Why does IT always make stuff complicated, anyway?

IT pilot fish at this manufacturing plant gets a call from the Human Resources manager, asking about security on HR's drive share.

"I ask her to go to the share," says fish. "She responds that she doesn't think she has access to it. I tell her that it is probably the X: drive on her computer. She says that there is a drive that has a red X on it and she thinks it needs a password."

This is going nowhere, so fish heads up to the HR manager's office, where there's a man seated next to the HR manager in her office. HR manager gets up, and fish sits down and highlights the HR drive share -- which doesn't have a red X on it.

Is this secured? HR manager asks. Fish explains that only she and two others have access to the share. HR manager requests that fish add Tim -- that's the name of the company president -- to the share.

Fish replies, "Please send me that as an email request and I will take care of it." That will save having to do an extra round of paperwork, fish figures -- adding a user to the HR share will require the HR manager's approval, so the email will serve as both the request and the approval.

"As I walk past the gentleman seated there to return to my office, I introduce myself to him," fish says. "He very quietly responds with his name, which is Tim."

Fish returns to her office. Within a minute or two, she gets the HR manager's request. But it's not about the company president. It's to give Tim -- the man sitting in the HR manager's office -- access to the file share.

Turns out that this man is going to be her replacement, and the current HR manager will soon be taking a job across town at a sister company. That means the approval process is useless, because the new Tim doesn't have a user account to give the HR share access privileges to.

And to set that up, HR has to send a separate request in the form of a standard new-user spreadsheet with spaces for all the necessary information -- which is supposed to give IT all the information it needs but rarely does, thanks to HR's tendency not to fill it out correctly.

Sighs fish, "I told the HR manager she had to send me the spreadsheet to set up this new user. Now that I've gotten her typically flawed spreadsheet, I'm thinking I should have had the new HR manager fill out his own setup form and showed him how to do it right. Opportunity lost!"

Take this opportunity to tell Sharky your story. Send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll get a stylish Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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