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Where are the good Senior Level DBA's? Expand / Collapse
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Posted Friday, May 25, 2012 6:33 AM


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The kind of "blame"/"responsibility" being proposed here is the healthy kind. Find out who messed up and why, and educate them on the right way to do it. That's a good thing.

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Post #1306507
Posted Friday, May 25, 2012 8:41 AM


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Oliiii (5/25/2012)

Ah, here is why you don't seem to get what i say
I'm not talking about any failure or incident. I'm only talking about mistake.
When things go right (failure is handled correctly and so on...) it doesn't reach us, when something reach us that mean something went wrong and it wasn't handled correctly (in other word, someone made a mistake).

So we don't really care if a disk crashes, that happen all the time, we care if it crashes and it was not protected by a raid when it should have been (specifically requested or by default), and in this case that is a mistake by the storage team so they are the one to be blamed for the issue.

The result of that blame might not be some guy being shouted at by his manager, it might simply end up by the team being reinforced by 2 more peoples because their management found out they made the mistake because they were simply overworked.


With the amount of applications we have for SQL Server alone, even if an application has an avg of 1 big issue every 10 years (that's being massively optimistic), that's still over 2 per day for us. So i might seem a bit hard on some issue or ways to work, but once you start managing a lot of servers and DB there are things you can't do anymore and everyone needs to do their work correctly.

By applying that way of working to our team first we managed to get from hundreds of incidents a week to only 1 or 2 and we expect to reach 1 or 2 a month by the end of the year.

By starting to assign blame to the right team we went from having a bunch of monkey in the staging dept to a system that can stage physical and VM in minutes.
That may not seem like something incredible for some but heck, a year ago they gave us a few clusters with one windows 2008 node and one Windows 2003, a few month ago we were happy if we had to spend less than a day fixing configuration issues on brand new clusters, so by keeping pointing fingers in the same direction for valid reasons they finally got the budget, formations and manpower required to deliver a good quality service...

We explain to people as nicely as possible as often as we can, but that doesn't work for everyone or is not always possible. Assigning blame to some team can be done by just letting them know something should have been done differently and letting the business know exactly what happened without trying to cover things up.

We are seeing very good and very real improvement only because we started to blame the right people.
Each blame we made always ended up with an overall improvement. We may have bruised a few ego but things always ends up better for everyone.


I get what you are saying, I just disagree with how you are saying it. I personally have a problem with finding who is "to blame" for a problem/mistake/error. There is too much negative connotation with the phrase "to blame" because it is used more often than not when trying to deflect responsibility.

I don't care how nicely you may put it, but once you use the phrase "you are to blame" with me, I am already on the defensive, even when I know I may have made the mistake or error.

I am all for identifying the who, what, why, where, how of a problem, error or mistake, and for identifying policies or procedures that will prevent or mitigate such problems, errors or mistakes from happening again. It is necessary for improvement of individuals, groups, and organizations.

My suggestion, move away from using the phrase "to blame." In my opinion there is just too much of a negative connotation to this phrase.




Lynn Pettis

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Post #1306623
Posted Friday, May 25, 2012 8:52 AM
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I get what you are saying, I just disagree with how you are saying it. I personally have a problem with finding who is "to blame" for a problem/mistake/error. There is too much negative connotation with the phrase "to blame" because it is used more often than not when trying to deflect responsibility.

I don't care how nicely you may put it, but once you use the phrase "you are to blame" with me, I am already on the defensive, even when I know I may have made the mistake or error.

I am all for identifying the who, what, why, where, how of a problem, error or mistake, and for identifying policies or procedures that will prevent or mitigate such problems, errors or mistakes from happening again. It is necessary for improvement of individuals, groups, and organizations.

My suggestion, move away from using the phrase "to blame." In my opinion there is just too much of a negative connotation to this phrase.


Very well said, Lynn.
Post #1306631
Posted Friday, May 25, 2012 8:59 AM
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I'm with you. Blame is absolutely a negative word.

"Who is responsible" is nicer but still smacks of my mother being mad about something and demanding to know "who is responsible for this??"

If staffed with mature individuals that know their responsibilities and accept consequences of actions in areas for which they are responsible, there can be good change.

But "blame" sounds a lot like sitting around pointing fingers and shaming people. not an environment I could stay in long (been in them, left them). On the job I have now, we all work closely together and each is responsible for certain aspects. If something goes wrong, we each look through our own areas to determine the Cause, vs blame.

Happily, we each readily admit our errors when we find them because we know that others have work intertwined with our own and impacts are rarely isolated to "just my stuff" and we don't have time to do anything but fix the problem. we don't have time nor room for egos and accept that each of us is imperfect and will make mistakes.

We do post-mortems later to see what we have learned by what went right, what went wrong, and what we had to abandon because we just couldn't make it happen correctly.

It sounds like the Blame scenario doesn't get personal so maybe it's just how it was phrased. But based on some jobs I have had, the word Blame is absolutely negative to me.
Post #1306640
Posted Friday, May 25, 2012 9:46 AM


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herladygeekedness (5/25/2012)
I'm with you. Blame is absolutely a negative word.

"Who is responsible" is nicer but still smacks of my mother being mad about something and demanding to know "who is responsible for this??"


I tend to agree here. The best way I've seen to handle this in the past is a review of "what went wrong" and "what could we have done to prevent this?" without any discussion of who missed something.

Focus on the future, building better DR planning. If management doesn't every single out people and only events, it becomes easier to accept mistakes and improve for the future.







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Post #1306681
Posted Friday, May 25, 2012 5:55 PM


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Heh... I just call it a "post mortem review"... that way everyone is equally insulted.

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Post #1306867
Posted Friday, May 25, 2012 6:01 PM
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I always blame Chuck Norris when anything goes wrong. He is unstoppable.

Chuck Norris was born on May 6th, 1945
Nazi Germany surrendered on May 7th, 1945.
Post #1306874
Posted Friday, May 25, 2012 8:24 PM


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JamesMorrison (5/25/2012)
I always blame Chuck Norris when anything goes wrong. He is unstoppable.

Chuck Norris was born on May 6th, 1945
Nazi Germany surrendered on May 7th, 1945.


Nice joke, but, he was born March 10, 1940 .



Lynn Pettis

For better assistance in answering your questions, click here
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Post #1306894
Posted Friday, May 25, 2012 10:08 PM


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Lynn Pettis (5/25/2012)
JamesMorrison (5/25/2012)
I always blame Chuck Norris when anything goes wrong. He is unstoppable.

Chuck Norris was born on May 6th, 1945
Nazi Germany surrendered on May 7th, 1945.


Nice joke, but, he was born March 10, 1940 .


That also means that he didn't start it.


--Jeff Moden
"RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for "Row-By-Agonizing-Row".

First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column."

(play on words) "Just because you CAN do something in T-SQL, doesn't mean you SHOULDN'T." --22 Aug 2013

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to post performance problems
Post #1306903
Posted Friday, May 25, 2012 10:57 PM
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Chuck Norris can gargle peanut butter.

Chuck Norris can slam a revolving door.

Chuck Norris can design databases so amazing that they don't even need indexes.
Post #1306907
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