• QJo (unregistered)

    Bah -- Lotus Notes. A client of ours uses it, as well as a considerable quantity of other IBM stuff. They even have an IBM extension to Eclipse that they insist we use. And there's a bug in it such that it loses track sometimes of the checkout status of certain of the files such that the only way you can recover from it is to scrap your view and start all over again with a new one. The general development experience is not the best.

  • EuroGuy (unregistered)

    Why would they upgrade if everything was supposed to stay the same?

  • gilhad (unregistered)

    "Victor, you are fired. Do not touch anything and do not ever return!"

    "What?"

    “It was in the project plan! Section 37B: ‘Apply any necessary changes' It’s all there, black and white, clear as crystal!”

  • John (unregistered)

    If you read all of Victor's parts in a German accent, this is hysterical.

  • Zacrath (cs)

    This whole article reminds me of Faulty by Design. At least they had a somewhat valid reason. (To avoid re-training.) This victor guy just has a OCD problem.

  • Cujo (unregistered)

    You haven't even approached the horror that is Lotus Notes "email". DOS-based mail with a command window is superior. Mail vanishes without a trace, archives randomly delete. It's a standing joke here.

  • Shoreline (cs)
    Victor:
    You are just putting new hardware in, nothing should be different.

    Maybe they should try putting a new Victor in. After all, nothing will be different.

  • faoileag (unregistered)

    Ok, let's see. Client which is not exactly tech savvy needs an upgrade and goes to a full service provider. Now, that is exactly what a full service provider is for and yes, you work to the specifications from the client. You can try to weed out the more ridiculous requests during the negotiating phase, but if you don't succeed you will have to fulfill them. That is, somehow, your business model.

    If the customer complains that his forms pop up too fast after upgrading to new hardware, you can make them pop up slower, or you can argue with the customer. If the latter happens on a regular basis, perhaps you should consider moving into another field of the industry.

    As for the resulting chaos after the lotus install had been finally upgraded: entirely Danny's fault. Yes, information sharing should be a push process and not a pull process, but in an environment as weird as Victor's shop, Danny should have covered his bases nevertheless. It's his company's business to make the transition work, so it's his company's businees to make sure they have all the relevant information.

    Again: if you don't like that move into another field. Customer centric work usually involves working with difficult customers. There are people who strive on that and take pride in making difficult customers happy. You need that kind of attitude, otherwise a job one step removed from customers is usually better.

  • nobulate (unregistered)

    sigh

  • Coyne (cs)

    We have host applications like this: Where the user knows every broken keystroke needed to use the broken application; and we can't improve anything because they would have to learn a new keystroking pattern.

  • RFox (unregistered)

    These comments are not on the project plan.

  • bluesman (unregistered)

    A 4-week stretch of 60-hour work weeks is supposed to impress me? Man, that's almost like a holiday.

  • Dilbert (unregistered) in reply to faoileag
    faoileag:
    <crap removed> There are people who strive on that and take pride in making difficult customers happy. You need that kind of attitude, otherwise a job one step removed from customers is usually better.

    I guess 'faoileag' is an alias of 'Victor'. The customer is not always right. Helping, steering, educating, coaching is way better than just having it his way all the time. I for one don't grovel for customers..

    And by the way.. it's Thrive, not strive in this context.

  • QJo (unregistered) in reply to faoileag
    faoileag:
    Ok, let's see. Client which is not exactly tech savvy needs an upgrade and goes to a full service provider. Now, that is exactly what a full service provider is for and yes, you work to the specifications from the client. You can try to weed out the more ridiculous requests during the negotiating phase, but if you don't succeed you will have to fulfill them. That is, somehow, your business model.

    If the customer complains that his forms pop up too fast after upgrading to new hardware, you can make them pop up slower, or you can argue with the customer. If the latter happens on a regular basis, perhaps you should consider moving into another field of the industry.

    As for the resulting chaos after the lotus install had been finally upgraded: entirely Danny's fault. Yes, information sharing should be a push process and not a pull process, but in an environment as weird as Victor's shop, Danny should have covered his bases nevertheless. It's his company's business to make the transition work, so it's his company's businees to make sure they have all the relevant information.

    Again: if you don't like that move into another field. Customer centric work usually involves working with difficult customers. There are people who strive on that and take pride in making difficult customers happy. You need that kind of attitude, otherwise a job one step removed from customers is usually better.

    From my reading of the story, Danny did a superb job of the changeover, with one minor hiccup in that some of the procedure was not followed, thereby causing a day's delay. Nowhere in the article did it say that Danny lost his temper with Victor or spoke to him with anything less than respect, except at the end when anybody's patience would have been tried.

