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“oh, no, I don’t want to duplicate the work” September 12, 2008

Posted by That Guy in Did I Hear That Right?.
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Dramatis Personae:

Jerry: A guy who works in the office.
Kevin: Another guy who works in the office and sits near Jerry.

The Facts Are These:

(Some information has been changed to protect the industry That Guy works in.)

As you may know, Tuesday is Update Day for Windows products. Well, one of our branches (let’s say the one in Green Bay, WI) built a piece of software that my branch (which is in, let’s say, Denver, CO) needs to use this weekend. We tested it last week and it was fine, but the WI branch experienced some difficulties with the software after update day. Our office will be using it starting on Sunday, and only heard about the difficulties via hearsay.

Jerry and Kevin were sitting in the office, and Jerry said to Kevin, “I wonder if anyone here called the Wisconsin office to ask them if any steps needed to be taken to fix this software package.”

Kevin, who does not work in the same department as Jerry but still sits near him, said, “I can get their number for you, if you want.”

Jerry said, “oh, no, I don’t want to duplicate the work if it’s already been done.”

Here are some things Jerry could’ve done instead of saying that.

1. Checked the system logs to see if anyone’s noted any difficulties with the software in a testing environment and begun fixing it.
2. Checked the Sharepoint site to see if anyone’s contacted the Wisconsin office.
3. Contact the Wisconsin office.
4. Run a test of the software to see if any work needs to be done or has already been done.

Now, Jerry has a point… there’s no really good reason to duplicate work. But perhaps instead of counting on someone else to do it, he could’ve taken some proactive steps. (Jerry never, ever takes proactive steps. That Guy has been working with him for a little more than two years and learned this early. Perhaps there’s someone like Jerry at your office. Perhaps everyone is. More likely the latter.)

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