Infanticide, leaky showers and how to select a document management system

I could have murdered my son when I realised that everything I had done to repair a leaking shower was in vain. Let this be a lesson both to myself and others – asking the right questions is vital.

Infanticide, leaky showers and how to select a document management system

The leaky shower

My woes started when water from my twin teenage boys’ shower was leaking through to the ceiling below. I tried to be thorough and analytical, so whilst the silicone sealant had peeled from the aluminium frame in a number of places indicating the fault was there, I carefully ran a series of tests over subsequent days to isolate the cause.

I ran water through the ‘wand’ both hot and then cold into a drainpipe jammed into the toilet so that if the pipework between the valve and the outlet was damaged, this would show up and rule out a leak to the drainage pipes or the frames. No leak.

I then ran the wand down the drain, hot and cold too, to see whether it was just the drainage – no leak. To double check it, I calculated the volume of water I would need to replicate the weight of one of my boys standing in the shower and filled a large bin with that, then repeated the tests so that I could be sure that their weight was not displacing the tray or the pipework. Still no leak, so it had to be the seals around the shower enclosure.

So I completely dismantled the enclosure, removed all the silicone with silicone eater, bought some new parts that were damaged in the process, cleaned and reassembled it all and re-siliconed it. This took many days.

Once all was complete and the silicone had cured, I clamped the wand to a camera tripod and pointed it into a corner and left that running for 30mins to check it was all fine – perfect. The boys were then allowed to reuse the shower which caused an instant deluge to the floor below.

So, I then forked out for an inspection camera aka a Borescope, removed numerous light fittings and drilled a 70mm diameter hole in the ceiling beneath the shower to try to find the source of the problem – nothing.

As an engineer you are taught to go back to first principles and to break down the problem. So I went back to square one and had a chat with one of my boys and following some detailed questions, he mentioned that a large puddle is always present outside of the shower when he has finished, and he was just mopping it up. It transpired that he was not closing the shower door properly!

Ask the right questions

One of the skills of a good manager is to ask the right questions as nobody can be expected to have all the right answers. This is especially true when faced with significant change and particularly for those embarking on the adoption of a document management system; if you fail to ask the right questions you can so easily end up with something that does what you asked for but isn’t what you need.

Over the years we have been through this process with many customers and noticed that even the biggest companies and most experienced managers miss out key things, so we have assembled a checklist of questions to ask which you can adapt to your needs.

It’s not just about having a checklist though, in trying to find the problem with my shower I had a good mental checklist and was methodical. Had I been challenged by a knowledgeable and experienced person I could have saved myself a lot of grief. So when we engage with customers seeking a new system the first piece of work is a short ‘Discovery’ process with highly experienced consultants that defines and refines what is required. This simple step saves so much time money and grief.

P.S No offspring were hurt in the making of this article.

For more information, contact us at info@symetri.co.uk or 0345 370 1444.

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