Pager goes off, and sysadmin pilot fish checks her voice mail. “My monitor is smoking and making noises,” user’s message says. “I think it’s on fire. Can you take a look at it?” Fish sprints to the user’s office and pulls the plug on the smoldering monitor. Relieved user: “Thanks, it was getting hot in here.” Says fish, “I’ll never understand why he stuck to the IT support procedure but not to any fire-hazard safety ones.”
As soon as support pilot fish arrives at boss’s office, boss tears into fish for failing to keep the PCs running properly. When the rant finally ends, fish asks what the problem is. “The boss explains that his CD drive isn’t working,” fish reports. “I open up the CD drive, turn the disk over and put it back in. Boss’s comment: ‘At least you’re learning from your mistakes.’”
Secretary inherits a large electronic mailing address list to use and calls IT pilot fish for help. “She wanted to have it sorted by name to make it easier to find duplicates and so forth,” says fish. “I said sure, just send me the file. An hour later, a stack of 200-plus pages arrived by interoffice mail. She had printed each address on the list on its own page for me to sort.”
Sysadmin pilot fish is watching over midrange systems on the evening shift when he notices a fellow midrange IT guy who’s having trouble with his PC. “His computer crashed and wouldn’t reboot,” fish says. “He said he had a huge bunch of old Excel files that he didn’t recognize and no longer wanted. When he deleted them, the computer failed. I asked him just what exactly he did. He said he searched for all the ‘.exe’ files and deleted them.”
This pilot fish’s IT shop is improving its processes, and fish is training software developers in the new estimation procedure. “I indicated that while we have a procedure to follow and a template to document their estimates, sometimes they have to use judgment to know what and when to estimate,” fish reports. Trainee’s response: “Well, how do we know when to use judgment? Is that documented anywhere?”
Help us feed the shark by tossing those tasty true tales of IT life into the tank. We promise not to publish your name or any other details that would identify you — so send those stories in to [email protected].