What could possibly go wrong?


This bank rolls out a new credit-card account application system for the customer service staff to use, reports a pilot fish in the know.

"Of course, real testing didn't complete until after the system went live," fish says. "Several low-level employees and summer interns were tasked with entering test 'transactions' based on specific scripts, so account applications would never get to a real person. What could go wrong, right?

"One of the interns, bored with following the script, decided to enter the name and address of a U.S. senator for the state. Since it didn't follow rules for a test transaction and the system was live, the entry was treated as a real credit-card application, and the senator was sent a real credit card.

"Then one of the senator's staff followed up with the bank's legal department to determine why an unrequested credit card had been sent.

"Eventually, the account was traced to the application, which was traced to the person who entered it: the intern.

"And while you can't expect extremely good decision making from most interns, this intern's father was a lawyer -- and the head of Legal at this same bank."

When things go wrong, don't just think Murphy -- think Sharky. Send 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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