks like a nail, exhausted out of pressures to perform and resolve with the obstinacy that takes to the fore as if sending a print job to the office LaserJet printer more than once will eventually create the pressure to force the clearing of a paper jam – Alas, a printer does not work like a sink drain, the wisdom of the plunger will not apply.
Whereas, I have been more pragmatic, indeed, a serious problem needs a prompt solution, a thorny problem however needs a clear understanding as to the reasons for the problem before one can begin to craft a solution, either temporary or progressively deployed towards a permanent one.
You don’t have to tackle the obvious
I remember one situation where our network was invaded by a malicious worm that basically stopped our ability to continue a deployment. My boss was particular that the deployment kept to schedule, but I knew that without curtailing the worm which effectively compromised systems before protection kicked it, there was no way we could continue deployments, in fact, no deployment was possible.
In the end, though unbeknownst to my boss, what we had to do was novel, put in a step at the very beginning of the deployment process that removed the worm from vulnerable systems and in so doing so we protected the systems enough to complete the deployments and install a more managed process of handling malware.
Basically, whilst the immediate issue to my boss was fulfilling quotas for deployment, the solution was primarily in focusing on curtailing the spread of the worm and eventually eradicating the menace.
Cool heads, brisk action
Once, I was away on holiday and my colleagues were worked almost to exhaustion to manage a virus outbreak, a situation I tried to monitor whilst I was away.
Strangely, when I returned, a colleague suggested, if I was around, the situation might have been handled with calmer heads and probably better – I guess in times of chaos, having a cool head when everyone appears to be running around like headless chickens is one of the ways to make things happen when things don’t seem to be happening at all.
I might look laidback, if only you knew the computations going on in my head and the way I would prefer people on the case for more than 8 hours left and got some rest to return the next day with fresh eyes, fresh ideas and new thinking – the world will not end and since it is not a heart-and-lung machine critical to life, then no one will die because we are being methodically measured in unravelling a conundrum.

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