Got a minute?

This developer pilot fish is called on to help deal with problems showing up when support calls are escalated from Tier 1 to Tier 2 and beyond.

"I and another tech crafted an in-house application that would simplify and automate tasks for the Tier 1 techs, so even new recruits would be able to get a jump ahead with minimal training, and learn the actual steps later on as they progressed," says fish.

"One function was a way for the whole team to communicate with each other in a bulletin board format when there was an actual communications systems breakdown -- no email, no phones, no anything else."

But fish's manager at the time tells fish it's not needed -- there are lots of alternate forms of communication, he says. So that part of the project is shelved, with no further development time allocated to that function.

The application is deployed to the support group and fish's co-worker moves on to another team, but fish keeps working on that messaging function in his spare time. Eventually he rebuilds the manual bulletin board into a functioning web-based messaging app that also auto-updates itself, so the whole team will know about issues within 60 seconds.

Then one day fish is talking to his new manager, who tells fish the department is looking at options for dealing with communications breakdown issues. We're in the process of looking for an application from a well-known vendor, manager says, but it will have to be installed, users added, and time and budget devoted to setup and training.

"I then mentioned that we already have an application with that function being used by the team, already installed on all machines and with user accounts already in place," fish says.

"And because a regular upgrade of the application was already scheduled for later in the week, the timeframe to upgrade to the new version with the web-based app would just be how long it took to swap code over when they want it upgraded -- about 60 seconds."

Sharky loves hearing about another (unexpectedly) satisfied customer. Tell me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll 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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