Shark Tank: Timing Is Everything

This site has hundreds of ancient reels of backup tape listed in its inventory. "They're 7 years old, and we don't have the mainframe or the old reel-to-reel tape drives that these backups came from anyway," fish tells managers -- and finally one signs off for their destruction. But when fish takes the authorization to the facilities manager, there's nothing he can do. "We needed the storage room," facilities manager tells fish, "so we sent those to the dump six months ago."

Second Try

Newly hired pilot fish needs his laptop set up for remote access, so he calls the help desk. "After an hour and a half, it still didn't work," fish says. "Next day, I got to the office, and my co-workers were all going to a conference room with their laptops. 'Where are you going?' I asked. 'To a class to show us how to set up our laptops for remote access,' they said." Fish follows -- and learns. "The class showed me how to set up my laptop," he reports. "And I found out that all the information provided by the help desk the night before was wrong."

What's the Hurry?

Pilot fish works for an outsourcer with a CMM Level 5 rating -- which means very tightly structured processes. When a sysadmin comes to install Microsoft Office on fish's PC, fish asks him to put it on a secondary hard-disk partition in order to keep his primary partition free. Sysadmin says he'll come back later. "After two days, he finally turned up for the installation," fish says. "When I asked him what took so long, he said that's the time it took to get all the paperwork done."

That Explains It

Manager complains to pilot fish that the system for measuring sales staff productivity isn't working. "Only one person showed up on this week's report, which lists phone calls, e-mails, appointments and sales," fish says. Turns out there's a reason: Though the sales staff was in the office, it was a holiday week. "The rest of the sales team did no work at all for three days," fish sighs. "It wasn't the system that wasn't working -- it was the sales staff."

Details, Details

The PC mice that this pilot fish ordered haven't arrived, so he walks across the street to the delivery company's office. "Lady asks what I'm looking for, and I say 'mice,'" says fish. "She starts walking to the back and says she's going to listen for them." It takes fish a minute to realize some people do send live animals by overnight delivery. When the clerk returns empty-handed, fish adds, "Er ... computer mice."

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Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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