This company is in the planning stages of an upgrade of its data warehouse from version 0.9 to version 2.0, in a totally different environment with a different data structure. But there's another concern for one pilot fish in the meeting.
"I happened to know that some of that data was consumed by a downstream process that was not being maintained, since the developer had left and it was written in a non-preferred technology," says fish.
"Since the director who owned that system was in this meeting, I spoke up about how the change would impact that system."
Several meeting participants respond with "good catch"-type comments. The director is typing something into a BlackBerry. The meeting moves on.
Fast forward a few months: The new data warehouse is in place, and now a key system -- not the one fish voiced concern about at the meeting -- is failing. And because fish knows the technology involved, he's dragged in to help find the cause.
The director is hovering over the team members as they start digging through the logs. What's obvious: There's no output file and a "zero records read" line in the logs, and that likely means the system isn't getting its inputs. Also obvious: Figuring out why is going to take a while, so the director wanders off.
But once fish looks at the code, he realizes that it still references data warehouse 0.9, which remains up for historical data but isn't being loaded with new data.
He brings this to the director's attention and asks why the code hasn't been updated. Director's initial response: "I didn't know it had to be."
Director's follow-up response: A blistering email, with a copy to fish's own director, blaming the failure on fish.
"I anticipated that something like this would happen," fish says. "I responded by pointing out that the director was at the meeting when I brought up the issue, and included the meeting minutes noting the issue.
"Director's final response: 'It's your fault -- you didn't make sure I was listening.'
"After that, every interaction I had with that director included follow-up email with return receipt requested. At least if this director chose not to read the email, it wouldn't be my fault -- and I'd have proof."
Sharky knows you're reading -- now how about writing to me with your story? Send me your true tales of IT life at email@example.com. You'll score a sharp Shark shirt every time I use one. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.
Get your daily dose of out-takes from the IT Theater of the Absurd delivered directly to your Inbox. Subscribe now to the Daily Shark Newsletter.