Everyone's greatest resource: Somebody else's time

IT analyst pilot fish gets an email message from a customer support tech he knows -- and the tech is frantic.

"He asked me, 'Were there any changes made to this module that would affect our customers? This process is not working for this very large customer and they are extremely upset,'" says fish.

So fish goes to work. First he looks through the history of changes to the module. He can't find any changes that have been made in the past four years -- and whatever the problem is, it certainly hasn't been going on that long for this customer.

But to confirm his findings, fish digs deeper. He installs each of the last four releases of the software containing the module, and tests everything to look for problems. It's a time-consuming process, but a couple days later he has an answer: No issues found.

And to triple check, he asks the support tech what release the customer is using, since sometimes customers aren't using a recent release. Sure enough, it's one of the versions fish has just tested.

"I reported my findings back to the support tech," fish says. "He responded, 'OK, I just wanted to check because the process works fine for us in Support as well in our testing. Just wanted to be sure.'

"Gee, good thing I had nothing else to do the past few days while I confirmed a process that worked fine for Support also worked fine elsewhere since nothing had changed. Maybe support could troubleshoot with the customer a little more next time?"

Hey, even with things to do, you can find time to send Sharky your story, right? Email your true tale of IT life to me 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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