Hey, you've got 38 minutes. What's the problem?

It's 8:22 a.m. when this IT pilot fish gets a call from a user: An important report is due by 9 a.m., with major repercussions if it isn't run on time -- but there's no one around who knows how to do it.

"She said the usual person who pulled the report was out that day, and the backup person was out sick," says fish. "She was calling for directions on how to do this. Since she had done this half a decade before, she thought she could just pick it up and run with it.

"Except the report was native to that department only, and IT hadn't run it before or even seen the report for well over five years.

"And the caller hadn't run the report herself for more than five years, and the process for doing it had changed in the interim.

"And for any other user to be able to work with the report, their profile would have to be created -- that step alone would take more than an hour.

"And the manager of the department also was clueless as to how to do this, and was aware that the two people who did know were planning on being out.

"Fortunately, the person whose responsibility it is to do this ended up coming in and moving her plans and appointments around to accommodate the idiots."

Sharky's plans include getting a story from you. So 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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