It Depends

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 721111

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item It Depends

  • Jeff Moden

    SSC Guru

    Points: 997218

    In other words, what we do "depends" on what situation. And that's how it should be. We need some rules, we need to enforce them, but we also need exceptions to those rules. We need flexibility in how to apply them, recognizing that the rule exists to handle one, or many situations, but not all of them.

    There's two basic rules I follow... always do the best you can and absolute honesty... there is no "It Depends" for me in either of those areas. I've never been punished for either no matter how bad the news may be. Maybe it's all part of having run the whole gambit from Developer to Manager to Director and back again (all by personal choice) and having the silver tongue to go along with it, but I expect it from my people and it's what I practice with my supervisors and managment.

    Oh yeah... about the picture you chose... some will look at it and see two profiles of people facing each other... others will see a vase. I see two people facing a vase... and it's full to the rim! 😛

    --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.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".
    "Dear Lord... I'm a DBA so please give me patience because, if you give me strength, I'm going to need bail money too!"

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

  • Rudyx - the Doctor

    SSC-Forever

    Points: 43696

    In a world of what appears to be absolutes, the illusion of control or lack of it, one will be the most successful when they learn to both see and act in the 'grey'.

    RegardsRudy KomacsarSenior Database Administrator"Ave Caesar! - Morituri te salutamus."

  • blandry

    SSCarpal Tunnel

    Points: 4821

    The only problem with "it depends" comes when some process, task or effort stalls while someone endlessly utters "it depends" based on some as yet unknown future element. This can stop business in its tracks.

    I read somewhere that a young child makes over 2 million mistakes within the first three years of life. I don't know about the number, but the point of the article was that we ALL learn by doing the wrong thing first, then correcting and most of the time, learning the right thing to do. The problem is that this, this most important learning cycle in anyone's life, ends at some arbitrary point and everyone expects everyone else to "do the right thing". We all know thats a panacea.

    Instead of "it depends" I encourage my team to try solutions and not to fear making mistakes, reminding them as my father used to remind me, that mistakes are guideposts on the road to success. Granted this is not a blanket policy, but I would guess most people who sit down to write a complex SQL Query do not write them all perfectly on the first pass - indeed we all probably make a mistake or two, and then refine our way to something great.

    The only thing that flames my tail and gets me angry is when any team member is constantly uttering "it depends" and a job is not even getting out of the starting blocks. Simply put, anyone who drives to work in the morning could potentially be killed or injured by a falling UFO - it just depends on whether the aliens are trying to land that morning on the roads that person is using. But I certainly would not keep an employee around who calls in every morning to say he/she won't becoming in because "it depends" on whether the roads are safe from aliens.

    "It depends" is a nice idea, but eventually you have to get off your bottom and get moving. I would rather say to my people "don't fear mistakes - try something and if it turns out it doesn't work, go another direction" - but whatever you do, don't hold up progress with endless "it depends" scenarios.

    There's no such thing as dumb questions, only poorly thought-out answers...
  • Bill Nicolich

    SSCommitted

    Points: 1865

    There seems to be two opposing forces at work in the big picture--a dialectic if you will between tradeoffs and options. One force is the constant setting of guideposts and best practices. As people recognize certain reoccurring patterns, people learn the tradeoffs and set up rules for others to follow. The other force is the constant building of tools and solutions for new and existing problems. The more tools and solutions that are available, the more decisions have to be made about which to use in various situations, and new challenges open up with new technologies. That's the reality, it seems.

    There are certain personalities that are more comfortable than others with territory where the dialectic of innovation is extreme and others that will try to stay comfortably within territory where things are pretty cut and dry.

    There's probably also a natural tendency for beginners to start out in orthodox territory and then move out into unorthodox territory.

    Also, I think there are obvious market forces that will create incentives for people to develop the skills and expertise to move from the safer territory to the more ambiguous, challenging territory where fewer people are comfortable, and where some consultants seem to make a good bit of elf gold.

    The natural forces of the market will create an equilibrium and all seems right with the world. However, because we're human, one might wish one weren't faced with tradeoffs and could have it all now without paying the price--and one might never be happy or come to terms with the territory.

    Maybe there's no point to this set of observations except that the dialectic of innovation gives one an opportunity to learn about oneself which in turn unlocks the option to make a decision and change course.

