Bunch of rocks



  • In the last week I have finally setup a new logging/reporting system for a client. It is replacing an older system which is used for monthly reporting, and uses a totally new method of low level data collection. Both systems collect data on at least a daily basis and keep historical data in an SQL Server Db - Note again that the new system only started recording data around the 8th of December. Yesterday I had this email exchange with the client.

    Client: I'm comparing the old and new systems for December and the data from the new system is wrong.

    Me: The new system only started collecting data after the first week of December, so you are comparing Apples to Oranges

    Client: Ok, so which system should I use to pull the data for december?

    Me: New system from 8th December.

    Client: Well check the data, the numbers are way off

    Me: I looked at data from 9th to 15th of December on both systems and it looks fine. What data are you looking at?

    Client: I was comparing between 1st Dec and 5th Dec

    Me: [starting to really get pissed] And in the email I sent you earlier I said that you should only look at data in the new system after 12/8

    Client: So…to calculate December, should we combine 12/1-12/8 in old system with 12/8-12/31?

    Me: Only the old system will ever have the complete set of data for December. So if you want to use the new system for your reporting then yes, you will have to manually combine data for the time prior to the new system not being online.


    A bunch of rocks would be smarter



  • @OzPeter said:

    Client: Ok, so which system should I use to pull the data for december?

    Me: New system from 8th December.

    That can be read as "After 8th December, you should use the new system." instead of what you meant ("Use the new system for data collected after 8th December.")



  • @OzPeter said:

    In the last week I have finally setup a new logging/reporting system for a client. It is replacing an older system which is used for monthly reporting...

    Unless there was something wrong with the 'old' system, you probably should have waited till the end of the month to roll this out. If the point of all this is reporting and the reports are always viewed by month, then you've introduced the confusion yourself.

    I'm sure the new logging system IS better, but it was also your responsibility to make sure the end product -- the report -- was available, accurate and complete. Either you needed to make a clean break at the end of the month or provide a way to combine with the legacy system for the report for the transition month. Telling them to do it manually is a poor cop-out.



  • @BlueKnot said:

    @OzPeter said:
    In the last week I have finally setup a new logging/reporting system for a client. It is replacing an older system which is used for monthly reporting...

    Either you needed to make a clean break at the end of the month or provide a way to combine with the legacy system for the report for the transition month. Telling them to do it manually is a poor cop-out.

    It sounds to me like they started up the new system in the middle of the month so that they could run both simultaneously to verify the new one is correct. They're leaving the old one on until the end of December, from the sounds of it. So the customer could use the old one until the end of December, while the new system runs and is double-checked against the old one, then switch over to the new one on Jan. 1st. I agree, however, that they could have been more clear about it (at least given the info the OP gave us).



  • Are we working for the same client? O no, we use Oracle, and it was the first of October, and it's all in the same db/scheme, but for the rest...

    The nice thing about my project was that they wanted to change all data classifications (partially overlapping with the previous classes) per 10/1, and then have a consistent year report. Or at least, that's the way it was sold. Fortunately everybody saw the idiocy, but still it's hard to deal with two different classification schemes in the same db...



  • @jpa said:

    That can be read as "After 8th December, you should use the new system." instead of what you meant ("Use the new system for data collected after 8th December.")

    The back story I left out is that I have been working hand in hand with this client over the last 2 months. He has been fully aware that the new system only started collecting data after the 8th. Also the fact that the new system only had data from after Dec 8th was explicitly pointed out in the previous email exchange (and I was summarizing emails .. not quoting directly).

    @BlueKnot said:
    Unless there was something wrong with the 'old' system, you probably should have waited till the end of the month to roll this out. If the point of all this is reporting and the reports are always viewed by month, then you've introduced the confusion yourself.

    The client wanted access to the new system as fast as possible and sprang on me early last week that he wanted to retain access to the old system [pure scope creep that also blew out the amount of my PO]. I agree that there should be a clean break between use of the two systems. However the client got what he asked for, and has been informed multiple times previously when the new system started collecting data.

    @BlueKnot said:
    Telling them to do it manually is a poor cop-out.

    The two reporting systems use incompatible datasets. I can't port the old data from Dec 1st to 7th to the new system, so the only way to use the old system from the first week of Dec and the new system after that is to combine data manually. Or create a frankenstein of a system that treats December 2009 as a special case and tries to combine the best of both systems - however that system would be as ugly as sin and twice as complex as either of the reporting systems. And in 6 months time the old data will be purged anyway so there is no ROI at all.



