There comes a moment in every IT person’s career when the trouble they are attempting to shoot has dodged the first 6 shots, and said intrepid troubleshooter needs to stop and reload.
Far too often (especially early in said IT person’s career) they take a few minutes to shake out the empties and reload their trusty six-gun, and then start blasting away again, blissfully lost in the cycle of shoot, miss, reload, shoot… not unlike Wile E. Coyote, absorbed in their own Supergenius, completely ignoring the fact that the Roadrunner *can defy gravity at will*. In other words, they’ve completely missed the fact that they are engaged in fruitless behavior. That dang bird is going to win, the only question is, how many times is our hapless hero going to wind up lifting up a sign that says, “In heaven’s name, what am I doing?” followed by a extremely heavy rock landing upon their noggin.
Sometimes the correct answer is, “This problem isn’t going to go away, and there’s not much I can do about it unless I alter something fundamental about the way things work here, which isn’t feasible due to time or money. Resolved: Wontfix.” In other words, it’s not fixed, it’s not going to be fixed, and it’s time to close the ticket or cancel the project or break up the programming team and move on to something constructive.
Since IT is essentially a service-oriented industry (my friend Erich calls systems administrators “The Plumbers of the 21st Century”), this is difficult for everyone involved to accept. The IT guy/gal needs to realize that this isn’t something on which (s)he should be spending time working. The user with the original problem needs to realize that their problem is outside the domain of fixable problems, given the current resources. This is where the IT manager comes in – the manager needs to make sure that their people aren’t pulling a Wile E. with the projects they’re working on, and (more importantly) when they realize that they’re in a “Resolved: Wontfix” situation, they need to assist with the customer relations.