One Size Does Not Fit All

  • SQLHammer

    Say Hey Kid

    Points: 669

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item One Size Does Not Fit All

    Derik Hammer
    @SQLHammer
    www.sqlhammer.com

  • Michael Valentine Jones

    SSC Guru

    Points: 64818

    "For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple--and wrong."

    H.L. Mencken, "The Divine Afflatus"

  • shoestringdba

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 6206

    Living this out right now in a way.

    After watching our Facilities people cringe every time someone asked them for a report on repairs and maintenance, I finally walked into their office and said, "Go find some facilities maintenance and repair packages that make sense and do what you need them to do. I'll help you with the technical part of it." Eventually we found a very nice third-party cloud-based solution that has them (and our management and accounting people) turning handsprings. It's not perfect, and I'm working on integrating the data with our other systems, but it's revolutionizing our Facilities department.

    They had been using one of those "one-size-fits-the-bottom-line" solutions which was terrible and not even made for the purpose of repair and maintenance (it tracked certification and validation - which is entirely different). One day when the main office discovered the current version of that software was going out of support, a huge search began for a replacement. One of the first things out of the mouths of executive managment was - you guessed it - we want a "one-size-fits-our-bottom-line" solution.

    And even though we offered the solution we had procured, the leading candidate right now is the newer version of the same crappy package they had before even though it will take a year and a half just to implement it and we're humming along nicely with our solution.

    Talk about the defintion of insanity...

    ____________
    Just my $0.02 from over here in the cheap seats of the peanut gallery - please adjust for inflation and/or your local currency.

  • Jerry Sommerville

    SSC Veteran

    Points: 271

    I agree, there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution in the world of Enterprise Systems. I have this long experience where I have seen the pendulum swing back and forth from "Solve the problem" to "Standardize Everything". The result is a never ending morass of opportunities that keep IT people employed and often frustrated. What we need is more experience on the bench, a practicle approach to managing day-to-day operations and a management oversight that understand the value of well run IT information systems that have true value and contribution to the bottom line instead of the endless stream of expenditures percieved as "fixing what's wrong" which has no real value to the executive in the corner office.

  • OCTom

    SSChampion

    Points: 11755

    crussell-931424 (7/16/2014)


    I can't count the number of times management has presented me with an assignment which is the solution to some problem they have. Once implemented and they realize the failure we end up asking what it is they are attempting to solve so that we can develop a workable solution.

    Why is it that the question "What are you trying to solve?" is many times the last question asked? :crazy:

    Tom

  • Eirikur Eiriksson

    SSC Guru

    Points: 182511

    On the line of George Orwell, "one-size-fits-all as not all sizes are equal"

    ๐Ÿ˜Ž

  • swwg69

    SSC Veteran

    Points: 294

    What is the most extreme case? You cannot lose a singe transaction when the earthquake hits.

    Write up a solution that handles that, then scale out to EVERY table in EVERY server.

    When they see the price tag, they may decide that one size does not fit all.

    Then again, they may want all of your test data retrievable.

    They may not be the IRS, so losing things won't be acceptable.

  • sqlhammer 72186

    SSChasing Mays

    Points: 621

    I appreciate everybody's comments. It seems obvious that this is a problem that we all experience regardless of the industry or product that we support.

    swwg69 hit the nail on the head by mentioning price. Often managers look at the price tag of the data tier as an aggregate of the hardware costs and software licensing costs. But there are management costs which need to be nailed down and communicated when moving to a more complicated architecture and then there are costs that are much harder to relate to currency. Those costs include development process limitations and deployment risks. With deployment risks also comes potential down time and bugs being injected.

    In the end, if a dollar value can be put on the decision then we can become more successful at educating those who do not hold our specialty.

    Best Regards,
    Derik Hammer
    www.sqlhammer.com

  • Miles Neale

    SSChampion

    Points: 13147

    OCTom (7/16/2014)


    crussell-931424 (7/16/2014)


    I can't count the number of times management has presented me with an assignment which is the solution to some problem they have. Once implemented and they realize the failure we end up asking what it is they are attempting to solve so that we can develop a workable solution.

    Why is it that the question "What are you trying to solve?" is many times the last question asked? :crazy:

    Tom

    It could be that once people understand what they are asking for others can put a cost on doing it, or those who understand the data and business model can tell the requestor that the data is not there to solve it.

