The shortest path between two points

Recently I was doing some benchmarking on one of our machines. The benchmarking wasn't going so well due to bad batteries on the RAID controller. I had instructed one of our System Administrators to take care of the problem. Long story short, the Administrator went down a very long trail to an obvious solution. The trail was well mapped, thought out and precise. It however missed some important points. When I caught on to the long trail she was taking I asked, "What is the shortest path between two points?". She replied, "On a plane or sphere?". That is when I knew we were in trouble. Now most people would have just said, "Huh?". Luckily I have been blessed with at least a modicum of technical/mathematical knowledge and a general experience with Geeks for 18 years. Let's review. The System Administrators trail was:
  • Visit Colo to check cards physically after receiving BIOS message
  • Record all information about cards including BIOS versions
  • Research possible cause of batteries not charging, find that some versions of the BIOS can do that. Thus causing yet another trip to the colo for installation.
  • Go back to colo to update BIOS revisions to see if that resolves the problem
    • If that doesn't solve the problem, research new batteries for order
My trail:
  • System reports batteries are bad
  • Known fact: Hardware was bought used
  • Buy new batteries
  • Upgrade BIOS during new battery installation
What is the difference? I run into this a lot with technical people. They become hyper focused and they are not able to abstract their problem solving skills to include the entirety of the problem. Now you say, "What the problem is the batteries don't work, fix them." It isn't that simple. Using the System Administrators path, the solution to the problem cost at least 1500.00-2000.00. Using my path, the cost is 550.00. My path is a single trip to the collocation facility with cards drop shipped, an hour to replace and upgrade BIOS. Same resolution, ~ 37% of the cost. But... But... what if that doesn't fix the problem? Then you know you have bad cards and it will still cost less to replace them that to perform multiple trips to the colo. Again it isn't that the System Administrators path was incorrect. In fact I would bet a lot of businesses would think it was the absolutely correct direction to take. I would rather just write off the cards and replace them. We can make far more money from the System Administrator if they are not focusing on long and winding roads to the same destination that can be reached by not taking a left at the fork.