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Have YOU ever wondered who cleans up after YOU?

I recently had a chance to view the excellent talk given by Robin Nagle in TED. Here is the link to the YouTube version. 

She says in her talk and I quote “Who cleans up after us? However you configure or wherever you place the ‘us’, who cleans up after us in Istanbul? Who cleans up after us in Rio or in Paris or in London? Here in New York, the Department of Sanitation cleans up after us, to the tune of 11,000 tons of garbage and 2,000 tons of recyclables every day. I wanted to get to know them as individuals. I wanted to understand who takes the job. What’s it like to wear the uniform and bear that burden?”

While that was a deep soul-searching question on waste and sanitation workers, it is no different here at our or for that matter any corporate situation. Only perhaps more so in IT companies.

If you are a developer who cleans up after you? The tester finds those silly things in your code. If you are a tester who locates all those things that you missed? The UAT finds it out. If you are a designer who cleans up your design? The poor late night developer who cannot reach you and makes do with a fix that gives way in UAT!

And it goes on and on. The designer cleans the half-baked document given by the requirements gathering team. While the requirements team cleans up the unsaid things in the proposal scope, the proposal team cleans up the vague chit-chat between the business and the customer.

After all is done and dusted, the CEO during his quarterly visit makes good of whatever the customer has to say. It is an eternal cycle. If you customer is in the East of where you are, you dread your Monday mornings. If the customer is in the West of where you are, you slog your Friday and hang on to the additional time you get before the customer brushes his teeth.

Remember if you create you are the creator, and if you create someone has to destroy all those goblins and imps that you have left behind. It would seem there is no solution to all this. There is and it is known by many names; Co-existence for one and Empathy for another.

Loo-ClosedThe eternal cobbler above has said ‘Put yourselves in others shoes’. Can you, will you, the next time you create?

Remember those who clean up after you. Do you know “Who cleans up after YOU?”.

Take a moment to find out.

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