Not quite getting it..



  • My job isn't technically programming related, but it was one of the primary reasons I was hired on. I've taken to writing various different tools to automate and otherwise assist different departments with their work. One of these tools creates a PowerPoint document based on the provided information. It's been working smoothly for a while, but now and then I would get a request to add, remove, or change a name in the application. I decide to make this easier for the users to accomplish, and rewrite some parts of the program to pull the name information from a simple text file.

    After testing my changes I put the new version in place of the old one, and sent an e-mail explaining that they no longer need to contact me in order to make changes to the names. I explained about the text file and how to use it,and then went on to say that I went ahead and made the previously requested changes already.

    The first e-mail I got:

    Wow!  That's fantastic!  Thank you... :)

    Three minutes later I receieved this e-mail from the same person:

    <font size="2" face="Arial">

    The
    newest trainer’s name is spelled Jane Doe:  Can I fix this or do you need
    to?
    [i](I spelled it Jani Doe)</font>[/i]

    I'm not really sure what all the enthusiam was about if he person didn't understand that they can fix things like that themselves....I didn't even correctly spell the name they originally asked me to enter.



  •  I find keeping a small pillow around the desk very handy in these situations. It prevents injuring your head when you're banging it on the desk.



  • OMG, I get this kind of thing all the time too, customers and coworkers alike.  The bottom half of my face is numb from grinding my teeth so much.



  • Lesson Learned: You can never rely on your users to do anything outside your program, especially when it involves a file system.  Most of them do not have the tiniest inkling of an idea that there even is a world outside of the programs they use; if their letter to Sally they saved 3 days ago in Microsoft Word isn't in the MRU anymore, they "can't find it".

    If your input is simple enough to use a text file as storage, that's perfectly fine, but make it editable (and clearly labelled) in the UI.



  • Sometimes they have let the automation think for them for so long they just don't see the obvious.

     A few days ago a user came to me about a query I created in MS Access about 4 years ago. She said "it currently sorts sales people by the amount they sold, but I need it sorted by name". I explained that the specific purpose of the query is to show the top sales people in the company for the year. She thought about it and then told me that she was working on a special one-time request that requires the same data, but sorted differently and that she really didn't want the original query to change permanently. She asked if I could make her a query just like it, but with a different sort order. I walked her over to her desk and opened the query. I asked if this was the data she wanted sorted by name. She said "yes". I helpfully selected the name field, hit the "Sort A>Z" button for her and walked back to my office.

     She spends a lot of time in Access and Excel sorting lists of data. Who knows why she chose this moment to go brain dead.



  • @PileOfMush said:

    I walked her over to her desk and opened the query. I asked if this was the data she wanted sorted by name. She said "yes". I helpfully selected the name field, hit the "Sort A>Z" button for her and walked back to my office.
     

    Hopefully she clicked "Save As..." instead of "Save" after you left. 



  • My theory is that when you tell people that you've added/created a feature that will do <insert painful task here> automatically/quicker, they think that you're telling them a nice story about how much easier you've made your own job and nothing that they do will change. "The process be praised", and if emailing you is part of that process, it's next to impossible to get yourself out of the loop.

    I inherited a hacked together web app in here which manages requests to set up new clients in our ERP system. There are hoops to be jumped through and approvals to obtain before one should be created, so a web-based system was created.The benefit being that it creates an audit trail and contains "digital" signatures (not my words) for everyone who has approved it.

    Often, people start the request process and then realise they don't need it (the client already exists), so ask the admin to delete the request from the system. Easy. Often the request gets completed, the client gets set up, and then they realise they didn't need it.

    The administrator raised a bug with me, where a number of clients existed in the ERP system with no audit trail in the request system. On examination, I found he had been going in and deleting completed requests, sometimes by accident, sometimes deliberately.So we had a client, and no audit trail.

    So I added a hack into the horrific deletion script which put up a big note saying "This request is complete, and cannot be deleted".

    Now I get emails from him saying, "For some reason I can't delete this request, can you do it for me?".



  • @movzx said:

    ...then went on to say that I went ahead and made the previously requested changes already.

    <font size="2" face="Arial">

    The
    newest trainer’s name is spelled Jane Doe:  Can I fix this or do you need
    to?
    </font>

     

    I'm not really sure what all the enthusiam was about if he person didn't understand that they can fix things like that themselves....I didn't even correctly spell the name they originally asked me to enter.

    They asked if they can fix this, so it looks like they realized they could do it themselves for new changes. Perhaps they were just being polite to ask first, seeing that you indicated you already made those changes and they didn't want to step on your toes.



  • @seamustheseagull said:

    Now I get emails from him saying, "For some reason I can't delete this request, can you do it for me?".
    My biggest problem in these cases is the fact that profanity is considered unprofessional.



  • @DOA said:

    My biggest problem in these cases is the fact that profanity is considered unprofessional.


    Solution: Learn to cuss in a different language. I can shout profanity in four different languages, it's a great skill to have.



  • @Adriano said:

    @DOA said:

    My biggest problem in these cases is the fact that profanity is considered unprofessional.

    Solution: Learn to cuss in a different language. I can shout profanity in four different languages, it's a great skill to have.
    Except when someone else knows that language. Oops!


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