Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Just an Eighth of an Inch

My job consists of many different roles, but one of them is analyzing IT failures. What happened? When? Why did it happen? Were the appropriate processes and procedures followed? How can we prevent this from happening again? What I've noticed over the years is that disaster rarely happens because of one cataclysmic failure. Disasters often happen because of a large number of poorly made smaller decisions. All of these in aggregation create a situation that is tenuous and rife for failure. One one final mistake or poor decision is made and the whole system comes crashing down.

This means that small things do matter and details do count. Life gives us plenty of opportunities to self correct. When we repeatedly spurn these opportunities, that's when disaster strikes.

I have a friend who does a fair amount of metal working - machining and blacksmithing. He had a project one time where he needed to drill holes to match up with a mated set of pegs. The problem is that the jig he used was off by 1/64". A very small amount, but since he used the previously drilled hole as his reference point for the next hole, by the time he'd drilled his 48th hole, his last hole was off 3/4" from the peg.

When I measured bricks for our new pathway in the raised beds, I measured the bricks as 8 inches long, and Ms. Huis carefully (and painstakingly) figured out the exact dimensions of the raised beds to accommodate these 8 inch long bricks. We moved 10 yards of dirt to accommodate those figures. Two nights ago I laid out some bricks in the holes we dug, just to estimate how it would look. They didn't fit. So I measured the bricks again. It turns out they are 8 1/8" long. That 1/8" is not much, but compounded over 40 sets of brick, it adds up.

Looks like we're going to have to do more digging.


Ms. Huis Herself said...

$!@@$%!@# more digging!

Pusher said...

...I still say water feature. :-)

Ms. Huis Herself said...

%$#@@%$&* digging!