Yesterday morning, at office, a strange problem held my attention. A bug of mysterious nature suddenly surfaced on our project and demanded my duty.
Devoting mind, I realized later, alone will not help to find the defects of these nature. The project on which I am working for the past few years is a deep ocean and to find something fishy in it is a perspiring thing, It is like finding a misspelt word in 1000 page book, neither knowing the language nor the spelling.
Generally, if such problem occurs in a project, wise idea would be to ask the folks who worked on that module earlier. We call them “Subject matter experts” (SME). Even for them, it will take substantial effort to resolve the issues.
Unfortunately, the bug which bothered me was on the area which was abandoned long before. The team once worked on it, is no longer with us. The went for better opportunities . With no lending ears to pour my problems, my hands went to cup the head announcing the failure. Hours of hopeless research almost drained me. Then a thought hit. I grabbed my mobile and called a person. He is my junior who left our project long ago. He is not an SME, but I hoped he might be knowing something that I needed most then. After the customary how-are-you-doings, I went directly to the matter of most importance.
“I want to find out something on which I am clueless”, I said rather painfully.
After hearing me for 10 minutes, he said in the most unruffled voice, “It is quite easy”
“How?”, I said almost stunned.
“Go to page number 759, 3rd paragraph, 4th line, 9th word. It was the misspelled one.”
That’s how he explained the technical details. Aghast I was. Considering his experience it was too much of information to know and remember. If you ask me what did I have for breakfast yesterday, I would think for 5 minutes and say “ Must be pongal, no wait may be Dosai” . See, I tend to forget things. Hearing the details with such precision from a person, whom we had failed to recognize as an SME, literally made me stumble even though I was sitting on a cozy chair. Too late to regret, I thought. We missed a genius.
I sat straight and looked at the phone reverently.
He continued. “There are few more problems like this on the page 689 (para 2, line 8), 520 (para 1, line 2)…..” , He went on like this for 5 minutes.
I felt like Dr. Watson hearing Sherlock Holmes. Slowly the fog cleared. Hope dawned. The puzzle seemed possible to crack, with his guidance. And I did crack it later.
I thanked that beautiful mind with all my heart and dropped the line.