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Ryan Overton for

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Weekly Win (47/2020)

When implementing a third-party library, we set expectations on how we believe it will be implemented, and when these expectations aren't met, we can get very frustrated and start taking it out on the team, or developer, who created the library. We also set these same expectations on other tasks we perform, and can be met with the same level of frustration and disappointment when things don't go as planned.

A few weeks ago, I had the task of changing the water filter in our rent house refrigerator. It's used to filter water used in automatic icemakers and water dispensers built inside of refrigerators.

refrigerator with water dispenser

I set my expectations on how the water filter should be changed based on my past experience changing water filters over the past twelve plus years of home ownership.

Here were the steps I followed:

  1. Buy new filter
  2. Remove old filter
  3. Insert new filter
  4. Enjoy clean water and ice

This process had worked well, without issue, until a few weeks ago. We recently moved in to a rent home and it was time to change the water filter. I followed my normal steps, but when I got to step two, something different happened. As I began removing the water filter, water started spraying all over the inside of the refrigerator. 😲 I tried just putting the old filter back on, but it didn't stop the spraying. At this point, I realized I needed to shutoff the water going to the refrigerator, conveniently located behind it.

With the water shut off, inside of the refrigerator thoroughly soaked and water draining out on to the kitchen floor, I had two ways to handle the situation: let my frustration and anger at the implementation ruin the rest of my day, or flip my perspective and look at it in all it's hilarity, like my family was doing 😂.

I took the second option and joined in on the laughing. I also looked as it as an opportunity to do something I probably wouldn't have done, clean out the refrigerator 😁 and add a new step to my process: turn off the water.

So, the next time your faced with a failed set of expectations, instead of denigrating the team, or person, who missed those expectations, flip it around and look a it as an opportunity to change something for the better, even if it might be a little more work than we had thought, or hoped. After all, as developers, we should always be looking at ways to better improve our solutions, and practices, at least that's how I look at it.

When's the last time you had your expectations not met and how'd you deal with it?

I look forward to reading your responses below!🙂

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