Saturday, October 20, 2007

Missing Pieces

I was assembling the new baby bouncer seat that we received as a shower gift. I know that a lot of parents dread this aspect of receiving gifts for their children (or even for themselves), but my puzzle-solving nature just loves to see an assembly instruction sheet. Lots of fun!

Unless you can't find a part.

I had unpacked all of the pieces and spread them out on the floor. I checked each off on the parts list to make sure that I had everything before I started working. Much to my chagrin, I couldn't find the screws that I needed to hold the whole thing together. I looked through the packaging and shook out every piece of plastic and cardboard I could find. Nothing.

I was about to start looking for the customer service number when the glint of metal caught my eye. There they were -- taped to the end of one of the larger parts. I guess sometimes you just have to look a little closer. It may take a little more time, but you tend to be faster in the long run because you've laid out everything before you and you don't waste any time going down wrong trails.

I wish I had remembered this lesson when I was working on my project with Community Housing Network. We're in the middle of a complete overhaul of their site, including a new look and feel and an update on the structure and content of the site. As I mentioned in a previous post, we've pretty much got the appearance under control. Now I'm working on the content.

Kirsten Elliott, my contact at CHN, sent me a bunch of files containing the new copy that I was supposed to add to the site structure I had already built. I started working on it right away, but quickly ran into a problem. The second file I was trying to process wasn't fitting into the site structure that they had originally told me that they wanted. In fact, it appeared to have partial data which belonged on three or four different pages. I finally had to call Kirsten to find out what was happening.

It turns out that the file with which I was working didn't belong where I thought it did. If I had actually taken a quick look at all of the files she had sent me, I would have understood what they had been trying to do.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that skipping steps in the process is a good way to waste my time.

So, when was the last time you took a "long shortcut"?

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