Tunnel Vision

In my job, I work as a technical consultant and try to fix problems with call centre software. Often, the root cause of these ‘technical’ problems are not technical at all but a result of poor management and lack of communication. For example, Oracle DBA’s are often excellent database administrators, developers are often very talented people, network administrators secure and manage complex network infrastructure and managers manage. Once you get all of them into a room and talking to each other, while the problem may not be immediately resolved, many possible avenues of investigation present themselves while other possibilities are eliminated. The problem is tunnel vision – DBA’s just do DBA work, managers just manage, developers just write code and never the twain shall meet (‘not my job’).

I was reminded of this during the final days of my prolonged stay in hospital. During the doctors rounds one Monday morning, we had the daily status update from each surgical team.

Urology: ‘Looking good. Kidney function normal’.

Plastics: ‘The wound is clean, healing slowly and being dressed daily’.

Surgery: ‘Bloods are excellent’.

Then, a doctor piped up – ‘Excellent. Well I think we can look to discharging Mr. Brightside towards the end of this week so we need to ensure district nursing support is available and the patient has access to any equipment needed for his ongoing recovery and recuperation…’

I was feeling very uneasy about this sudden pronouncement but, thankfully, before I could interject, the senior nurse on the ward intervened on my behalf.

‘There’s only one minor problem – Mr. Brightside can’t currently walk unaided or climb stairs’.

The surgeon replied ‘What ? He can’t climb stairs yet. Oh OK. Well can we get physiotherapy to try to help with that ?’.

And with that, the gaggle of doctors trouped out of my room.