    Hence Danny is in the correct job, and makes a damn good fist of it. At the end of the day he has an anecdote about a particularly demanding customer who gave him a more challenging time than was usual.

    I read this story as: "this is the sort of stuff we have to put up with; while we can handle this sort of behaviour adequately, we would prefer that you do not behave like this when we are upgrading your system."

  • Maj najm (unregistered) in reply to bluesman
    bluesman:
    A 4-week stretch of 60-hour work weeks is supposed to impress me? Man, that's almost like a holiday.

    Only idiots work harder instead of smarter.

  • faoileag (unregistered) in reply to Dilbert
    Dilbert:
    faoileag:
    There are people who strive on that and take pride in making difficult customers happy. You need that kind of attitude, otherwise a job one step removed from customers is usually better.
    I guess 'faoileag' is an alias of 'Victor'. The customer is not always right. Helping, steering, educating, coaching is way better than just having it his way all the time. I for one don't grovel for customers..
    Nope, I'm not some sort of 'Victor'. I have a tendency to let professionals do their job.

    But I have met managers whose idea of a day well spent was to placate angry users in endless telephone conferences and by doing so avert damage from the company. And while this is not exactly my definition of a dream job, I'm more than happy that such people exist.

    Dilbert:
    And by the way.. it's Thrive, not strive in this context.
    Damn. I knew it sounded strange, but I was too tired investigate deeper. Need some coffee...
  • Decet (unregistered) in reply to Maj najm
    Maj najm:
    Only idiots work harder instead of smarter.
    A 4-week stretch of 6-hour work weeks will get you fired for being too smart.
  • bluesman (unregistered) in reply to Maj najm
    Maj najm:
    bluesman:
    A 4-week stretch of 60-hour work weeks is supposed to impress me? Man, that's almost like a holiday.

    Only idiots work harder instead of smarter.

    Not if you get paid by the hour.

  • faoileag (unregistered) in reply to QJo
    QJo:
    I read this story as: "this is the sort of stuff we have to put up with; while we can handle this sort of behaviour adequately, we would prefer that you do *not* behave like this when we are upgrading your system."
    Two readers, two interpretations. With the rather long list of what Victor considered "does not work" I read it as "Victor and his developers are TRWTF."
  • faoileag (unregistered) in reply to bluesman
    bluesman:
    Maj najm:
    bluesman:
    A 4-week stretch of 60-hour work weeks is supposed to impress me? Man, that's almost like a holiday.
    Only idiots work harder instead of smarter.
    Not if you get paid by the hour.
    Which is why you never pay a gardening and landscaping company by the hour. Always ask for a fixed quotation.
  • Wfd (unregistered) in reply to Decet

    Depends on your boss.

    If everything she can think of for me to do is done, why shouldn't I call it a day?

  • Customers are NOT always right (unregistered) in reply to faoileag
    faoileag:
    Ok, let's see. Client which is not exactly tech savvy needs an upgrade and goes to a full service provider. Now, that is exactly what a full service provider is for and yes, you work to the specifications from the client. You can try to weed out the more ridiculous requests during the negotiating phase, but if you don't succeed you will have to fulfill them. That is, somehow, your business model.

    If the customer complains that his forms pop up too fast after upgrading to new hardware, you can make them pop up slower, or you can argue with the customer. If the latter happens on a regular basis, perhaps you should consider moving into another field of the industry.

    As for the resulting chaos after the lotus install had been finally upgraded: entirely Danny's fault. Yes, information sharing should be a push process and not a pull process, but in an environment as weird as Victor's shop, Danny should have covered his bases nevertheless. It's his company's business to make the transition work, so it's his company's businees to make sure they have all the relevant information.

    Again: if you don't like that move into another field. Customer centric work usually involves working with difficult customers. There are people who strive on that and take pride in making difficult customers happy. You need that kind of attitude, otherwise a job one step removed from customers is usually better.

    Oh, gosh, where to start! A customer getting NEW hardware and complaining about the improved speed is definitely a CUSTOMER problem! Victor needs to move on to retirement if his small brain can't even READ machine specs -- which CLEARLY indicate it is faster than the old hardware.

    faoileag, I think you are in the wrong business.

  • faoileag (unregistered) in reply to Customers are NOT always right
    Customers are NOT always right:
    faoileag:
    ...my long rant...

    Oh, gosh, where to start! A customer getting NEW hardware and complaining about the improved speed is definitely a CUSTOMER problem! Victor needs to move on to retirement if his small brain can't even READ machine specs -- which CLEARLY indicate it is faster than the old hardware.

