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Why Some IT Problems Never Die

Posted on October 6, 2015

Almost EVERY single person that works with technology on a regular basis has at least one or two nagging issues at any given time that never really seem to go away. They report the issue to their IT person and that person comes in to ‘fix’ the problem. The fix works – for an hour, day, week, or month but then the same thing comes back again. You call the IT guy again who either does the same fix again or tries something different. Once again it works for a bit and then comes back. Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

So what is the issue here? Why do we have to keep applying a band aid to the system? Why can’t we get a permanent fix? You probably wouldn’t stand for this type of scenario with a repair in your home or in other situations, so why do you choose to just ‘live with it’ when it comes to technology?

The answer is twofold. First, one of the dirty little secrets in the IT industry is that VERY few IT folks actually take the extra time and effort required to truly diagnose and resolve the root cause of an issue. Most IT people are crazy busy and just become firefighters at the end of the day – they run around spraying water to keep the flames down, but they are never figuring out what is starting the fire in the first place. Figuring out and resolving the root cause takes extra time and effort but more importantly is significantly more difficult to do than just to apply a fix.

Second, of the very few IT professionals that actually do make an effort to find and address the root cause of an issue, almost NONE of them have a solid well defined process in place to ensure it happens every time. For us, the first time something happens we will fix it and move on. When the same thing happens a SECOND time, however, we will fix it again but then immediately place the issue into a separate workflow within our system. We then have staff dedicated doing nothing but looking at these repetitive issues (anything that has happened more than once) and specifically addressing the root cause.

So the next time you experience that nagging issue ‘again’, ask yourself these two questions:
1. Are we just fixing the problem or are we truly addressing the root cause?
2. Is there a well-defined process that is followed once you determine something is nagging/repetitive? Does it go into a separate workflow with specific rules and steps to ensure nothing ever gets missed?

If the answer to either of the above is no, it is time for a change. Remember the definition of insanity according to Einstein – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

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