Reply to post: We'll always have Lincoln

User filed fake trouble tickets to take helpful sysadmin to lunches

Admiral Grace Hopper

We'll always have Lincoln

We were having odd problems with a piece of client/server code that wrote state information from the desktop to an Access DB on the local office servers. Try as we might, we couldn't replicate it on the set up we had in our development office and nothing showed up on any of the logs that pulled from the servers or the desktops. I asked if we might be permitted an office visit, which was refused for months until the manager of the Lincoln office got sick and tired enough to authorise the budget for a two-dayer.

Having got to their office, suited and booted with our customer-facing faces on, we had little to do other than wait for things to go bang. As it was the first time that we as developers had been allowed near the end users we took the opportunity to ask them how they found the software. We learned that they didn't like it, but largely because it had been foisted on them and their training hadn't covered the bits that we'd put in to make their lives easier. We spend two working days giving impromptu training in our software and Windows 3.11 in general and having found the diagnostic data we needed, left an office much happier with life in general and our software in particular. The office manager sent a letter to our boss expressing her joy, we got a nice little bonus, lots of steers on where the next version needed to go to make the users even more happier, we'd had a jolly nice time in Lincoln with its wonderful pubs and all was well with with the world.

Two days later we got a phone call. A field tech had arrived and rebuilt their server and nothing worked any more. The customer had two offices in Lincoln with two different functions, thus two different server builds. Their server now had the wrong build on it, it was Friday and the field tech had buggered off. It took our support guys three days to sort it out. All that good PR washed away like tears in rain.

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