• Zemm (cs)

    White H1 is great

  • Alan (unregistered)

    We once hired a young developer after she worked at a logistics company for three years. She did not get along with our Trac System, so I she explained to me the bug tracking at her old company, wich she liked more:

    When a user called in a bug, she put it down on a post-it note and glued it on the Bug-Board. When it was fixxed the note was removed.

    I was amused, so I jokingly asked her what happened when a note got old and fell off. She replied that if it was so old, they were probably not able to fix the issue anyway.

  • Zemm (cs)

    So, Maggie didn't even know how to change the xlsx? Did she inherit the system but couldn't find a better way to do it?

    Kids these days don't know Excel or even Bugzilla. All the cool kids use JIRA

  • HerrDerSchatten (cs) in reply to Zemm
    Zemm:
    So, Maggie didn't even know how to change the xlsx? Did she inherit the system but couldn't find a better way to do it?

    Kids these days don't know Excel or even Bugzilla. All the cool kids use JIRA

    If you are not careful, you can easily build a macro which works right now, but crashes the instant somebody changes something on the sheet. When you have a macro which is so convoluted that you cannot even guess how it interacts with the sheet, you are stuck with the exact version of the xlsx. I think that distinugishes good from bad macros: Good macros are resilient to change or at least are explicit about their requirements.

  • me (unregistered)

    The first poster died. I have taken over responsibilities.

  • me (unregistered)

    The first poster died. I have taken over responsibilities.

  • Groundhog Boy (unregistered)

    Hey, that is also a way of handling things. Just wait until the problem dies. But alas, what if the person who is the problem is still quite young?

    Perhaps you could speed things along (your SUV is your friend, those stairs can be quite slippery, especially when using some soap). And if you are caught, still the problem is probably gone by the time you are released from prison.

    :-)

  • Khardof Bolinok (unregistered)

    I was hoping "Maggie" would actually be a script hooked up to the email address to parse the template and dump it into a database, and that its author had been dead for a decade before Rebecca started work.

  • Martin (unregistered)

    When you are not happy, kill your boss and you get his job.

    Good to know!

  • Hanzo (unregistered) in reply to Alan
    Alan:
    We once hired a young developer after she worked at a logistics company for three years. She did not get along with our Trac System, so I she explained to me the bug tracking at her old company, wich she liked more:

    When a user called in a bug, she put it down on a post-it note and glued it on the Bug-Board. When it was fixxed the note was removed.

    I was amused, so I jokingly asked her what happened when a note got old and fell off. She replied that if it was so old, they were probably not able to fix the issue anyway.

    In an organization where the best bug reports you're likely to get are "the thing is broken", that's probably at least as effective a system as any.

    Lowered expectations are the key to success.

  • Schol-R-LEA (cs)

    As I am sure others can attest, this is a woefully common pattern, as there are plenty of Mental MGTs whose experience with computers is limited to Word, Excel, and IE, and who refuse to use anything else. If it can't be done in one of those three, it can't be done with a computer, period.

    Worse still is when a department starts out using a Excel spreadsheet to track some important information, and do well for a few months or even years, only to find themselves overwhelmed as the rate of new entries increases. While this is a more understandable pattern, it is hard to deal with because all too often, when the decision is made to replace it with some more suitable tool, the users dig in like it's 1915 on the Western Front and prepare to go down fighting to defend their beloved spreadsheets. I'm slated for just such an updating project later this year, and the transition promises to be ugly for both sides.

    OTOH, anyone who has suffered through a Remedy CR know that there are worse solutions than a spreadsheet for change management.

  • Zacrath (cs)

    Wow, that's almost as bad as using your forum software to track bugs. But who would be stupid enough to do that?

  • foo AKA fooo (unregistered) in reply to Martin
    Martin:
    When you are not happy, kill your boss and you get his job.

    Good to know!

    Standard practice in the Klingon empire.

  • HerrDerSchatten (cs) in reply to Schol-R-LEA
    Schol-R-LEA:
    As I am sure others can attest, this is a woefully common pattern, as there are plenty of Mental MGTs whose experience with computers is limited to Word, Excel, and IE, and who refuse to use anything else. If it can't be done in one of those three, it can't be done with a computer, period.

    Worse still is when a department starts out using a Excel spreadsheet to track some important information, and do well for a few months or even years, only to find themselves overwhelmed as the rate of new entries increases. While this is a more understandable pattern, it is hard to deal with because all too often, when the decision is made to replace it with some more suitable tool, the users dig in like it's 1915 on the Western Front and prepare to go down fighting to defend their beloved spreadsheets. I'm slated for just such an updating project later this year, and the transition promises to be ugly for both sides.

    OTOH, anyone who has suffered through a Remedy CR know that there are worse solutions than a spreadsheet for change management.

