Common operational misconceptions

Owen DeLong owen at
Fri Feb 17 19:42:31 UTC 2012

I have found that the best solution to persistent hounding goes about like this:

"Sir, I'm doing everything I can to resolve the problem as quickly as possible. However, I can focus on giving you status updates every 5 minutes, or, I can focus on resolving the problem. I cannot do both. which would you prefer?"

As to the internal vs. external question, most organizations I've worked for have just wanted the problem solved. They didn't so much care whether I was taking a lot of time to solve it or the vendor was taking a lot of time to respond to me, they wanted the problem fixed and I was the one they could fire.

As such, it was in my interest to usually learn most of the systems better than the tech support folk at the other end of the phone.



On Feb 17, 2012, at 11:35 AM, George Bonser wrote:

>> A tech trying to troubleshoot it and fix it themselves is going to be
>> hounded every five minutes for status updates and won't be able to get
>> any work done because every five minutes (I kid you not, I have worked
>> where that is a requirement) he has to pull his head out of what he is
>> doing and answer a bunch of questions from the PHBs.  And you always
>> get "how long is it going to be" and you want to say "10 minutes longer
>> than it would have been if you hadn't interrupted me" but you bite your
>> tongue.
> Though the flip side of that is that if someone has been neck deep in a problem for hours, you should force them to take a break, go get a drink of water, step outside for fresh air or a smoke if they do, or just talk to a colleague for a moment and review the problem.  In my case, the stepping away for a few minutes has sometimes allowed the answer to the problem to suddenly snap into focus or in the process of describing it to someone else the forming of the thoughts to describe it often allows a new aspect of the problem to become visible that you hadn't noticed before.

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