Thursday, March 12, 2009

It is my fault!

I did it! It is my fault! It was my idea that didn’t work! I fucked up!

I say the words and feel the relief flow through my body. Why? Because now the problem is under my control. One of the primary causes of stress is that the problem is beyond our control. So, just by acknowledging that the fault is mine, my stress level will lower and I will be in a better position to solve the problem. Now, when the problem is mine, I have plenty of options.


This will certainly solve the problem. It has unfortunate side-effects though.


If the problem is work-related, quitting will solve it. I may not get very good references from my employer, but maybe the employer is the problem in the first place. If the problem is not work-related, just decide that it is not worth the effort and quit, get divorced, throw your children out, whatever it takes.

Solve the actual problem

This is the path I usually choose, but it is good to know that the other options exist.

Programming Problems

For programming problems I usually find two gumption traps

I didn’t change anything

Sure I did, checking the status of the files, git status, quickly shows me that I made a number of changes. I can find the problem in one of those changes or I can just revert back to the previous working version and start over. A good reason for frequently checking in working code is that reverting to a previous version is less painful.

The stupid library isn’t working

Sure it is! The assertion is wrong. It should read The stupid library isn’t working as I expect it to! Now, I’m on the right track.

Why isn’t the stupid library working the way I expect it to? Because my expectations are wrong!

Did I RTFM? Yeah, kind of! All of it? Not bloody likely!

Do I know what all the things in the code means or did I just copy them from someone else? I copied some of it. Did the person I copied it from know what they were doing? I don’t know!

Whose fault is it then? Mine!

Is the stupid library really not working? No. Why am I using it? Because it solves a lot of other issues that I need to solve. Is it worth the effort? Yes? No?

Whose fault is it? Mine!

People Problems

People and process problems can be handled in a similar way. I find that many of them go away if we just realize that the problem is ours.

There is nothing wrong with Scrum, hell, there is not even anything wrong with RUP (even though I’ve written that in the past). The problem is ours.

The stupid process is not working! Sure it is! It should read the stupid process is not working as we expect it to!

The stupid process is not working as we expect it to! How do we expect it to work? Well, we don’t know. DOH!

Why is the stupid process not working as we expect it to? Because, we are not making it work as we expect it to.

Whose fault is it? Ours!

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