A little while ago I was contacted to see if I could help an elderly member of my congregation, she needed some help building a mail box post. The phone call went something like this
her: Do you have a table saw?
me: ya, what do you need?
her: I need to cut up a 4x4 post
me: ok, what are you building?
her: A mail box post and I need to cut some braces at 45 degree angle, you can do that with a table saw right?
me: Bring your stuff over and I’ll help you build it.
This is a perfect example of someone who knew what they needed, but not how to get it. What she needed was some supports cut with 45 degree angles, and she knew that a table saw could make 45 degree angle cuts, and true a table was could do it, BUT it’s really not the right tool, you’re far better off using a miter saw.
This got me thinking how often we as “tech” have been asked to do something only later to find out it’s really not what they needed or wanted.
a possible example:
marketing: we need a share point server.
tech: sure, who needs access
marketing: The graphics designer
tech: you want a share point server for one person?
tech: what is she going to use it for?
marketing: tracking the changes made to images
tech: you want a share point server to track image images revisions
marketing: yes, is there a problem with that?
tech: Let me show you subversion.
This is a very good example of someone having a need and coming up with a solution without consulting with anyone, and asking for the solution without explaining the problem. In this case I used a marketing person, but this could just as easily be a developer not consulting with operations, or a DBA not consulting with the developers.
Far to often we are asked to do things with little or not explanation to the problem we are providing a solution for and we don’t ask questions as to what we are solving and this really is a disservice to who we are helping.