Reply to post: Re: Dolt

When customers see red, sometimes the obvious solution will only fan the flames

Lee D Silver badge

Re: Dolt

"If your company has produced software with a (for example) timing bug which can't be reproduced at will by the user, you're still responsible for fixing it. Just because you can't reproduce it doesn't mean it's not a major PITA for your customers."

And the first question they're going to ask me on the support line? Can you reproduce that for us, because we can't.

Again *I* cannot fix a problem that I cannot reproduce. Others may be able to - and if it's a supported piece of external software, that's up to them.

Yes, in my career, I have had to say "I'll call the company. You know their turnaround on things like this is about 10 weeks, don't you? No, I'm sorry, I can't recode their program for them. They have to fix it. That means we have to wait for them to fix it. I'll try to find you a workaround, but other than that, it's out of my hands." In fact I've said it on a regular basis.

Just because it's a major PITA for my customers doesn't mean I can reproduce it, and even if I can reproduce it, actually fixing it is often someone else's problem.

(Say Word crashed every time you opened a particular file - no matter what you do, that file never opens, even on a clean install, even on an up-to-date install, on every computer, every test, it crashes - do you think you can *do* anything about fixing that? I don't just mean "recreate that file" but actually fixing the problem? No. Only Microsoft can. And even if you recreate the file, what if it's what you want to do that causes the crash, i.e. it doesn't like the data pulled from the production database? IT are not programmers - actually some of us are - but we're certainly NOT programmers with full development environments, complete source code to every program we deploy, and the ability to create patches for every problem as part of our normal working day.

The reason we pay for support contracts is for others to fix the problems they cause. I currently have at least three support contracts and one of them has something like 20 outstanding and reported issues, one of them from 4 years ago, that has never been fixed. There's *nothing* I can do about that, while the company wants to continue to use that software. In this case, the upheaval of removing that software is orders-of-magnitude worse than the outstanding issues, and the outstanding issues I cannot fix - I even produced an Excel that, using the data in the associated database, and after much churning, produces the output we desire. They still haven't added that function into the database themselves, and they probably have no intention to. And, yes, we have threatened to leave. They do nothing.

Sometimes, all IT can do is say "That doesn't work, don't do that."

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