    I was on the other side of such a project. The users are often concerned about a loss of versatillity: You can postproccess your excel-sheet easily, doing it with data from a web-app is non trivial. Look for processes which are taking place after data entry.

  • Anon coward (unregistered)

    The real WTF is accepting a job like this in the first place. When Rebecca attended the interview didn't she ask what her role and responsibilities would be? Didn't she ask what her day to day activities would involve?

  • Schol-R-LEA (cs) in reply to HerrDerSchatten
    HerrDerSchatten:
    I was on the other side of such a project. The users are often concerned about a loss of versatility: You can post-process your excel-sheet easily, doing it with data from a web-app is non trivial. Look for processes which are taking place after data entry.
    This is a good point, actually, especially when moving to a [strike]big heap of steaming dung[/strike] cloud-based system such as SFDC. Unfortunately, there has been little real contact between the users and developers, and I'm not sure how I could get any without going behind my boss' back and theirs. The only real contact we've got is the users' boss, and she's tight-lipped about everything except how critical a project this is. We won't know we got it wrong (which we inevitably will given the lack of communication) until she begins screaming at us to fix it.
  • HerrDerSchatten (cs) in reply to Schol-R-LEA
    Schol-R-LEA:
    HerrDerSchatten:
    I was on the other side of such a project. The users are often concerned about a loss of versatility: You can post-process your excel-sheet easily, doing it with data from a web-app is non trivial. Look for processes which are taking place after data entry.
    This is a good point, actually, especially when moving to a [strike]big heap of steaming dung[/strike] cloud-based system such as SFDC. Unfortunately, there has been little real contact between the users and developers, and I'm not sure how I could get any without going behind my boss' back and theirs. The only real contact we've got is the users' boss, and she's tight-lipped about everything except how critical a project this is. We won't know we got it wrong (which we inevitably will given the lack of communication) until she begins screaming at us to fix it.

    Wow, thats sounds really awful. My first job after university was as data analyst. Unfortunately, they wanted to get rid of SPSS (statistics software with a GUi from the 60s) and replace it with a php-app. Their lead developers never gathered requirements, but build a shiny new toy which could create crosstables which my team was told to use. In parallel I gathered a long list of requirements which where mission critical. Their lead developer took a look, dumped 80% of the list as corner cases and told me to use the new tool anyway - when the project management got told that I cannot do 90% of my work they clashed with the lead developer like madmen. Unfortunately, I was let got after one year because I did not employ the shiny web-app in my work at all. The web-app probably costs more than 100.000€, and that all to save around ~3000€ license costs per year and maybe one data analyst in the long run.

    Why is there no chance to talk to the users? Maybe in a lunch break?

  • noland (unregistered) in reply to Schol-R-LEA
    Schol-R-LEA:
    HerrDerSchatten:
    I was on the other side of such a project. The users are often concerned about a loss of versatility: You can post-process your excel-sheet easily, doing it with data from a web-app is non trivial. Look for processes which are taking place after data entry.
    This is a good point, actually, especially when moving to a [strike]big heap of steaming dung[/strike] cloud-based system such as SFDC. Unfortunately, there has been little real contact between the users and developers, and I'm not sure how I could get any without going behind my boss' back and theirs. The only real contact we've got is the users' boss, and she's tight-lipped about everything except how critical a project this is. We won't know we got it wrong (which we inevitably will given the lack of communication) until she begins screaming at us to fix it.
    Make sure the data is presented in your app such that it can be copied as a plain text in a way that allows it to be pasted into an other application for post-processing. (E.g., the text breaking up in record-based lines, some text to be copied for non-text items like checkboxes, etc. When it comes to spreadsheets, you'll probably have to provide a tab-separated-text export at least. Or you might pad your data in html with white-space to fixed length fields that would be noticeable only, if copied and pasted into some other app.)
  • Steve (unregistered)

    This would be an improvement over Jira.

  • grasshoppa (unregistered) in reply to Martin
    Martin:
    When you are not happy, kill your boss and you get his job.

    Good to know!

    Please, let's not pretend that's the first time something like that has occurred to anyone here.

  • tharpa (cs) in reply to grasshoppa
    grasshoppa:
    Martin:
    When you are not happy, kill your boss and you get his job.

    Good to know!

    Please, let's not pretend that's the first time something like that has occurred to anyone here.
    To be fair, who hasn't done something like this?

  • the beholder (unregistered) in reply to Zacrath
    Zacrath:
    Wow, that's almost as bad as using your forum software to track bugs. But who would be stupid enough to do that?
    You're telling me. I once saw one even worse being used on a developer blog/forum (seriously. How come?). What was it again? Dickysort? Thinscorn? SpectateSwamp's Desktop Forum? I forgot.