  • I enjoy this post because it kept me in suspense until the end about what the title meant.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @dcardani said:

    It sounds to me like they started up the new system in the middle of the month
    so that they could run both simultaneously to verify the new one is correct.
    They're leaving the old one on until the end of December, from the sounds of it.
    So the customer could use the old one until the end of December, while the new
    system runs and is double-checked against the old one, then switch over to the
    new one on Jan. 1st.
    Never underestimate the ability of the end user to undermine this approach.



    I was (store) management in McDonald's (stop laughing) when they computerised the cashing up/money/stock taking side of things in the UK.



    They tried running the paper based accounting alongside the newly introduced computer system. To make sure the computer stuff worked properly. Bound to fail because they expected everyone connected with those activities to use both.

    It lasted 3 days. Mid month, everyone (responsible for cashing up/stock takes) was using the computer, and very few were using the paper, when both should have been used.



    It wasn't pretty. It wasn't a disaster (the computer did what it should have done without error) however the store and area managers were not pleased. And the end of month accounts took a while longer to complete.



  • @OzPeter said:

    Or create a [b]frankenstein[/b] of a system that treats December 2009 as a special case...

    For the love of smegging god, Frankenstein WAS NOT THE NAME OF THE MONSTER.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Zylon said:

    For the love of smegging god, Frankenstein WAS NOT THE NAME OF THE MONSTER.
    Did Ms. Shelly actually give him a name?



  • @PJH said:

    @Zylon said:
    For the love of smegging god, Frankenstein WAS NOT THE NAME OF THE MONSTER.
    Did Ms. Shelly actually give him a name?
     

    Been awhile, but I'm pretty sure he's only ever referred to as "The Monster."


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @blakeyrat said:

    @PJH said:
    @Zylon said:
    For the love of smegging god, Frankenstein WAS NOT THE NAME OF THE MONSTER.
    Did Ms. Shelly actually give him a name?
    Been awhile, but I'm pretty sure he's only ever referred to as "The Monster."
    Sorta what I expected. Makes me wonder what "The Bride of Frankenstein" was supposed to be, as opposed to what it actually was.



    Though I found the turtle/tortoise bit amusing. (Son of <whatever>)



  • @Zylon said:

    @OzPeter said:

    Or create a frankenstein of a system that treats December 2009 as a special case...

    For the love of smegging god, Frankenstein WAS NOT THE NAME OF THE MONSTER.

    I was using frankenstein as an adjective not a noun, in a similar vein as saying it was a Rube Goldberg mechanism.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @PJH said:

    @Zylon said:
    For the love of smegging god, Frankenstein WAS NOT THE NAME OF THE MONSTER.
    Did Ms. Shelly actually give him a name?
     

    Been awhile, but I'm pretty sure he's only ever referred to as "The Monster."

    It's been a while here, too.  I seem to recall the monster named himself, "Adam", after the first man.  But I also seem to recall he only mentioned it the once, and nobody ever honored him with it.  So, yeah, he was only referred to (by others) as "The Monster."



  • @BlueKnot said:

    @OzPeter said:
    In the last week I have finally setup a new logging/reporting system for a client. It is replacing an older system which is used for monthly reporting...

    Unless there was something wrong with the 'old' system, you probably should have waited till the end of the month to roll this out. If the point of all this is reporting and the reports are always viewed by month, then you've introduced the confusion yourself.

    Agreed.  In fact, every time I've upgraded a logging system at work, I've always turned on the new system ASAF, but didn't tell any users about it until after it had been running in parallel for an entire calendar month.  So, for example, if the system came online late on December 7, I'd start telling the end users about it on February 1, after having verified that January's numbers compared as I expected.  (Actually, more likely, I'd start telling the end users about it on February 10, after having found sufficient evidence to back my claims that the massive discrepancies were due to problems in the old system, rather than problems in the new system.  I'd have this data for a February 1 unveiling, except that management wouldn't allot me the time until after the new system produced monthly numbers that were significantly different from the old - even though I told them it would when I was justifying developing the new system.)

    @BlueKnot said:

    I'm sure the new logging system IS better

    Keep in mind, the new system was developed by someone who gave in to end user pressure to unveil the system the day after he turned it on.



  • @Zylon said:

    @OzPeter said:

    Or create a frankenstein of a system that treats December 2009 as a special case...

    For the love of smegging god, Frankenstein WAS NOT THE NAME OF THE MONSTER.

    Indeed.  It was the name of the man who made the monster by crudely stitching together an ill-matched assortment of poorly-fitting parts, resulting in a shambling hybrid monstrosity.  Ok, the "of a" was superfluous, OP should just have written "a Frankenstein system" but the metaphor is as straightforward as you could ask for and its relevance to the software industry entirely obvious: he meant "a system built the same way as how Frankenstein put together his monster".


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