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Creative Solution or Nasty Hack?

I just love this photo. This was a genuine solution to powering a meeting room PC that had to be secured in a pupose built and positioned storage cupboard. However it's an apt analogy to many things technology related. The set up of these power cables prompted these questions in my mind:

- Why wasn't the room built with power outlets where required?
- Why wasn't the cupboard positioned near power outlets if it was for things requireing power?
- Why did someone solve the problem with multiple power cables instead of buying one of adequate length?

To ask these questions I find myself in the mind-set of critiquing for not enough upfront planning or thought. However I know some more facts about this situation, e.g. the room and outlet was there a long time before the cupboard, the need for a secure cupboard for the PC came later, the device was comfortably powered by the outlet prior to that.

Therefore putting on my 'Agile' mindset I find these compelling reasons to power the PC in this manner.

- Someone has powered the PC in the cupboard quickly by re-using these power 'solutions' that were already in existance
- The solution works and can arguably be improved over time if required
- The solution hasn't been refactored yet
- The solution was designed in accordance to the perceived value and need, i.e. an electrician to re-wire power outlets would have seemed extravagant. A trip to the shop to buy an adequate length cable would be too time consuming.

How many IT solutions have you come across that have been put in place with the same drivers? i.e. We need something to work now, not just now but NOW! Instant solutions often become woven into the technology fabric of the organisation before considering the critical nature of the solution's application or the value the solution may generate. It takes disciplin and attention to target and refactor these instant solutions into something of appropriate merit.

If you loved this picture or found this concoction of power boards a compromise, remember, it had it's time and place in the organisation, it worked.


scott13april said…
It looks a bit like my kitchen wiring at present, unlike code the ugliness is apparent to all, and might get fixed when 1) it irritates a perfectionist 2) fails a compliance test 3) gets onto someone's to-do list.


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