    Still, I believe Erik should probably rename this article "The second worst Bug Tracking software".

    OT: Kudos to Erik on writing an article good enough to avoid being torn apart by The Angry Nerd Mob.

  • QJo (unregistered) in reply to Hanzo
    Hanzo:
    Alan:
    We once hired a young developer after she worked at a logistics company for three years. She did not get along with our Trac System, so I she explained to me the bug tracking at her old company, wich she liked more:

    When a user called in a bug, she put it down on a post-it note and glued it on the Bug-Board. When it was fixxed the note was removed.

    I was amused, so I jokingly asked her what happened when a note got old and fell off. She replied that if it was so old, they were probably not able to fix the issue anyway.

    In an organization where the best bug reports you're likely to get are "the thing is broken", that's probably at least as effective a system as any.

    Lowered expectations are the key to success.

    I used to work at a place where "The thing is broken!" was routinely rejected as an inadequate bug report. You were at least required to apply an expletive as an adjective to "thing".

    Some bug reports came in with the ultra-specific: "The f**ing fer's fing fed to f*!"

  • trtrwtf (unregistered) in reply to Zacrath
    Zacrath:
    Wow, that's almost as bad as using your forum software to track bugs. But who would be stupid enough to do that?

    sigh... my employer, for one.

  • olaf (unregistered)

    Why did she die?

  • Poopy (unregistered)

    I once did some contract work for a health insurance company building their data warehouse. Since they did not have any bug tracking software, I created a simple Excel file on a shared drive to keep a track of issues/bugs between us 3 ETL developers. It was only supposed to be used by the 3 of us. But once the management got a wind of the awesome bug tracking software we were using, they expanded it to the whole team (20+ people). We had daily occurrences of file access errors, multiple versions and people overwriting other people's changes.

  • Poopy (unregistered) in reply to olaf
    olaf:
    Why did she die?

    She contracted an Excel macro virus.

  • Use Purell After Reading (unregistered) in reply to noland
    HerrDerSchatten:
    Make sure the data is presented in your app such that it can be copied as a plain text in a way that allows it to be pasted into an other application for post-processing. (E.g., the text breaking up in record-based lines, some text to be copied for non-text items like checkboxes, etc. When it comes to spreadsheets, you'll probably have to provide a tab-separated-text export at least. Or you might pad your data in html with white-space to fixed length fields that would be noticeable only, if copied and pasted into some other app.)

    A great feature I have seen in some web apps is the ability to download almost anything to a csv. Every section/widget/table had a link at the bottom to output to CSV. Very nice for the post processing and analysis.

    Captcha: secundum - I secondum idea to add a .csv download link to your data tables.

  • operagost (cs) in reply to Martin

    I was going to make a witty comment, but the thing don't work!

  • QJo (unregistered) in reply to Use Purell After Reading
    Use Purell After Reading:
    HerrDerSchatten:
    Make sure the data is presented in your app such that it can be copied as a plain text in a way that allows it to be pasted into an other application for post-processing. (E.g., the text breaking up in record-based lines, some text to be copied for non-text items like checkboxes, etc. When it comes to spreadsheets, you'll probably have to provide a tab-separated-text export at least. Or you might pad your data in html with white-space to fixed length fields that would be noticeable only, if copied and pasted into some other app.)

    A great feature I have seen in some web apps is the ability to download almost anything to a csv. Every section/widget/table had a link at the bottom to output to CSV. Very nice for the post processing and analysis.

    Captcha: secundum - I secondum idea to add a .csv download link to your data tables.

    You can do that from Excel as well. Where's the problem?

  • Use Purell After Reading (unregistered) in reply to QJo
    QJo:
    You can do that from Excel as well. Where's the problem?
    1. Ease of use. Excel does work great with the web query or whatever they call it, but that's a lot of steps to dump some rows into it.

    2. Additional processing on server is possible. Totals rows, additional columns, etc.

    3. Security. Users saving the login info in Excel for the web query then emailing around the office.

    It's a nice feature in certain applications and I imagine once you wrote it, it was fairly simple to add to all the widgets.

  • amomynous (unregistered) in reply to Poopy
    Poopy:
    I created a simple Excel file on a shared drive to keep a track of issues/bugs between us 3 ETL developers. It was only supposed to be used by the 3 of us.
    YOU are TRWTF!

    captcha: odio... yeah, you'll get a lot of that!

  • unknown (unregistered) in reply to Schol-R-LEA

    Yeah Remedy CR's are the worst. So many useless fields.

