Culture changes: workarounds and permanent fixes

17th June 2010

"Problem Management aims to resolve the root causes of incidents and thus to minimize the adverse impact of incidents and problems on business, and to prevent recurrence of incidents related to these errors." ~ Wikipedia


Within the Service Desk industry - those guys at the end of the phone who answer your problems - there's an ITIL process called "Problem Management". Problem Management deals with (you guessed it) managing problems. If a printer is broken, Problem Management is about finding the root cause of the problem, and then applying either a temporary workaround, or a permanent fix.

ITIL defines a "Problem" as: "a condition often identified as a result of multiple incidents that exhibit common symptoms".

Once you have found out the root cause of a Problem, and also got either a temporary workaround, or a permanent fix, then the Problem becomes a Known Error - i.e. you know what the Error is caused by, and you know how to fix it.

All fascinating stuff to non-ITIL people, of course.

But if you're still reading, it occurred to me that this model may apply to many things - and specifically, to Tango dancing.

For example, if your neck aches after dancing a few tandas, a workaround would be to rest it and / or get a friend to massage it. But a permanent fix is to analyse the root cause of the problem - likely your embrace and / or posture - and then permanently fix it - probably by fixing your posture.

See how easy it is?

About floorcraft

I think it's fair to say that we've discussed and examined this in length on this site and on Jivetango? over the past year. But it's still a hot topic.

It's been a year since I last examined this area as a whole - so I think it's due for another high-level review. God knows, one can always find a lot to write about the level of dancing in the London area...

So, I'd like to use this "Problem Management" model to discuss, yet again, floorcraft in London venues: especially considering recent comments from Arlene and MsHedgehog.

So using this model, we may have discovered some workarounds, but clearly we're nowhere near being able to apply a permanent fix.

Floorcraft workarounds

Here's a summary of some workarounds we've discovered regarding workarounds:

Note: The reason I think these are "workarounds" is that these tips will all work for you, at a dance. But none of them fix the root cause of the problem. In fact, they don't even try to identify the root cause - they just recommend some ways to work around the problem, for that evening only, and for your dancing only.

But if you return to the same venue in a month's time, likely the problem will still be there, and you'll have to apply the same workarounds. There are no real permanent fixes.

A fix attempt: The Conspiracy

Well, that's not quite true.

One attempt as a permanent fix is "The Conspiracy" - whilst we didn't think of it in these terms, we were at least approaching the problem as being, well, A Problem.

Our approach with this can be summed-up as: "If you build it, they will come" - that is, if we create a group of like-minded people to attend a venue, and if we all attempt to show and exercise good practice in our dancing, then we will hopefully start a movement to emulare such practice. Inspiring by example, we hope.

Whilst this approach may well work, and it's resulted in noticeably-better atmospheres at the various Let's Go Tango events in London, I don't think it's really doing much to raise the overall level of floorcraft in London milongas. Whilst I think it works, to a point, I don't believe that it's "converted" people who were causing difficulties.


There is some promise in this approach, I feel - but numbers-wise, there are only a few dozen of us, and there are hundreds / thousands of Tango dancers in London.

So what's the problem?

Simply stated, it's that many - possibly most - London Milongas are not as harmonious as they could be; floorcraft and general atmosphere are not good.

I don't actually know what the root cause of the Problem is - why is this happening?

Wwe can make some guesses, but we don't really know. Like most things human, it probably is a comhination of several factors.

But don't despair; that doesn't mean we've returned in a circular path, right back to our starting point.

We know, for example, that any "fixes" we propose are either individual, small-group-based, temporary workarounds for the problem. They're not fixes. At the moment, we don't really have a fix.

I would guess that any fix, any real fix, will require a lot more analyis of what works and what doesn't, and a lot more coordinated action and commitment, on a longer-term basis. That doesn't mean the solutions we propose are bad - just that these are mainly workarounds, and should be treated as such.

"An 'ITIL and Tango' article. And they all said I was mad...bwhahahahahaha..."

~ David Bailey, 17th June 2010

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