Friday, May 7, 2010

What you can learn from your kids and yourself?

It is so obvious, I knew it and although I search for someone to blame, it is my mistake.
Sure, how easy it is to accuse my little daughter who sat behind my PC playing some games on it. How adorable she was when she laughed and called me for help. How priceless her smile was when she was proud to be allowed playing on my PC.

It doesn't mind at all. It is broke and I didn't do it. So I am not to blame or am I?

Here is the situation:
I have a external disk drive and I used that one as back up facility. So far so good, why not use an additional drive for backup instead those disks. (I have still some 3,5 inch disks with stuff on it and those cannot be used for backup anymore) It seemed reasonable to use an external HD for backup facility.

That hard drive was standing on my tower, and as it is a tiny one it felt down already quite a few times and afterwards it worked every time. Amazing how solid that Freecom HD was. Until last weekend. It felt, and no one told me. And today after some times I needed that nice solid backup facility. Unfortunately, it was not approachable anymore.

An unapproachable device is nothing new. Sometime USB -ports are just mixed up or deactivated due to some stupid installation etc. As I needed the HD I did some checks.
The initial check was turning on the power. He, that is strange, the power was already on, normally the HD would be recognized. Hmmm. I turned the device on and off. no result

I checked the USB cable, I tried another port. I restarted the PC. Checked the USB settings. Shouted a bit loud just to express some kind of frustration. I checked again the HD if the blue lights was glowing. I listened if the HD was running while I restarted it (turn of and turn on)
I actually checked if it was recognized in the "remove safely-dialog". I kept refreshing my explored window. Did this using THE F5 button, The combination with the SHIFT+F5 button. I used the refresh-option in the explorer menu. I even tried the F9 button as in MS Excel this refresh also sometimes the results.

I stood up and connected that external HD to the PC of my daughter. Tried all USB ports on that PC as well. I actually carried the HD to the PC of my son. All with same results.

While I was walking downstairs my daughter asked me about the status of her new PC. And there something happened, I found another victim. I reminded about the situation finding it strange that the HD was lying on the ground. Only didn't suspect anything at that moment.

While I was walking downstairs my daughter asked me about the status of her new PC. And there something happened, I found another victim. I reminded about the situation finding it strange that the HD was laying on the ground. Only didn't suspect anything at that moment.

I asked her if she remembered if the HD felt down from my PC. She looked with glazy eyes wondering what I meant. I asked her again if that grey little box felt on the ground, and she remembered that. Somehow I felt even more frustrated, it came actually in my mind that to tell her I would work on her PC until cure was found. Only, which person can be angry on her little princess. not me, I went downstairs, informed my wife about the situations, made some strange sound to express my frustration and went upstairs back to the PC.

That gray little box, when I shake it I hear some noise. It sounds like something very tiny was broken. As a skilled engineer I tried a way to open the box. OK, I admit, I'm not skilled in those grey little boxes. Somehow I believe I can become skilled opening the item when it is broken. Also when it is not broken I hope I learn.

Looking back at that gray box no screws visible. I questioned myself if it was worth the effort to open the box using brute force? This time I decided not to open the box. Instead I calculated and argument the damage.
I look at the damages in terms of:
- what is lost?
- is losing a lost?
- time taken to collect,
- times of usage,
- emotional value,
- options to recover (from other) resources,
- time it would take to recover,
- time when information was needed,
- what have I done to prevent loss
- what were my intentions to prevent loss
- what did I not do

Evaluating the process
Looking back and thinking what I have learned or could have learned I come up with this blog and the following identifications in the process
- I found an defect
- I made sure it was broken
- I investigated it in several ways
a. Functional
i. What was behaviour
ii. What should behaviour be
iii. Was the drive approachable
b. Technical
i. Was it turned on
ii. Was there power available
iii. Was the power-cable plugged in
iv. Was the power source connected?
c. Hardware
i. Cables working
ii. Light working
iii. Does it make sound
iv. Can it be opened
v. What effort must be used to open it
d. Connections
i. Was there hardware recognition
ii. Did behaviour occur on all other USB-ports
e. Reproducible
i. Own system
ii. Other systems
f. Information
i. What was on it
ii. What is gone
iii. Were are some pieces stored
iv. How old was data
v. What was the value
g. History
i. What did I remember
ii. What did I do with data
- I checked if others were to blame
- I noticed some strange behaviour as result of my fury/frustration
- I found someone only didn’t want to blame
- I noticed that blaming is not solving the problem
- I searched for arguments not start blaming
- I try to evaluate the loss
- I evaluate and wanted to learn from it

Lessons Learned
When looking back at this situation you might noticed that there are some similarities between this situation and testing.
How often did you:
- face issues and became frustrated about it?
- looked at a system in different ways?
- spend time to find the one to blame?
- did you try to look at behaviour of others and yourself?
- did you learn from that situation?
- did you aimed for value instead of spending time for too detailed proof?

When I look back at that situation I see I didn't stick to problem pointing, even problem solving was not the issue. I valued the situation and took actions. This time it was apologizing to my daughter, removing the external HD from my PC to avoid other damage and check some old other storages and made sure that they are approachable. Finally I scheduled some time to check for other hardware and decided it could wait for a month.

I still have the image of her face sitting proudly behind my PC smiling at me. That is priceless. In other terms also valuable. I would say, that is even valuable then the damage/loss.

A valuable lesson I want to give to the reader: Don't take things for granted, if something happened; look what you learn from it and how you can learn from it.

No comments:

Post a Comment