Why IT support gets gray

This county government has a jury application that interfaces with its mainframe, says a pilot fish who supports the system.

"The application handles all of the jury processes except for printing payroll," fish says. "In order to process payroll, the user has to run the payroll step on the application, which produces an export file. We then transfer that file to our mainframe and import it into the financial system to produce the checks.

"We have very clear, step-by-step instructions on how this process works. The jury coordinators know to follow the steps in order. They are not to go to the next step without verifying the current step results. If they see anything that even looks possibly odd, they have been told to stop and call me in IT.

"There are two coordinators that run this process. One of the coordinators I almost never get a call from or have to fix anything for. The other coordinator? Not so good.

"The first coordinator is out on maternity leave, so the other one is training a backup. I got a call today from the second coordinator saying that they are running a live payroll run and wondering if I would be available.

"As she put it, 'Nothing has happened yet, but...'

"I am dreading the rest of the day."

Sharky has step-by-step instructions too. Step one: Send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. Step two: Score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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