Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Clean Your Lens

I work with a colleague who shall remain nameless (Steph).  She is remarkably bright, insightful,  and hardworking.  One day, as she was looking at some pictures she had taken with her Blackberry, she started getting angry.

"I don't know why your phone takes such clear pictures.  It's just the same model as mine and my pictures always come out blurry.  Must be something wrong with the lens.  Or maybe there's a problem with the software.  Or maybe I just have a crappy phone."

I replied, "Did you try cleaning the lens?"  This was met with the same look that is normally reserved for a particularly slow child who is making suggestions at the dinner table. 

A few days later, I noticed her shots were now crystal clear.  "What happened?  Did you get a new phone?" I asked.  "No, I cleaned the lens", she answered.

The point of my story isn't to make fun of my friend--we've all done similar and many of us have done much worse.  The moral of the story is, look for the simple first. 

Too many times, a user will come to me with a straightforward request and the first thing I do is jump into SQL.  After spending an hour working on joins and nested statements, it may finally occur to me to check and see if we have a native report in Salesforce to answer her question.  Guess what?  At least half the time we do!

How often have you been confronted with the sound of hoof beats and immediately engaged the zebra protocol?  Instead, try looking for horses.  If it isn't the common cause, there will be time to look for exotics, later.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some reports to write (after I check if they already exist).

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