I disagree with you, but give me advice anyway

I can't help you if we can't agree on this.

It happened again recently.

I was having a discussion with someone who wanted advice on a software development process. After digging into the details a bit, I said, in essence:

“Well, I think the question you’re asking is not the right question, because it’s based on a false premise, and here’s why I believe that.”

They asked for a bit of clarification, but after a few minutes they basically conceded and said, “Well, okay. But this is the way I’m doing it. So what should I do?”

I’ve had this happen many times. And I find it baffling.

“I’m trying to cut down the mightiest tree in the forest with a herring, and it’s not working very well. What should I do?”

“Eh, maybe not cutting trees down with herrings would be a start. Why not use a chainsaw? Or maybe an axe? These tools are actually designed for cutting down trees.”

“Yeah, that makes sense. So how do I do it with a herring?”

I can’t help people like this.

Maybe there’s some from on-high mandate to use substandard processes. Maybe your resident Knights of Ni have tasked you with tree felling by herring. And maybe you have no alternative but to do as told. I wish you well. But I can’t help.

But if you are interested in challenging the assumptions, and possibly find better approaches that invalidate some assumptions… then perhaps I can help*.

*With software processes. I’m not actually a tree-felling expert.

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