See, you just have to ask them the right way

Go-live date for this big application update is now just days away, but it still hasn't been fully tested, says the pilot fish responsible for the project.

"Part of the preparation is to test the big update's ability to integrate with payroll," fish explains. "This, of course, requires cooperation from the Payroll Department. They must set up suitable test data in the primary test environment.

"The big update doesn't benefit them directly, and they have been highly resistant to assisting with any testing. 'Too busy, higher priorities' is what they have been saying for three months."

Naturally, all the other departments are busy too, but they've managed to find time to help fish with testing. And with go-live less than a week out, it's increasingly clear that the payroll integration test isn't going to happen at all.

Since that's a lost cause, fish has a little time on his hands, so he decides to take a long-overdue look at an old problem on a different system. The issue has received little of fish's attention because of the big update, and it's a good time to make some progress on it.

So at the weekly meeting, fish announces that he'll be using the secondary test environment that afternoon -- and that the nature of the test will make the secondary environment inaccessible for all other users for the three hours or more that the test is running.

"Wait," says the guy representing Payroll. "We need that system for a test we're running."

And fish suddenly feels the warm glow of fate smiling upon him.

"Oh?" fish replies. "It's not reserved on the calendar..."

Reports fish, "After some negotiation, I get them to agree to a compromise: If I delay my secondary test for a day, they will create the payroll data I need for the big update integration test.

"I have my doubts that they'll uphold their end of the bargain. However, I did get them to admit, in front of several Director-level managers, that they do indeed have plenty of time to help with my test."

Sharky's pretty sure you've got a little time this weekend to send me your true tale of IT life at You'll snag a snazzy 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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