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Arnie Rowland

Discussion of issues related to SQL Server, the MSDN SQL Support Forums, the complex interplay between Developers and SQL Server Administrators, and our sometimes futile attempts to have a 'normal' life.

Rules of Holes #1: Stop Digging

You may have heard of the 'First Rule of Holes'. It goes something like this:

"When you suspect you might be in a hole, stop digging."

That seems like obvious, and good advice, but what does it really mean? How does the Rule of Holes apply to you? How does it apply to your job?

When things are not going right, stop doing the "same ol', same ol'"

  • You find yourself involved in doing the same type of coding over and over. Maybe it's time to stop, step back, take a little time and learn something new. There just may be a better way.
  • Your team spends hours in meetings, yet the results are always less then spectacular. Don't continue doing that type of meeting -do something different.
  • You find yourself doing the same re-engineering over and over again. Stop. Spend more time in educating and mentoring.
  • You are constantly restarting a failed replication subscription. Stop, Examine the objectives. Perhaps there is a more robust and better method.
  • As a DBA, you find yourself in the same conversations with developers over and over. Stop arguing and defending. Try to understand their needs and help them be successful. They will be more likely to work with you to understand your needs.
  • As a Developer, you are constantly pushing the DBA(s) to remove some of the impediments to being successful in completing your tasks on time. Ask the DBA(s) to help you understand their pressures, try to understand their job. They too, have an important part to play in being successful.
  • You are still using cursors for non-administrative tasks? Stop it! Explore. There may be a better way.(Maybe not, but in exploring alternatives, you will learn a lot that will be useful elsewhere.)

The point is to explore doing things differently. Your solution should be a rational decision for the problem at hand, at this moment, in this environment. Not what worked last year, or even last month, or on a different server. Avoid digging holes, and when you realize that you are in one, stop digging. Do something different.

I am in the process of compiling a more complete list of 'Rules of Holes', and in upcoming weeks, I'll share them with you. And if you have developed your own 'Rules of Holes', i invite you to share them with us.

 Meanwhile, stop digging.

Published Monday, November 12, 2012 11:03 AM by ArnieRowland

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