    So, you would handle it like:

    Victor: The forms are opening to fast! Customers are NOT always right: You've got new hardware. What do you expect? Victor: That you stick to the contract and change nothing! Customers are NOT always right: This is a ridiculous requirement. You take it as it is, or leave it.

    Alternative 1: Victor: This is the last time your company will have been contracted by us. As for fulfilment of the current contract, our legal department will determine whether the requirements have been met.

    Alternative 2: Victor: Your boss, my brother-in-law, has promised me that nothing would change. I will meet him this evening and we will discuss why you can't deliver on that promise.

    The customer is always right as long as he ist paying for it.

  • Medinoc (cs) in reply to faoileag
    faoileag:
    Ok, let's see. Client which is not exactly tech savvy needs an upgrade and goes to a full service provider. Now, that is exactly what a full service provider is for and yes, you work to the specifications from the client. You can try to weed out the more ridiculous requests during the negotiating phase, but if you don't succeed you will have to fulfill them. That is, somehow, your business model.

    If the customer complains that his forms pop up too fast after upgrading to new hardware, you can make them pop up slower, or you can argue with the customer. If the latter happens on a regular basis, perhaps you should consider moving into another field of the industry.

    As for the resulting chaos after the lotus install had been finally upgraded: entirely Danny's fault. Yes, information sharing should be a push process and not a pull process, but in an environment as weird as Victor's shop, Danny should have covered his bases nevertheless. It's his company's business to make the transition work, so it's his company's businees to make sure they have all the relevant information.

    Again: if you don't like that move into another field. Customer centric work usually involves working with difficult customers. There are people who strive on that and take pride in making difficult customers happy. You need that kind of attitude, otherwise a job one step removed from customers is usually better.

    The customer also said "no software changes". Adding a speed-up loop to the form popup code would be a software change. And the insanity came from Victor thinking the speed improvement resulted from a software change while there had been none in the first place.
  • UpNDown (cs)

    Overall, I'd put this in the "good projects" bin. Actual plans written by the customer that more-or-less work? Great! Doesn't let the contractor off the hook for not noticing that the plan misses or understates a step. Still, sounds like a successful project. If this is the worst you've seen in the business, you're in for a surprise.

  • boomzilla (cs)

    TRWTF is that we have a story with Lotus Notes and Lotus Notes is not TRWTF.

  • faoileag (unregistered) in reply to faoileag
    faoileag:
    The customer is always right as long as he ist paying for it.
    I just remebered a story I once heard about staff cars for civil servants.

    The lowest rank meriting a staff car did not also merit an air conditioning system, while the rank above that did.

    At one point air conditioning became standard for the chosen model from the chosen manufacturer, instead of an extra.

    What to do? The lowest rank didn't merit an air conditioning system, but the model came with it... now the two ranks wouldn't be distinguishable by the assigned staff cars!

    In the end the manufacturer was paid for removing the air condition from the staff cars for the lower rank.

    Yeah, I know it sounds like an urban myth - I'm still trying to find traces on the web.

  • Wrexham (unregistered) in reply to faoileag
    faoileag:
    The customer is always right as long as he ist paying for it.
    "as long as he ist paying for it"? Somehow, it seems appropriate that you've slipped into a German accent ;-)
  • KattMan (cs) in reply to faoileag
    faoileag:
    The customer is always right as long as he ist paying for it.

    You know, I almost feel like you are just trolling here, two reasons:

    1. The scenario you present is just ludicris and takes things to an extreme assuming that is the only other way to handle it.
    2. In reality, the customer is NEVER right.

    How do I know this? The customer has needs, those needs have to be fulfilled. That is all the customer has. If he gives you a solution they are wrong at the outset. Why? Because they hired you. They hired you because they can not do it themselves, hence their plan either is bigger then they are, or they do not have the technical expertise available to execute the plan. Customers sometimes have ideas on how things need to be done, and sometimes those ideas completely miss the reality of the technical requirements. This article was a rarity where the customer actually had a workable plan, and credit should be given to that. So back to this, the customer has needs, you have to fulfill those needs, if at times that means using some of their plan then so be it. In the end, if the better way is to go off their plan in order to fulfill the need, you do so. Remember you are hired to fulfill the need, not run some script. It is only by not fulfilling the need will you fail.

  • Chris P. Peterson (unregistered)

    Victor should tackle some really big problems of the world. He could create a project plan to solve say world hunger, set an impossibly short deadline, follow the project plan to the letter, and it would be done.

