Shark Tank: Picky, picky

Support pilot fish gets a call from the purchasing manager, who says he's trying to invoice a purchase order and the ERP program won't let him proceed. "The error message says the invoice is for $12,050, and this doesn't match the line total on the P.O., which is $12,040," says fish. "I ask him which figure is correct, and he replies that he doesn't know. I remind him that he is the purchasing manager. He says, 'I guess I'll have to add up the items on the P.O.' While I'm talking with him, he tells me $12,040 is correct. Once he makes the change, the invoice process completes, and the program accepts it."

Clicky, Clicky

One of this pilot fish's jobs is unblocking Web sites that the filtering software miscategorizes, and when a user asks him to open up a particular URL, the fish does so. "Then I test it to make sure it works," fish says. "But I can't get to it. Instead, I get a Web page saying that the domain is owned by so-and-so -- there's no real Web site. I ask the user where he got this URL. His reply: 'It keeps popping up when I go to Web pages, so I decided to click on it.'"

That's in Furlongs Per Fortnight

This company rotates managers every 18 months, so sometimes new IT managers come with no IT background -- or clue. "In the weekly departmental meeting, one of the server admins began discussing power available to the server room," says a pilot fish on the scene. "We're at max capacity and must decommission one server in order to deploy another. When he mentioned that he decommissioned three servers, the IT manager asked how much power will become available. Struggling to come up with an explanation that the IT manager would actually understand, he gave up, held his hands about two feet apart and said, 'About this much.' Sadly, the IT manager took this as a valid unit of measurement and moved on."

Anyone? Anyone?

Pilot fish is doing a custom software deployment, and he's got strict orders to have some user workstations running before week's end to test the application. "So I install the app and then send an e-mail to the manager to have him test it," says fish. "I get an out-of-office message back saying he's at the corporate IT conference all week and to contact Wally if I need something before the weekend. Since I start full deployment next week and do need something before the weekend, I dutifully forward the original e-mail to Wally -- and get an out-of-office reply that begins, 'I'm at the corporate IT conference all week. ...'"

Sharky's in the office all week, so send me your true tale of IT life at You'll automatically get a stylish Shark shirt if I use it. You can also add comments by using the form at the bottom of this page.

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