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Digital Behaviour

Helping the digitally challenged

Among the typical software development teams some are ‘Cats’. They seem to know a lot which a newcomer is blissfully unaware of. He knows how to install Eclipse, configure the SVN, directly open the Oracle tables and change database values without using a GUI interface and of course can also work in DOS.

There are two types of people who really need help. However I must hasten to add that the similarity stops there. Both turn to the ‘Cat’ for help. There are some who have done the homework of reading the help, FAQ, the user forum sites of the software under question before tapping the shoulder of the Cat and posing the question. The other encounters a problem and turns on the swivel chair paddles on his feet while on the chair and glides across the floor to tap on the shoulder of the Cat.

This is where the difference emerges. It is very much like the ant and the grasshopper story. The former ie the ant learns and never asks of help on the same topic again. While the latter the grasshopper continues to glide on ask for help because he has not learnt.  What breed are you?

Regarding the Cat, I am not saying that the cat is without fault. The gender of the ant or the grasshopper too may inflict severe behavioural changes in the Cat. What a good team needs is the willingness to be like the ant in the aforementioned example and show that initiative in exploring all that there is to explore before asking for help.

If anything the Cat is assured that all silly error situations have been avoided and that the problem at hand is complicated and possibly interesting as well.

That is why in user forums I am very fond of questions that are well-formed,detailed, all preliminary verification and checks done before springing up the question. The argument can very well be turned upside down and the question that can be asked is ‘I will post the question as I see fit. Why bother with 3000+ in the user forum? Surely someone will answer it?’ I do not have answer to that.

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