In every process there are a few tools that are mission critical. These are the tools that we rely on to produce the work that we do. Imagine for a moment what it would look like for me to arrive at a tap dance performance with no tap shoes. That’s how I know my tap shoes are mission critical. They are not as critical as the well being of my body, but as far as external tools go, they rank high.
So what happens when the provider of mission critical tools never hands over full control to the user? A few weeks ago I ran into a problem with a piece of software that I subscribe to. They will remain nameless to protect their honest effort to fix the problem. The mechanism they use to validate my subscription broke. I had all the software, my subscription was up-to-date, but the single process they used – actually another piece of software – to validate the subscription with their servers decided to not function. In fact, it hit an infinite loop. Unable to validate, it repeatedly asked me to sign in.
All of a sudden all my energy shifted from productive work to attempting to fix this problem. This is where an organization’s customer service is tested, and online forums are a major help and challenge. Here are the questions I now carry. How much time must I take to fix a problem because of the tools I choose, in order to do the work I need to do? I wonder how much time we all take fixing the tools we need to do the job? Are there other, more reliable tools? If not, can we make them?