While teaching geometrical measurements to my younger sister, I always told her to imagine until she can clearly see in her mind the piece of land or cloth or whatever the question is talking about. Then she should imagine she is standing beside the piece of land or cloth and doing the alterations as the question describes. After she is done, how would she measure certain parts of it, just like the question wants to know? The moment she would start saying, I shall measure this side and multiply with width, divide by three..etc. I would stop her and say, there is your solution to the question. I always told her to imagine the problem vividly, as she can’t solve it until she knows the exact problem or the exact question. Years later I was surprised to see, Einstein the Great, said similar things, “I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution,” the wise old man said.
The Point Made
Now when I spend 10 hours daily in an IT office, I realize how thoughtful and erudite Einstein was; and how IT companies can improve productivity if they follow this wonderful piece of knowledge.
IT problems, according to my opinion, can come from many things. Be it a technology upgrade, or a bug in programming or the client wanting something new in his website or the application. And, most of the time, the team leader or the Project manager of the solution providing company will ask the team to ‘brainstorm’ for the solution. My point here is simple, how many times we, the IT workers, are asked to do a ‘brainstorming’ to understand the situation or the problem at hand? More often than not, we are just given the problem and to avoid humility generally we nod saying we have fully understood the problem.
Disassociation From Effects
Problems must be disassociated from the effects of the problem. Let’s say, we step on a nail which causes us pain. The problem here is not the pain, that is merely the effect of the problem. The real problem is we stepped on a nail and whenever we stand on a nail, we will face the same consequences. If we take no care of finding how not to step on a nail (by wearing a shoe perhaps) and concentrate on how to alleviate the pain, we are providing a cure for the consequences while leaving the door open for the problem to happen again and again. If we realize the real problem and start wearing a shoe (which by no means will cause the pain to decrease) we will remove the chances for similar accidents forever.
Time Spent on Understanding
IT companies must adopt this technique in their daily running and work culture. Time and effort must be spent on understanding the actual problem, by removing every layer of consequential effects from it. Once the employees face the bare naked problem, I am sure they will be able to provide simple yet most effective and durable solutions. Presently, unlike Einstein’s prescription, we spend 5 minutes or less in defining the problem and fifty five minutes to formulate the solution strategy.
Finding Underlying Reasons
Let’s say, one client complains to his SEO company that he is not getting desired sales even after paying the fat amount for SEO. In most cases, the SEO solution provider will hurriedly jump into more link building or article submission without judging anything else. The actual problem may be the prices offered on that site are too high or the products are really outdated or he is having a bad reputation for delayed delivery. Time must be spent on finding out these underlying reasons which may escape a hurried glance over. Or else, after working overtime to build links and submit articles and doing PR we still may get back to square one.
Einstein said this generally, like most of his sayings, including my favorite one, on human stupidity and the universe. But the more you think, the more it is apt and suitable on common IT practices. If the IT companies can understand the impact and adopt this in their business policy, they would gain more than they can gain by constant ‘brainstorming‘ after wearing the ‘thinking hat‘.