Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"Houston here. We're looking for somebody to blame for your problem, 13."

Fix the Problem, Not the Blame

It doesn't really matter whether the bug is your fault or someone else's—it is still your problem, and it still needs to be fixed.

--The Pragmatic Programmer

I highly doubt that was the response to Jim Lovell after the line, "Houston, we have a problem." However, in our world of software development it still seems to be the first reaction to any issue that comes up.

I know in projects past, I've been a huge offender of looking for, "It's not MY fault," rather than fixing the problem at hand. Todd even nicknamed me Blameosaurus on one project because I got so good at looking for the blame. So, I'm not exempt from my own post here.

I've been a consultant for one company or another for over ten years now, and we're constantly thrown into burning buildings to get something working. There are a plethora of issues on day 1, and all too often those of us on the team spend too much time bitching about the issues and not enough time rolling up our sleeves to get things squared away. So, day 2 rolls around and we're in the same boat, and the same problem still exists.

That said, sometimes there is a right time to track somebody down that created a problem. Don't do it as a way to shame them, but rather for more clarification. Who knows what the situation as like at the time they made the error, and maybe it's a good time to help somebody learn something new.

I feel I'm still an offender of whipping out the blame thrower a bit too often, but I'm making a conscious effort to quit and move on with the solution.

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