Throwback Thursday: Well, that explains it

Pilot fish has an urgent problem: There's a major system outage at this company, and it needs to be escalated at once to Support Team A.

But the outage has knocked out the automated alarm-monitoring system, so that can't alert Team A about the problem.

"Team A is notoriously difficult to contact by phone, and today is no different," says fish. "Impact of the outage is rising rapidly, so as a last resort, I created a trouble ticket in their queue.

"The reason this is a last resort is that Team A uses two different ticket systems, and the only one I have access to isn't their preferred one -- it's only used for external escalations, such as mine."

That means fish can't be sure anyone will take action on the ticket right away, or even notice it. Usually, the way to alert a team is by phone. But because Team A doesn't answer the phone, fish can't do that.

So instead he calls Team B. Team B performs a similar role to Team A, but at a different site. Team B answers the phone instantly and is more than willing to pass a ticket to Team A for fish.

Just one catch: Team B doesn't have the ability to enter trouble tickets, only action them. And the ticket system Team B uses is the one fish doesn't have access to.

Team B's suggested solution is to bring the original ticket to Team A's attention by -- of course -- calling Team A.

"My only solution left is to call yet another support team, Team C, which has nothing to do with the system experiencing the outage, but does use the required ticketing system," fish says. "Team C is at yet another site, and it appears that their phone system is down altogether.

"I'm currently waiting for a colleague -- who works at yet another location just across the road from Team C -- to physically walk to their office to ask them for a mobile phone number so I can finally get a ticket to Team A.

"What business is my company in? Telecommunications."

Sharky never answers the phone, either. But send me your true tale of IT life by email at You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales in the Sharkives.

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