Infallible

The only problem is that users aren’t perfect.

Computerworld  |  Shark Tank
Computerworld / IDG

Pilot fish works in support for a software company, taking calls from users who are having problems with the company’s accounts-receivable product.

One caller can’t find a company in the dropdown list, though it should be there; user has to add charges to that company’s account. Fish looks into it, and eventually it is discovered that someone has marked that company as “inactive,” an erroneous status.

After fish talks the user through making the company active again, he goes to talk to his boss, suggesting that the software has data integrity issues and should be updated to prevent users from deactivating companies that have outstanding charges.

Boss cringes upon hearing the term “data integrity” and is adamant that the change isn’t necessary. Users, he tells fish, should manage the data correctly, and if they don’t, it’s their fault, not the system’s. Most users enter correct data, he says; the ones who don’t need to learn how to do their jobs.

It’s a fight fish knows he’s not going to win, but as he heads back to his desk, he reviews some of his experiences with users: They frequently hit “Reply All” by mistake; they are the reason software developers invented CTRL-Z; and they require popups that ask them to confirm that they really mean to delete something.

But, sure, users know what they’re doing.

Sharky knows that you know what you’re doing. And that you’ve seen what can happen when people don’t. Those are true tales of IT life. Send me yours at sharky@computerworld.com. You can also subscribe to the Daily Shark Newsletter.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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