What senior management? what team? is there? pray, how did you know about that?
When the only tool you're familiar with is X, all problems look like Y. :-)
this is not a general consultancy site
I don't have a problem with people answering at different levels of abstraction.
Date: 06 Sep 2000 07:59:58 -0700
From: email@example.com (Randal L. Schwartz)
Subject: The XY problem (was Re: CGI.pm: controlling Back & Reload)
It's important for me as a person who's been on the listening end of
questions for many years, and who has to listen professionally (and
most of the time answer professionally) to realize that all problems
are pieces of solutions to larger problems. (Think about it a second,
and you'll see that its necessarily so, all the way back to "why the
heck did I get out of bed today?", if not higher.) So, to answer
question Y, without understanding larger problem (the context) X, will
most likely *not* help them entirely with X. I actually consider
that a bit irresponsible.
How it shows up in the chatrooms (or even live, but rarer) is that
someone will say "how do I do Y?". I usually take a deep breath
before answering, and try to understand who a person would have to be
to *ask* about Y, and make sure that I know enough about all possible
X's to verify that an answer is invariant (doesn't depend) on those.
Often, my spider sense will tingle, and I start asking the context
questions, but at the same time, I see a lot of other people answering
the Y question literally. More often than not, they have presumed too
much, and it sends the person off with premature answer that really
doesn't help solve X or Y entirely.
So, the key is to listen, and try to crawl inside the head of the
requestor to see why they would even have that question. It helps to
be appropriate. When I'm doing it live while teaching, it also keeps
me on my toes, as I have to do this in a way that respects the
questioner *and* still keeps the rest of the classroom interested.
Fun, and challenging at the same time. It's one of the parts of
teaching that I most enjoy.
I reckon we are the only monastery ever to have a dungeon stuffed with 16,
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