Where There’s A Will (and brass knuckles and a pickaxe) There’s A Way

Photo by Xelcise

You know the ol’ diver’s addage “Plan your dive and dive your plan”? Well these are truly wise words. Planning a project, getting the necessary buy off of said plan and then executing the plan’s flawless execution is wonderful if it ever actually happened. It seems that, in every project, there comes at least one point when you just say “screw it” and just go Mujahideen on a particular problem. 

Yep, every project I’m on seems to have at least that moment where I’m an adrenaline filled, attention starved, insecure DEA agent and the only thing that is standing between my lowered shoulder and self-validation is a locked door made of Balsa.

These types of “let’s do it!” decisions don’t necessarily fall under the “It’s easier to get forgiveness than permission” umbrella as much as they fall under the “I could hit a sick, wobbling armadillo directly ahead or a station wagon carrying a family singing traveling songs on the way to Knott’s Berry Farm slightly to my left and I made a judgement call” umbrella. (Oh c’mon, you know that that family is now in heaven having a better time than they would have had in Orange County)

Seriously though, these moments are often why we all have the jobs that we currently have: We have a history of making tough, game-time decisions that win the day. There are some things they simply can’t teach in school and one of them is that gut-instinct that I have witnessed in a few co-workers. That one decision that turned what would have been an arduous two day rectal probe into a swift band-aid removal. These admins understand cause and effect, odds and what is at stake. They also generally have a distrust of bureaucracy anything typed in triplicate. Folks like Tom, Doug, Adam, Shawn, Layne, Teresa, Jake, James and Charles just to name a few. Thank you. 

I remember an incident in November 2006 when a stupid move by a mediocre (at best) fellow admin caused a major disruption in service. I had just landed in Detroit when my phone started ringing. I am pleased to say that I kept my wits about me while so many seemed to be running around playing the blame game. I thought “we need to get all these systems functioning NOW”. Screw blame. Screw CYA. I walked another admin though a few quick actions that, in less than four minutes, restored functionality to over 300 servers. (Honestly, experiences like this one led us to want to create the Remote Command feature in AA Console and the multiple “Actions” in PDQ Deploy Pro)

Anyway, after the business side was seen to, that is when I got pissed off. Over three hours into the conference call (I was now far away from the airport in Detroit and hanging in my brother’s upstairs office so that my nephews wouldn’t hear me swearing) we found the root of the problem and the fool who caused it. I say “fool” for one reason and one reason only: This person not only pushed the wrong button (hey, we’ve all done that) but he denied it and tried to cover it up. I used to like this guy but the amount of respect that I lost for him in the following few weeks was immense. He dug in for all the wrong reasons. 

I love the saying “Unless it becomes a habit you’ll never be fired for pushing the wrong button. You will, however, be fired for trying to cover it up”.

Sometimes the best plan is to go off instinct and experience. When the game is on the line, give me the Admin who isn’t afraid of his own shadow and see’s the business need as more important than proper etiquette.