May 12, 2020

The blame game

by Tania du Plooy in Insights, News
The blame game

By Emile Biagio, Sintrex CTO

In these challenging times, it is interesting watching the politics evolve. A couple of months ago USA and China were big buddies – and now look at them… flinging mud at each other regarding the origin of COVID-19.

It reminds me of us IT geeks when systems or applications start giving issues. The problem is never on our side. It must be on your side! Always.

The legacy scenario looked something like this: the Network Department says it’s not the network, it must be the application; the Application Team then says it’s not an application issue, it must be the database or maybe the server CPU.

Enter cloud and work-from-home, and the “us” and “them” finger pointing has no limits. It is your home Wi-Fi, or your ISP, or your VPN, or your application provider, or it’s that friggin’ undersea fibre cable again… who knows?

That is currently the reality. COVID-19 has forced many companies into a digital transformation, whether they wanted it or not.

I’ve been watching this evolve over the last couple of weeks and it’s fascinating. Everything is working relatively well, but if a few executives at home decide that something is not working well enough, then chaos erupts.

Payments are withheld, cages are rattled, mud is flung – and we all start pointing fingers like we’re looking for Douglas Green!

Don’t you find that you usually have to prove that the problem does not lie on your side by probing into someone else’s domain? Any message or metric that can be used to show problems on “the other end” will be used as ammunition.

The reality is that some IT operations are more mature than others, meaning that their staff have control. They know how things work, how systems fit together and always know the moment there is a glitch in the matrix.

Others sadly rely on fault finding methods only when they are called upon to do so (i.e. when the execs start losing their marbles).

Inherently (for some odd reason), we as humans don’t like to share everything – much like political leaders.

How many times during heated sessions to resolve issues have problems just disappeared? Someone fixed something but was not mature enough to fess up and share their learnings.

I personally think that owning up to issues and explaining what happened demonstrates high intelligence and not only matures operations and systems – it also matures relationships with and between key stakeholders of the system.

It makes the next glitch so much easier to investigate. It’s also so much easier to work with people that are mature enough to say, “I don’t know, but I’ll take a look” or “I don’t know, can you help me?”.

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
” – John Lennon / Paul McCartney

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