Don't Be Afraid to Question "Why Are We Doing It This Way?"

"A boy asked his mother how come she cuts off the edges of a pot roast when putting it into the pot. Mother told him that that’s how her mother taught her to do. So, boy went to his grandmother and he got the same answer. Then he went to his grand-grandmother and ask her the same question. The answer was: Well, back then my pot was to small and the meat didn’t fit inside." – Steve Maguire’s book Debugging the Development Process.

Sort of playing off my last post

IT and Development Best Practice: Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should..

You shouldn’t be afraid to as "Why are we doing this again?" Usually in business and IT/Development the answer is: "That is the way it was when I got here, so we just kept doing it that way." Now I am not saying that every practice and procedure in place is bad or wrong, what I am saying is that you should not be afraid to ask why a certain thing is done the way it is done.

"Why are we using batch files to do XYZ?" – now we can use VBS/C#/PowerShell/One Line CMD, etc

"Why are we using MS Access as a backend?" – now we can use SQL2005!

"Why do we have 18 steps to get something approved?" – now we can streamline it and speed up everything!

"Why am I doing more documentation than programming?" – documentation goes out of date 2 minutes after it is completed, let’s self-document our code with unit tests!

"Why do I spend more time in meetings that actually working?" – do you really need to be in all those meetings? Can it be solved without a meeting? Via Email? Phone? Small face to face talk?

and the list keeps going, but you get the idea…

Always question "Why?" and sometimes you will see that things are just being done because that is the way it has always been. Don’t be afraid to change things when you do see they need to be as well. Like it is always said – "there is always room for improvement"

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By Steve Novoselac

Director of Digital Technology @TrekBikes, Father, Musician, Cyclist, Homebrewer

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