Not the kind of thing you want to test

This big business consulting company has a large practice in the financial markets sector, according to a pilot fish working there.

"Part of my job involved testing of the e-trading done over dedicated terminals run by a well-known organization that also has a business newswire service," fish says.

"Our client got tired of posting test trades for us, so we decide to get our own terminal."

So, armed with the proper go-aheads from his boss and his boss's boss, fish opens a test-only trading account and has the bill routed to his company's finance department.

And the result is just what everyone expected: Now fish's team can test critical functionality, and the client can use its own terminals (and staff time) to make money, not test software. Everyone is happy.

Well, at least until the terminal provider contacts fish about the little matter of a past-due balance.

"No sweat," says fish. "I'll just get Finance to fix the error."

But it turns out not to be an error, at least from the finance department's point of view.

Finance informs fish that "Our policy is to pay invoices according to our own terms, which are longer than the vendor's. This company will just have to live with that."

It takes several conversations between fish's boss, the boss's boss and Finance before everyone agrees that trying to push around a vendor might be a bad idea -- especially when the vendor has its own business-news organization.

"Not long after that, I got out of financial work," fish says. "But I still wonder if I should have let the matter slide, just to see my employer's name up in lights. Big, red lights."

Sharky's pretty sure they'd just pull the plug on the terminal, but that wouldn't scare Finance. But keep me plugged in by sending me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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