Before Asking for Help…

I have a standard rule that I use before going and bugging a co-worker or posting via social media/message forum about a technical question I might have. I invoke this rule except in cases where there’s a production down or impaired situation and seconds count. Here’s the rule:

Before I go ask for help, I’m going to look for myself via the following methods:

  1. I will examine my previous notes, if I have dealt with this issue before.
  2. I will look at the documentation for the product (for SQL Server, this is Books Online).
  3. I’m going to make at least a few solid attempts via search engines to find a writeup matching my issue.

There’s a couple of reasons for this:

  1. When I proactively search in this way, I tend to retain the information better.
  2. I don’t waste the time of my co-workers or other community professionals.

I once had a co-worker who would ask anybody that came to him if they went down this type of checklist. If that person hadn’t, he would politely tell them to do so and if they still couldn’t find the answer, he’d be happy to help. It made the team around him better because he wasn’t the single cog of information. Others became more self-sufficient.


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