  • quibus (unregistered)
    Article:
    and the need to print out then scan documents back into the Lotus document manager
    What, no wooden table?! No wonder their system was such a mess.
  • Richard (unregistered)

    At my previous job we used Lotus Notes purely because it was known to be so terrible so few people used it so less viruses were written for it. shrugs

  • faoileag (unregistered) in reply to KattMan
    KattMan:
    faoileag:
    The customer is always right as long as he ist paying for it.
    You know, I almost feel like you are just trolling here
    I'm not.
    KattMan:
    1. The scenario you present is just ludicris and takes things to an extreme assuming that is the only other way to handle it.
    What's wrong with a bit of hyperbole? Actually I think some of Victors "doesn't work" complaints are just embellishments added to create the right setup.
    KattMan:
    2. In reality, the customer is NEVER right.
    That attitude usually gets you out of business as soon as someone comes along who takes the opposite stance.

    Believe me, I'm the first to try to talk the customer out of ridiculous ideas (ridiculous to me, at least). Only if that fails (and escalating doesn't help either) am I willing to help the customer paint himself into a corner.

    A lot more is possible than makes sense, but if whoever is paying my mortgage (rent, meals, whatever) is insisting on getting a solution that does not make sense, then so be it.

    KattMan:
    So back to this, the customer has needs, you have to fulfill those needs.
    Full Ack. But it is arrogant to assume you know the customer's needs better than the customer himself. As I said, argue with him, bring in your expertise, but a simple "I won't fulfil those requirements of yours because they are ridiculuous and stupid" is arrogant, bossy and, unless you know the customer's problem domain extremely well, dangerous to your business.
  • Dan Mercer (unregistered) in reply to faoileag

    I once was moved to a cube by a window. But I didn't have sufficient rank to deserve a cube by a window. The solution - they blocked off the window.

    captcha ideo - an idea hatched by an idiot

  • HerrDerSchatten (cs) in reply to faoileag

    My ex-girlfriends father was like that. He bought a new car, but he really hated "all this rubbish english music" (we are living in germany). So he paid a huge sum to remove the radio and even the speakers from the car. When my girlfriend inherited the car, my father wanted to plug in a radio and was totatlly suprised that there where no speakers - that never happened before (he had a sucessfull mechanics shop, so he saw lots of cars).

  • dkf (cs) in reply to faoileag
    faoileag:
    KattMan:
    2. In reality, the customer is NEVER right.
    That attitude usually gets you out of business as soon as someone comes along who takes the opposite stance.

    Believe me, I'm the first to try to talk the customer out of ridiculous ideas (ridiculous to me, at least). Only if that fails (and escalating doesn't help either) am I willing to help the customer paint himself into a corner.

    A lot more is possible than makes sense, but if whoever is paying my mortgage (rent, meals, whatever) is insisting on getting a solution that does not make sense, then so be it.

    The way I've had it described to me is that the customer is always the customer. Doesn't make them right or wrong. However, customers typically don't know exactly what they want (many of ours get new ideas when we show them a first prototype, which is why we do a first prototype!) and almost universally don't know the consequences of what they want. You sometimes have to come right out and tell them that while it's a great thing to want, you can't get there from where you are right now without a nasty detour.

    It usually helps to get them to fixate on the overall goal and what color the furnishings will be while you figure out how to build sufficiently strong load-bearing walls.

  • The Balance (unregistered)

    "Victor, I have posted an explanation of your difficult requests on the TDWTF.com sidebar... if you'd like to take a look at that with me, you can see that lots of people who know a lot more about this thing than you do are calling you a variety of things, ranging from 'incompetent bastard' to 'stupid old cunt that should be fired immediately'.

    Now, you can either let me do that job you hired me to do BECAUSE I'm better at it than you are, or you can continue to bitch and moan so that this project inevitably fails.

    Which is it?"

  • DonRobo (unregistered) in reply to bluesman
    bluesman:
    A 4-week stretch of 60-hour work weeks is supposed to impress me? Man, that's almost like a holiday.
    Oh man, you really must suck at your job.
  • Nagesh (cs)

    Danny did good job. Victor did better.

  • emaN ruoY (unregistered)

    If Office 2007 was too new to trust, I suppose they remain on Windows XP after EOL because Windows 7 is also too new to trust?

  • M-x org-mode (unregistered) in reply to faoileag
    faoileag:
    What to do? The lowest rank didn't merit an air conditioning system, but the model came with it... now the two ranks wouldn't be distinguishable by the assigned staff cars!

    In the end the manufacturer was paid for removing the air condition from the staff cars for the lower rank.

