My current project (and the systems I’m dealing with) have basically been an all-consuming thing in my life. It’s not from a standpoint of what I’m working on being a death march, as much as it’s getting someone else’s system to work for us.

So, I always make analogies… typically about cars. And today will be no different.

Let’s say you’re working on an engine and putting things together. If you’re reading the manual you could very well come across this statement:

“Introduce the piston to the cylinder.”

If you know how to work on engines that says everything you need to know.

Therein lies the problem: “if you know how to work on engines.”

If you don’t know how to work on engines you’ll never get them together. Hell, you might barely know which side to put where. (What you would need is a piston ring compressor if you’re trying to do this, without which you’ll have a hell of a time getting things in place without buggering up the cylinder or rings)

The same can be said for cooking.

What if a line of the instructions read “prepare the eggs.”

Eh?

How?

Should I scramble them? Fry them? Turn them into mayo? What?

If you’ve worked under the chef that developed the recipe then you instantly know what’s going on. But if you tell someone that you’ll get nothing but frustration on both sides.

In either case, if you’re giving the instructions you’ll look at what looks like the idiot in front of you and think that they are clueless and incompetent. The receiver of the instructions will just be frustrated since they have no idea what to do next.

While both are frustrated, the party to blame for the most part is the instruction-giver. They are the only one in the position to know what’s important and what isn’t. If they are leaving things out or refusing to clarify it’s bad on them.