Shark Tank: Doing It by the Book

HR reports must be shredded -- they have confidential data, boss tells IT pilot fish. Since most of these reports are just for reference, why not just save the printing and keep them on disk? fish suggests. "No, they must be shredded," boss insists. Well, why don't we hook the shredder to the back of the printer for the unnecessary reports? fish jokes. "Sounds great!" says boss. "How much will it cost?"


It takes six months for a contract programmer to write a manual on how to log in and get e-mail on this company's computers. Why did we hire a programmer for $50,000 when we could have bought 10 copies of a manual for $200? IT pilot fish asks. Co-worker explains: "You must be new here. A VP must approve any capital expense, like 10 manuals. It's much easier for a manager to authorize contract programmers."


This contractor pilot fish spends a lot of his time helping the mainframe group get up to speed on PCs -- answering questions and doing spot training. When the group upgrades to a new version of Windows, astonished fish sees 100 manuals, still in shrink wrap, being trashed. Why weren't they given to the mainframers? asks fish. "We don't want programmers sitting around reading manuals," he's told. "We want them to be working!"

Trust Me, You Can

After pilot fish upgrades this department's PCs to flat-screen LCD monitors, everyone is happy -- except one manager. "He was concerned that we would now not be able to use any of our word-processing software," fish sighs. "Since it used wrap-around text, how could we use this with a flat monitor?"

Still Missing

Letters have worn off some keys on this keyboard, so IT pilot fish contacts vendor for replacement under warranty. Vendor's reply: "Please test your faulty keyboard on some other good working system to check whether it works there. And test some other keyboard on your system to check whether it displays the same characteristics."

The Usual Way

Branch office IT pilot fish petitions CIO to buy seven laptop docking stations with monitors for traveling staff. Not worth it -- they're only here a few days a week, says CIO. How about three setups? fish asks. Still no. What about one docking station with no monitor? Laptop-using CIO asks, "But how are they going to see what's on their screens if there is no monitor?"

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Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.

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