We're still away for our summer break, skimming our inbox and horrified by all the things you're sending us. Keep doing it. Speaking of horrors, this one's about backups. You know what's about to happen… Original. -- Remy

It ain't easy being number one, especially for R.B.'s company. With €730 million in annual revenues, they're the leader in a relatively small (€1.6 billion) niche market and are constantly struggling to maintain their dominance amongst a handful of vicious competitors. Recently, an executive at the company came up with an astonishingly brilliant plan that would ensure that they stayed on top for many years to come. This plan was named The Convergence.

The Convergence was, in all seriousness, a really good idea. It represented a completely new way of doing business that relied heavily on technology and its ability to integrate the supply chain with the customer experience. It would do nothing short of revolutionizing their entire industry, leaving their competitors struggling just to stay afloat.

Being that it was such a large idea, The Convergence would take a lot of time and money to implement. Just about all departments -- from sales to customer service -- would need to dedicate resources to complete the project. The I.T. budget alone was €2.3 million, which was at least five times larger than any project before it. To make sure that the I.T. portion of the project went smoothly, an Expert Project Manager was brought in.

To the Expert Project Manager, a €2.3 million project was nothing. Chump change. Small potatoes. Nickels and dimes. Chicken feed. Compared to his portfolio, this "tiny little project" would be a cinch to run out.

The first thing the Expert Project Manager requested was Expert Team Collaboration Software. His request was denied: the software was expensive and required dedicated hardware to run. He was, however, authorized to set up a demonstration of it so that others could "experiment on it and see how it works." And that he did: a development server was recommissioned and the Expert Team Collaboration Software was installed.

Time went by and the Expert Project Manager started to use the Expert Team Collaboration Software for a bit more than demo purposes. Agendas, meeting notes, requirements, etc. all started to find a home in the collaboration software and, before everyone realized it, they had all transitioned to using the Expert Team Collaboration Software for everything related to the project.

This was all despite R.B.'s vehement objections. Keep in mind that the setup was on a temporary development server with no security, no backups, and no support from Network Operations. As with some of the other developers, R.B. was shuffled aside and even criticized for being uncooperative. After a while, R.B just gave up and went with the flow.

Fast forward a year and a half and The Convergence plan is getting closer and closer to being implemented. As part of the project, a Terminal Server needed to be setup for development and testing purposes. Over the weekend, the folks in Network Operations recommissioned an unused development server, wiped it clean, and configured a new set up.

The following Monday morning, a business analyst working on The Convergence couldn't find the document she was working on in the Expert Team Collaboration Software. In fact, not only was her document missing, but so were the initial charters, plans, budgets, request for proposals, test scripts, requirements, etc. She asked a developer to help her find out why ...

Developer: What happened to all of our data on the Expert Team Collaboration Software server?
Network Operations Administrator: No idea. Why do you ask, and what is an "Expert Team Collaboration Software Server"?
Dev: Umm ... it was the server we have all the documents for The Convergence on.
Admin: ... the file share? That's up and running just --
Dev: No, no -- the Expert Team Collaboration Software Server, DEVT09 I think.
Admin: Oh that server? We wiped that for the Terminal Server you guys requested.
Dev: ... we need it back ... can you restore it from backup?
Admin: No -- we don't back up your Dev Temp Servers.

The developer reported this in the morning project meeting. The Expert Project Manager didn't find the joke too funny, as the Expert Team Collaboration Software housed over a years worth of work from 28 different people. When it was explained to him that it wasn't a joke, the Expert Project Manager excused himself and headed in the direction of the restrooms. No one has seen him since.

But of course, the real fun came when someone had to sit in for the Expert Project Manager at the Board of Directors status meeting and explain all this. It turns out that the bigwigs weren't too understanding about The Convergence being delayed for a year ... or even about being asked if they saved any hard copies of the project documentation.

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