    Yeah, I know it sounds like an urban myth - I'm still trying to find traces on the web.

    I think the manufacurer delivered the cars desiged for cold climates instead the standard one, or made a special order for these car.

    Another sory is for cop cars. In the '70 rubber carpet and fake leather seats were a standard feature on most car models. In the '80 this arrangement got out of fashion and the standard car started to have velvet interiors and only for expensive car real leather was used for seats.

    But velvet carpet and seats could be a hell to clean after an arrested drunk guy barfed on the back seat, so copper cars were made with special lorder fake leather seats.

    By the way the Fiat Marea Turbo was a typical cop car, and the 180 hp turbochrged engine option on an otherwise bland family sedan was a byproduct of a large order of cop car.

  • ratchet freak (cs)

    TRWTF is Danny not calling a meeting and changing the "exactly" requirement to "as is now with possible improved performance and different layout and hardware"

  • Jeremy (unregistered) in reply to faoileag
    faoileag:
    Customers are NOT always right:
    faoileag:
    ...my long rant...

    Oh, gosh, where to start! A customer getting NEW hardware and complaining about the improved speed is definitely a CUSTOMER problem! Victor needs to move on to retirement if his small brain can't even READ machine specs -- which CLEARLY indicate it is faster than the old hardware.

    So, you would handle it like:

    Victor: The forms are opening to fast! Customers are NOT always right: You've got new hardware. What do you expect? Victor: That you stick to the contract and change nothing! Customers are NOT always right: This is a ridiculous requirement. You take it as it is, or leave it.

    Alternative 1: Victor: This is the last time your company will have been contracted by us. As for fulfilment of the current contract, our legal department will determine whether the requirements have been met.

    Alternative 2: Victor: Your boss, my brother-in-law, has promised me that nothing would change. I will meet him this evening and we will discuss why you can't deliver on that promise.

    The customer is always right as long as he ist paying for it.

    Of course, one could argue that this attitude, no matter how silly the application, is exactly why so many customers act like idiots.

    A little education never hurt anyone. "We upgraded the hardware, the hardware is faster, the program will run faster." Also, spelling out these fixes serves both implicitly spelling out how silly the request is, and also serving as confirmation that you're speaking the same language. "We can go into the programs and make changes to make it run slower if you'd like."

    There's always the chance that the customer isn't adequately explaining their concern, so just assuming the customer's no-one-could-be-this-idiotic request is exactly as idiotic as it sounds and actively ruining something just to avoid a 10 minute conversation doesn't serve their needs either.

  • sigh... (unregistered) in reply to emaN ruoY
    emaN ruoY:
    If Office 2007 was too new to trust, I suppose they remain on Windows XP after EOL because Windows 7 is also too new to trust?

    Obviously, they'll upgrade to Vista.

  • Jeremy (unregistered) in reply to Zacrath
    Comment held for moderation.
  • John (unregistered)

    I can't imagine anyone in the past 10 years complaining that a computer is too fast.

  • HeeHaw (unregistered) in reply to Maj najm
    Maj najm:
    bluesman:
    A 4-week stretch of 60-hour work weeks is supposed to impress me? Man, that's almost like a holiday.

    Only idiots work harder instead of smarter.

    And only fools actually BRAG about being over-worked.

  • MrBadAxe (unregistered)
    In the ancient time of 2008, people were still using Lotus Notes.

    My company's still (2014) using Lotus Notes. It's inspired me to develop the Lotus Notes drinking game:

    • Have open beer handy
    • When Lotus Notes hangs (which can be triggered by such things as moving an email folder), start drinking.
    • Stop drinking when either (in order of what's most likely to happen first) 1) your current beer runs out 2) you're completely out of beer 3) Notes starts responding again
  • TenshiNo (unregistered) in reply to KattMan
    KattMan:
    faoileag:
    The customer is always right as long as he ist paying for it.
    ...The customer has needs, those needs have to be fulfilled. That is all the customer has. If he gives you a solution they are wrong at the outset. Why? Because they hired you. They hired you because they can not do it themselves, hence their plan either is bigger then they are, or they do not have the technical expertise available to execute the plan.
    Amen to that.

    Too many times the customer wants to be a "back seat driver" to the project. I'll get you there (on time and within budget) but, if you're going to try and dictate my every breath along the way, you do it.

  • chubertdev (cs) in reply to Maj najm
    Maj najm:
    bluesman:
    A 4-week stretch of 60-hour work weeks is supposed to impress me? Man, that's almost like a holiday.

    Only idiots work harder instead of smarter.

    +1

    pace yourself

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