  • anonymous (unregistered) in reply to olaf
    olaf:
    Why did she die?
    Old age, probably. "Every email was kept under Inbox" and the use of ALL CAPS FILENAMES were the main hints.
  • Peter (unregistered) in reply to foo AKA fooo
    foo AKA fooo:
    Martin:
    When you are not happy, kill your boss and you get his job.

    Good to know!

    Standard practice in the Klingon empire.

    And for the BOFH

  • John (unregistered)

    Why didn't they use the resource tracking software to track the resource tracking software bugs ?

  • cellocgw (cs) in reply to foo AKA fooo
    foo AKA fooo:
    Martin:
    When you are not happy, kill your boss and you get his job.

    Good to know!

    Standard practice in the Klingon empire.

    And in King's Landing most of the time.

  • chubertdev (cs) in reply to Zacrath
    Zacrath:
    Wow, that's almost as bad as using your forum software to track bugs. But who would be stupid enough to do that?

    I was wondering who would be the frist to bring that up.

    Why didn't she just submit a bug regarding the bug tracking software?

  • pjt33 (cs) in reply to anonymous
    anonymous:
    olaf:
    Why did she die?
    Old age, probably. "Every email was kept under Inbox" and the use of ALL CAPS FILENAMES were the main hints.
    The choice of "aging" to describe her in the first paragraph is a fairly big hint too.
  • foo AKA fooo (unregistered) in reply to John
    John:
    Why didn't they use the resource tracking software to track the resource tracking software bugs ?
    Because the thing don't work, doh!
  • chubertdev (cs) in reply to the beholder
    the beholder:
    Zacrath:
    Wow, that's almost as bad as using your forum software to track bugs. But who would be stupid enough to do that?
    You're telling me. I once saw one even worse being used on a developer blog/forum (seriously. How come?). What was it again? Dickysort? Thinscorn? SpectateSwamp's Desktop Forum? I forgot.

    Still, I believe Erik should probably rename this article "The second worst Bug Tracking software".

    OT: Kudos to Erik on writing an article good enough to avoid being torn apart by The Angry Nerd Mob.

    Wow, I didn't even notice that he wrote it. Definitely much better.

  • anonymous (unregistered) in reply to pjt33
    pjt33:
    anonymous:
    olaf:
    Why did she die?
    Old age, probably. "Every email was kept under Inbox" and the use of ALL CAPS FILENAMES were the main hints.
    The choice of "aging" to describe her in the first paragraph is a fairly big hint too.
    In any sort of computing job, someone could probably be described as "aging" in their late 40s.
  • Fellshard (unregistered) in reply to Poopy

    "It'll only be used by the 3 of us."

    That's what every Excel horror story starts like.

    Excel: not even once.

  • Tux "Tuxedo" Penguin (unregistered)

    TRWTF is that Rebecca didn't resign/lose her job.

  • herby (cs)

    Bug reporting, the hard way. What happens is that some suit/higher up gets a "great idea" that a certain (Genesis in my case) software has the magic reports he needs, and forces the entire structure of the pull down menus and mandatory entries along with cross linked "solutions" so they can get a report that looks nice (for them). Never mind that it is so complicated with duplicate numbers all around that the people in the trenches despise the tool and the tracking is poor for those who want information (who is currently working on the problem, etc.). But look at these nice reports we can import into excel (then into powerpoint) for all to gawk at.

    (SIGH)

  • tom (unregistered)
    Rebecca asked if they used Bugzilla.
    She could have asked this kind of questions during her interview with the company. It's quite a nice smoke test.

    -What bug tracking software do you use? -Oh, none, we just put all the new tasks in consecutive powerpoint slides in a presentation shared on google drive. -Actually, I think I left the iron on! I must run

  • Interforostainer (unregistered) in reply to Khardof Bolinok
    Khardof Bolinok:
    I was hoping "Maggie" would actually be a script hooked up to the email address to parse the template and dump it into a database, and that its author had been dead for a decade before Rebecca started work.
    THEN WHO WAS MAGGIE?
  • Dominic (unregistered)

    I knew it would be Excel. From the moment I read the title I f***ing knew it.

  • Valued Service (unregistered) in reply to Zacrath
    Zacrath:
    Wow, that's almost as bad as using your forum software to track bugs. But who would be stupid enough to do that?

    Bug.

    Won't allow me to post bugs.

    "Hits enter"

    Error: Something bad happened.

  • Valued Service (unregistered) in reply to tom
    tom:
    Rebecca asked if they used Bugzilla.
    She could have asked this kind of questions during her interview with the company. It's quite a nice smoke test.

    -What bug tracking software do you use? -Oh, none, we just put all the new tasks in consecutive powerpoint slides in a presentation shared on google drive. -Actually, I think I left the iron on! I must run

    That question wouldn't work if you are applying for an internal position as programmer for biologists tracking the migratory pattern of various bugs.

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