    Not all gray hairs are Dinosaurs!

  • Eirikur Eiriksson

    SSC Guru

    Points: 182511

    Miles Neale (7/16/2014)


    OCTom (7/16/2014)


    crussell-931424 (7/16/2014)


    I can't count the number of times management has presented me with an assignment which is the solution to some problem they have. Once implemented and they realize the failure we end up asking what it is they are attempting to solve so that we can develop a workable solution.

    Why is it that the question "What are you trying to solve?" is many times the last question asked? :crazy:

    Tom

    It could be that once people understand what they are asking for others can put a cost on doing it, or those who understand the data and business model can tell the requestor that the data is not there to solve it.

    Sounds like the greatest consolidation and correlation problem ever, how to combine all the pinhole views into a perspective, worked on this for years and still it's a challenge.

    ๐Ÿ˜Ž

  • Gary Varga

    SSC Guru

    Points: 82166

    I tend to find that when there are a number of common scenarios that can be applied yet someone more senior wants a "one size fits all" solution defined that often they are appears by a single document that covers the various scenarios so that each occurrence can be categorised by one of the defined solutions. When something requires a different solution then either it needs to be documented as an exception or it adds a newly defined category.

    Of course, when specifying the defined applicable solution there might be technical details which need to be captured and applied that senior management neither need to know about nor care about.

    Gaz

    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

  • Alex Gay

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2208

    Have you ever had a discussion with your manager and he/she threw around phrases like โ€œout-of-the-boxโ€ and โ€œone-size-fits-all?โ€ If you have, then hopefully you were able to maintain a poker face and not cringe too much.

    I don't bother keeping a poker face, I just laugh.  Then ask what they want to achieve, and explain why what they want is impractical and provide one or two better solutions.
    As a quick example:
    They have said that "All SQL Servers should have the same backups set."
    I find out that they want to use the same backup method on all servers, but not necessarily the same schedule.  Old databases that are read only and are in simple mode do not need the same schedule, or frequent log backups, as the main OLTP database that is part of an AG with two read-only replicas. 
    This is easily solved by scripting the install and configuration of Ola Hallengren's backup scripts to use a standard method and configuration which can then be modified on a case by case basis (depending on the number of servers and databases you look after this may or may not be practical) or will encourage them to allow you to consolidate all of those read-only DBs on to one server, which you have been asking to do for years.
    Usually One-size-fits-all thinking is either at a higher level than you think, or is caused by not being aware of the hidden costs involved (such as several new shelves of SAN storage to accommodate the backups).

  • mjh 45389

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 5695

    Some years ago I was asked to write a module to automatically correct data anomalies. When I quoted a month I was told that "It is only a bit of programming" by someone whose programming experience was limited to Basic at college two decades earlier. It never happened and more man days than I had quoted were spent in the next year tackling the issues!

    Another person asked why it sometimes took (in their view) to write some queries and output into reports od various formats. In the ensuing conversation they showed they did not know what relational database tables were!!!

    I think part of the problem is that management is ever more seen as a skill and some companies think that if someone has an MBA they can manage what they do not understand! Sadly it often is not the case...

  • Chris Wooding

    SSCarpal Tunnel

    Points: 4349

    "One size fits all" could work if it applies in both directions. We are currently in the process of replacing a bespoke system with a package. The bespoke system allows almost infinitely variable fee structures; you want the fees to be based on the initials of the client's first grand-child - we can do that. Surprisingly, the package isn't so flexible. If the business wants the stability and cost reduction of an off-the-shelf package, they should accept that business practices must match that package. Unfortunately, someone somewhere is still selling unicorn poo!

  • David.Poole

    SSC Guru

    Points: 75395

    I feel that this is an endless cycle.  If you have an out-of-the-box solution change to bepoke development.  If you have bespoke development then change the other way.
    Trying to find out what problem people are trying to solve is extremely difficult.  I find people leap to solutions without clearly understanding their own problems let alone being able to articulate them.
    If they can articulate the problem take them through the five whys so they get the epiphany of the root cause.  When you boil down business processes to efficient common sense then IT's job becomes a lot simpler, more productive and better able to help the business in a proactive way.  God knows I've been involved in some "Inflatable Dartboard" projects in my time

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