4.23.2005

RANT: Symptoms or Root Cause

It's been problematic for us to crunch large volume of numbers with Excel/VBA. Instead of refactoring the task to a seperate analtyic server, most of us have wasted considerable amount of time fighting 'fire' (deliver patches), only to find yet another burning at our backside...

You would think that the goal of patches is to prevent the sheets from "burned" beyond repair (or to buy some time for the analytic solution), but it now seems like people are actually getting comfortable with this approach. The common consensus seems to be that it's a problem with the VBA code, not with the approach. In other words, we as a team have mistaken symptoms for root cause.

I recall the the story of a police officer investigating an accident. Referring to a woman lying unconscious in the street, he asked, "Who was driving the car?"

"I was," a man replied.

"How did you happen to hit her?" the officer inquired.

"I didn't!" he said. "As I approached the intersection, I saw that she was trying to cross the street. So I stopped for her and she fainted."

Are we making the same mistake that the officer made?

Category: C++ Quant > Fix the Job You Got

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