Saturday, September 14, 2013

Why Humans Can't Solve Their Problems In Declining Civilizations

It is a complicated subject but the short answer is that they lose the capacity to see what the problems are.

If you don't know what the problem is, you will be incapable of solving it. This happens in software development all the time and many other human endeavors, I am sure. The boss insists that the problem is caused by a lack of positive thinking, when in fact the server simply does not have the correct protocols installed. The boss forbids anybody to suggest the problem is anything other than a lack of positive thinking. The boss knows if he waits long enough, the problem won't go away - it will be replaced in priority by other more serious problems that begin to accumulate as a result of simply being unable to say out loud ... the server does not have the right protocols installed. His nephew runs the server in a nepotistic deal with his company and his nephew tells him the problem is that his staff aren't thinking positive enough to make it work. So the problem becomes just one more intractable difficulty that piles up day by day until the company goes bankrupt. This is so common in my experience that I see it to be the rule, not the exception. You can see why the smart people will always be contractors in environments like these. You get paid no matter what happens and you get paid more.

After you've been doing it for a while, you'll start to recognize the path of least resistance. "Boss, I think you're right. We're not thinking positive enough about this problem. I will keep trying to think positive, you will keep paying my invoice every week and we'll just wait until the problem solves itself." It never does.


Eric J. Brooks said...

what you wrote describes perfectly the arms-length relationship I keep with my main client, and why I choose to operate in this way.

Amy said...

I ran into this in many of my jobs. Offer a simple, practical solution that does not require a 10 person team to democratically decide upon the proper bureaucratic channels to come to a consensus as to the proper course of action to get everyone involved and get their input so we can optimize use of time and get a cost-effective solution to...what was the problem again? The filing system is too complicated and redundant? We don't have time to fix what isn't broken! We have Important Things To Do!

I thought it was just me, being negative and ill-informed about nuances of business or teaching. I could see a clear path to my target, but was told to take a circuitous and redundant route to it. I used to think I was just not cut out for work. I know better now.

olebob said...

Incompetence and treason from the top to bottom.

Not only have they compromised systems, that protect internet users from hackers, they are giving unfiltered data to foreign countries.

lj3 said...

It's funny, things are getting so bad in the software development field I've had very similar conversations with "experienced" senior devs who should know better.

Rowan said...

I've been waiting 5 weeks to get an SSL certificate so we can do payments with our payment processor.

I keep getting back the same reply "do it without it for now".

No matter how I explain it, I keep getting the same answer.

I'm thinking of telling management that the code speaks to me and tells me it needs a certificate or it will bring down a plague upon our business if it doesn't get one.

Loonie bin or Messiah here I come!