    Bill Nicolich: www.SQLFave.com.
    Daily tweet of what's new and interesting: AppendNow

  • David Reed-223505

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2456

    Ah, those rose-colored glasses that cover starry eyes... It's so heart-warming to watch them grow up, isn't it? A little bit more historical anthropology in high school and college would help people understand why humans evolved social hierarchies, peckings orders, what have you.

    :hehe:

    My dream company would has no employees, only shareholders. We will eat nothing but chocolate and drink nothing but ambrosia (whatever that's made of, it probably has lots of caffeine). We will ship no product before it's quality is 100% perfect. And... The trick is that I know it's a dream and very unlikely to work in this life.

    😎

    Which reminds me. April Fool's is coming up. I hate April Fool's Day.

  • GSquared

    SSC Guru

    Points: 260824

    The problem with "it depends" is that some people end up "stuck in a maybe", which results in nothing happening at all. Quite often, it's better to decide something than to leave things in "maybe", even if the something decided on turns out to be less than perfect.

    When "it depends" is followed by a concerted effort to gather necessary information in order to make a decision, and the effort is commensurate to the importance and cost of both the data gathering and the situation being resolved, "it depends" is a good thing.

    All to often, however, people will spend more effort on "it depends" than the situation actually warrants. This is as true of management/social interaction situations as technical ones.

    The quest for "perfection" often gets in the way of getting "good enough" done.

    - Gus "GSquared", RSVP, OODA, MAP, NMVP, FAQ, SAT, SQL, DNA, RNA, UOI, IOU, AM, PM, AD, BC, BCE, USA, UN, CF, ROFL, LOL, ETC
    Property of The Thread

    "Nobody knows the age of the human race, but everyone agrees it's old enough to know better." - Anon

  • DPhillips-731960

    Hall of Fame

    Points: 3904

    Most of the "it depends" moments I see come while discussing reporting with management... or anyone who doesn't understand data collection and reporting very well.

    "I want such and such report. Can I have it?"

    "It depends if you want to support the (data entry/hardware/segmentation of data/want me to drop or delay current priorities/etcetra)."

  • stan-817395

    Valued Member

    Points: 54

    I tend to think of rules as "guidelines". I haven't encountered many rules that haven't been bent or broken.

    As for "it depends". I put it in the process of problem solving. There aren't many win-win situations. When they happen!! Yoo Hoo! But, generally there are goods and bads with each solution. "It depends" on which bads you can live with!

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 721111

    It depends certainly doesn't mean you shouldn't move forward. It does mean that you should question and reassess yourself and your decisions regularly. make sure your assumptions and reasons for doing something still apply.

    And then do it.

  • John Erdovegi

    SSC Veteran

    Points: 256

    blandry (3/25/2009)


    The only problem with "it depends" comes when some process, task or effort stalls while someone endlessly utters "it depends" based on some as yet unknown future element. This can stop business in its tracks.

    I read somewhere that a young child makes over 2 million mistakes within the first three years of life. I don't know about the number, but the point of the article was that we ALL learn by doing the wrong thing first, then correcting and most of the time, learning the right thing to do. The problem is that this, this most important learning cycle in anyone's life, ends at some arbitrary point and everyone expects everyone else to "do the right thing". We all know thats a panacea.

    Instead of "it depends" I encourage my team to try solutions and not to fear making mistakes, reminding them as my father used to remind me, that mistakes are guideposts on the road to success. Granted this is not a blanket policy, but I would guess most people who sit down to write a complex SQL Query do not write them all perfectly on the first pass - indeed we all probably make a mistake or two, and then refine our way to something great.

    The only thing that flames my tail and gets me angry is when any team member is constantly uttering "it depends" and a job is not even getting out of the starting blocks. Simply put, anyone who drives to work in the morning could potentially be killed or injured by a falling UFO - it just depends on whether the aliens are trying to land that morning on the roads that person is using. But I certainly would not keep an employee around who calls in every morning to say he/she won't becoming in because "it depends" on whether the roads are safe from aliens.

    "It depends" is a nice idea, but eventually you have to get off your bottom and get moving. I would rather say to my people "don't fear mistakes - try something and if it turns out it doesn't work, go another direction" - but whatever you do, don't hold up progress with endless "it depends" scenarios.

    Q. Well how good are you?

    A. I've made just about every mistake I can, so what's left is perfection.

    Actually I'm glad there is room for more mistakes and closer to the perception of perfection. Everything is just a perception.

    --- Just-A-Mystery / Just A Mister E.

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