Friday, April 11, 2014

Actual conversation with my management yesterday.

Manager 1: Can you make an alarm display to monitor the potential impact of [event].  We need it by close of business.

Me: Sure, but can we first discuss exactly what you want the display to do, so I understand the requirements?  I have to write and test code, plus design and build a GUI page, which takes quite a bit of time, so I'd like to get it right first time.

M1: Can't you just do it the same as last time?

Me: That's why I'd like to discuss what you want in detail.  I didn't build the monitoring last time, and I don't think the way it was done was of much value - I'd like to understand exactly what you want it to show you.

Manager 2: We want to see any power issues.

Me: OK, network or service power issues?  The former won't be a problem as the sites area hosted environment with multiple backups, the latter are dependent on customer sites.  Those are not network issues, and nor can we do anything about them.  And the customer doesn't have power to any of their equipment then I doubt they will care less if one isolated piece of equipment we just happen to supply still has a few LEDs lit, yeah?

M1: How did we do it last time?

Me: We did the customer site monitoring I just described, which is why I ask, because it's a total waste of time and doesn't tell you anything useful.

M1: Let's just do that again then.

Me: OK, I'll just put the display from last time up and change the labels on it.

M1: But will that monitor the right sites?

Me: No, but if all we're generating is useless numbers that mean nothing then I might as well spend as little time doing it as possible.

M2: But we have to report on this to senior management.

Me: Report what??  As I said at the start, you need to tell me what you need to report on, so I know what to build.  You need to tell me precisely what devices you want to look at, and precisely what conditions you want to observe.  [Monitoring system] reports specific events, it's not fuzzy logic.

M2: Just do the same thing as last time.  And I also need to know [bizarre requirement].

Me: Sorry, [monitoring system] can't do that.

M2: I don't care, I need it for reporting.

Me: I heard you, but that doesn't change what [monitoring system] is capable of.  It can't do that function, not possible.

M2: Look, I've got to go to another meeting, but this needs to happen [leaves].

Me: (to M1) You do understand that what M2 is asking for is impossible, don't you?  Look, what I'm hearing here is that you just want something that looks flash and gives the impression that we're being proactive just in case senior management ask then fine, yeah?  I'll chuck something together.  It won't do anything particularly useful but it will look cool, and you'll be able to point to it if you are asked.  Will that do you?

M1: Got it in one, let's do it.

I code frantically for 2 hours and finally knock the damn thing out about an hour after knock-off time.  E-mail to all concerned explaining how to get to it, what it does, how to read it etc.

Fast forward to this morning:

M1: Is it possible for you to make some changes...


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