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Re: Common operational misconceptions
From: Owen DeLong <owen () delong com>
Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2012 11:42:31 -0800

I have found that the best solution to persistent hounding goes about like this:

"Sir, I'm doing everything I can to resolve the problem as quickly as possible. However, I can focus on giving you 
status updates every 5 minutes, or, I can focus on resolving the problem. I cannot do both. which would you prefer?"

As to the internal vs. external question, most organizations I've worked for have just wanted the problem solved. They 
didn't so much care whether I was taking a lot of time to solve it or the vendor was taking a lot of time to respond to 
me, they wanted the problem fixed and I was the one they could fire.

As such, it was in my interest to usually learn most of the systems better than the tech support folk at the other end 
of the phone.



On Feb 17, 2012, at 11:35 AM, George Bonser wrote:

A tech trying to troubleshoot it and fix it themselves is going to be
hounded every five minutes for status updates and won't be able to get
any work done because every five minutes (I kid you not, I have worked
where that is a requirement) he has to pull his head out of what he is
doing and answer a bunch of questions from the PHBs.  And you always
get "how long is it going to be" and you want to say "10 minutes longer
than it would have been if you hadn't interrupted me" but you bite your

Though the flip side of that is that if someone has been neck deep in a problem for hours, you should force them to 
take a break, go get a drink of water, step outside for fresh air or a smoke if they do, or just talk to a colleague 
for a moment and review the problem.  In my case, the stepping away for a few minutes has sometimes allowed the 
answer to the problem to suddenly snap into focus or in the process of describing it to someone else the forming of 
the thoughts to describe it often allows a new aspect of the problem to become visible that you hadn't noticed before.

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