The Right Tool for the Job

We humans are both tool users and creatures of habit. As such we often get into habits of using certain tools for everything we think they might apply, but that can lead us to more problems along the way.  The classic example is someone who only knows a hammer, so they just smash everything, which certainly doesn’t help in cleaning the dishes.  Understanding the range of actions we could use a tool can lead us to damaging things we don’t want to damage. Learning the limits of a tool helps us avoid damaging what we are working on and helps guide us to finding other, more appropriate tools, i.e. don’t use the hammer for washing the dishes, use a small cloth or sponge instead.

In Information Technologies, it is even harder as there are so many different tools for us to use on a regular basis and this is where I see this become a big problem and challenge for many of us. We get from one extreme of “must reinstall it all from scratch” or “upgrade” as a solution to everything, to the other of always looking for the perfect tool for every instance of the same thing and therefor taking much longer than is needed for a task.  The challenges for us is to find that happy medium of reusing known tools where every they are best suited and only hunt for other tools we are working in the greyer areas, as well as knowing when to stop using a tool because the rest of the environment has evolved such that the old tool is now a detriment.

 

Or as a fellow Knowledge Partner Jim Henderson put it in a forum post 2012-07-05

“Repair tools by their nature tend to run with the ‘safeties’ off. So
checks to make sure that things are clean before an operation proceeds
don’t happen, and that can leave things in an inconsistent state that
then necessitates further cleanup. ndsrepair is not intended nor
designed for day-to-day administrative tasks.

Use repair tools to repair known issues. Use diagnostic tools to
diagnose issues. Use administrative tools to perform administrative
operations.

If an administrative tool reports a problem trying to do an operation,
then use the repair tools surgically to address the problem.

Look at it another way: If you have a car that’s working fine, you
wouldn’t start the engine by whacking some part of the engine with a
mallet. Only after doing proper diagnosis and determining (for example)
that the alternator was stuck would you whack it with a mallet before
taking it to a mechanic to be serviced.”

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