Why? why is “why” important?

May 27, 2020

We talk about “why” In design & how important this “why” is in every pixel of the design. You see a lot of blogs, books, videos about the importance of “why”.

I am also not gonna bore you with a new blog & teach you about how important is to answer your why’s.

Instead, I would like to tell you a story of how I learned the importance of “why” and hope it helps you in some sense.

The story begins in 2013 when I was a young graduate from Engineering & joined my first job at the “Logic ladder”. I was very passionate about the automation industry & wanted to be one of the experts in the industry.

Fun fact: It was back then when my boss introduced me to the “IoT” world. In 2013 it was just the beginning of “IoT” in India & I remember my boss telling me the vision of “IoT” & how it is going to boom by 2020.
And nobody could deny it today how “IoT” is evolving & made its prime place in the world.

I was being assigned to one project for solution designing & implementation of a temperature monitoring system for one of our clients.

So like any other project, I looked at requirements & prepared the design, architecture, and implementation design . Everything was super well in design and architecture & even we tested the solution at our office, it was working flawlessly.

Then came a day when I have to give handoff to one of our team member for the solution implementation. I explained to him all the protocols & architecture on how to implement the solution.

The next day he went to the client site & begin his implementation, by noon he was done with his implementation & now it was time for us to connect it with our cloud platform & see the data.

To our surprise, the data was not coming to the platform. So like any normal troubleshooting procedure, we asked him to check the connections & see if everything is connected as per the design. He mentioned he has connected & checked everything & it is according to design.

This exercise went for 2 days & I made him redo the implementation multiple times & see if data is coming to the platform. But nothing was working.

So, I then went at the site to see what is the problem. And I too checked everything is done correctly but it was not working.

Now I was clueless & it was time to reach to my boss. I connected with him & told him a whole story & ended it with words “ Sir solution is not working”.

I remember the exact words that my boss told me, Ok I know it is not working but tell me why it is not working?

And I repeated the story again & again, telling him we did everything by design but it is not working.

But my boss’s reply was the same Why is it not working?

To be honest, at this moment I was annoyed. But my boss told me to “come to me when you have the answer to that why.”

I went back to site holding my head what to do now. Then there came a client’s IT guy who saw us doing all this from the last 2 days.

I told him what is happening & he just accidentally disconnected the power sockets of the our router & checked the connections & everything was fine. And then he connected it back to the socket.

But the only difference was he connected the power plug to on different socket which we didn't even notice. We again just went to thinking about what to do.

While we were thinking, “I got a call from my office by one of my colleagues & he told me data is coming now”.

I was in shock, we didn't do anything how come it is working now. I just noticed the different power socket & I removed the plug & connected back to the previous socket & asked my team to check if data is coming . “they replied data have stopped coming.”

To my surprise, both the socket had power source & it was powering my routers, how come on one socket data is not coming.

I called the IT guy again & investigated with him why is this happening. After some time we got to know two different sockets were powered by different sources. One was powered by main electricity & one was powered by battery source. Hence it created two different ground potential in our two different devices & which was altering our signal level.

Two things I learned that day about design . First, we should have started from the base to troubleshoot. And second, it was also a design flaw, as two different sources should have some sought of indication or labels to define the power source on the socket.

I then went back to my boss & told him it is working now & “why it is not working”.
He then told me always to strive to know the answers to your “why” , solutions will follow.

This was all because of my first design Guru, teacher, mentor Mr. Atindra Chandel. One of the important person responsible for what I am today.

I believe this single “why” changed my life entirely, the way I looked at things after that. This was my first introduction to design to find the answers to my “why’s”. & that time I didn't have a fraction of idea what the hell design thinking is.

I would like to thank again Mr. Atindra for teaching me the importance of “why”.

P.S. I would suggest you all know the answers to your “why”. it may be hard initially but if you remain consistent & dedicated you will find the answers too.

Written By - Chameli Kuduva, Founder - SaaS Insider