Yesterday I wrote about fellow WordPress designers/developers discussing the best way to automatically delete old posts from a blog.
My point yesterday was don’t. Don’t delete old posts from a blog. With very few exceptions, old posts have value, both for human readers and search engines.
Today I want to revisit that discussion, but from a different angle.
Today I hope to encourage my fellow techies to do something that doesn’t necessarily come naturally to us:
First ask why.
We love being right, accurate, and clever.
As techies, we pride ourselves on having answers and solutions. We like to be right, accurate, clever. Some of us could tell you how to build a watch — even if all you did was ask what time it is.
Professionals, regardless of their fields, don’t (or at least shouldn’t, IMHO) always do what their customers ask them to do just because they asked. Notwithstanding the old saying, customers are not always right. There, I said it.
Problems that aren’t problems
Too often — and especially in the peer-to-peer discussion forums I frequent — I observe fellow techies offering solutions to problems that aren’t problems and answers to questions that probably shouldn’t even be asked.
What the best way to add a blinking multi-colored scrolling popup marquis to my client’s Home page?
How can I prevent other Web sites from linking to my client’s Web site?
What’s the best way to automatically delete old posts from my client’s blog?
Instead of rushing to be the first with the best answer (if one even exists), let’s stop and first ask why.
Efficient !== Effective
Of course, the real problem isn’t with WordPress designers/developers chatting in discussion forums. The real problem is that we sometimes don’t push back with our customers when we should.
Being efficient is about doing a thing well, economically, quickly. Effectiveness is about doing the right thing. They’re not the same thing.
Unless we first ask why, we run the risk of efficiently doing the wrong thing.