Friday, August 21, 2009

Graph of diminishing questions

How do you feel if somebody asks too many questions?

Well, whenever we have a new team member joining our group – we all go through the same experience. I call it - graph of diminishing questions [as shown below]

We see one of the following reactions or some combination of it

1. why s/he is asking so many questions - come-on it’s a simple business application - and you are hired to work on it - go figure it out - we gave him / her access to all the systems, code, database - what more can we do - I mean put some break points - run some queries - go figure it out on your own - that’s why you are hired - don’t ask me all these stupid questions?

2. I am not sure why s/he is not asking any questions. If you don’t understand then just ask us. But please don’t say yes when you don’t get it. You know - just yesterday, I was at his/her desk, and by looking at the screen, I can tell you s/he is lost, I don’t think s/he knows anything about the system - and I am not sure why s/he is not asking any questions?

3. Well s/he is a smart person but I think – I don’t know - s/he might have over promised in the interview and now struggling - I think s/he is not that smart as was told to us [by somebody – may be our boss…]

4. We don’t do too much training here - we throw the baby in the water and if she can swim - she can stay

5. We do work with new people and explain them the system and also help them understand the real challenge

I can go on and on and on, but I guess the point is simple - what do you do? I am sure almost everybody wants to opt for no 5, but in reality we are somewhere between 1 and 4. Challenge is to change our culture and look back at our own experience, and remember the day when we were new. When everything looked like a big mystery and intimidating nightmare. We had no clue where to start and what to do. This will force us to help others in understanding the mess [sorry software] that we help [or were paid] to build...