Monday, November 16, 2009

Common Sense

The longer I stay in IT, the more I realize I just don’t know what’s common sense and what isn’t.  I used to think all kinds of things were common sense but I’m having to change my opinion on them.  Keeping in mind that common sense changes with each industry, but there are some large overlaps.

For instance, I used to think it was common sense to actually test code before you put it into prod.  I no longer think that.  Apparently it’s something that has to be taught, drilled, practiced, and re-taught.  I’m just awed at how hard it is to get devs to test code, and quite often, how much harder it is to get companies to see the value of testing.

As well, I used to think that it was common sense to test the same scenario that you want to go into prod.  This sounds like the same one above but it’s not.  Here, the testing is happening, but they’re testing something different than is going to be in prod.  I saw this last year actually.  A company was testing a repl scenario to send their prod data to their reporting server.  They tested 25 tables and latency was excellent so they pushed forward with putting it into prod.  And of course the scenario crashed and burned in prod because they published over 200 tables in that DB, and the same number in like 10 other DBs.  So evidently it’s not common sense to test exactly what you’re going to put into prod.  And there are so many more examples of this one I could fill a book.

I used to also think that it was common sense to troubleshoot the same scenario you’re having trouble with, but again, I’m wrong.  I recently saw a scenario where a tech was troubleshooting a data load.  The load process was put on a different server than the one it usually runs on and it took about 4x longer than normal.  And of course that’s cause for alarm especially since both source and destination servers are in the same data center.  At least it would be alarming if he were comparing the same processes.  In prod he was running an incremental process and on his test box he was running a full load process.  So let me see if I’ve got this straight, you went from an incremental process to a full load and you’re surprised it’s taking longer.  I’m actually speechless.  Hopefully you at least now know why we have the incremental to begin with.

Again, I could go on forever, but I think you get the point.  Common sense isn’t so common anymore.  I’m not sure we can say that about anything anymore, much less IT stuff.

Watch my free SQL Server Tutorials at:

Read my book reviews at:

Blog Author of:
Database Underground –

Follow my Twitter:


About Me

My Photo
Sean McCown
I am a Contributing Editor for InfoWorld Magazine, and a frequent contributor to as well as I live with my wife and 3 kids, and have practiced and taught Kenpo for 22yrs now.
View my complete profile


Blogumulus by Roy Tanck and Amanda Fazani

Page Views