Urgent, redefined


Client needs certain features added to this software vendor's product -- and it's urgent, customer support pilot fish is told.

"As this is important to them, our programmer works extra hours and weekends adding the features and we test them. All seems OK," says fish.

"Client decides they want it installed on test data first to check themselves. Fair enough -- I get it installed and work with their third-party server host to get it running. Then I ask the client which accounts need access for testing."

There's no immediate reply, so fish waits a few days and then asks again. Finally there's a response: They'll need just one account, and everyone involved in testing will use that one to check their part of the process.

Fish hands the information off to the hosting company, which enables the test program account. Then fish calls the client to report that the testing account is live, and reminds them that the sooner everyone checks the new code, the sooner the important changes can go live.

A few weeks pass with no word, so fish sends the client a message: Did everyone who needs to check the software see it, and can we install on the live data over the weekend? Reply comes in the next day: Fish's main contact is away for a few weeks.

Two weeks later, fish tries again. Reply: Contact is still away, but should be back next week.

A week later, fish reaches the contact -- who says he's still waiting for everyone to check the new code.

Three weeks after that, fish's boss has a meeting with the client but can't go, so fish is sent instead.

"I ask if we can update yet," fish says. "Turns out they can't finish testing because the test version cannot be accessed -- its license has expired. Did anyone feel a need to notify us? I guess not. I re-enable the test version so they can check it.

"Now, months after this urgent update needed to be installed, I'm still waiting..."

Sharky's waiting for your true tale of IT life. Send it to me today 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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