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Thread: Agile programming (was Re: [P|C] Banksel)
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face BY : Nate Duehr email (remove spam text)




On Jan 29, 2009, at 12:26 AM, Vitaliy wrote:

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I didn't say it was cheap.  I said the code worked.

If companies REALLY knew how much it would cost -- including all  
bugfixes and later releases and patches -- to do many of the things we  
do with computers today, when they STARTED the project -- they'd have  
kept the paper, pens, and filing cabinets.  Seriously.

Every trouble ticketing system I've EVER seen deployed, for example,  
is over-budget, missing critical features that then require paper or e-
mail workarounds, and never hits the mark 100%.

The cleanest and simplest system I've ever seen used was  
RequestTracker from BestPractical Software.  Their system keeps the  
crap down to a minimum, doesn't try to integrate to 20 other modules  
that run half the company, and has EMAIL INTEGRATION built in,  
something the $500K Siebel deployment at work doesn't even do.  And it  
takes a FLEET of people to maintain Siebel... I ran my own RT system  
from a Pentium 3 in my basement for a group for 10 years, who accessed  
it world-wide, and then migrated it to a VPS in Dallas where it still  
runs for that same group today.

That was a ticket system that didn't GET IN MY WAY as a support guy.  
Everything else I've used, did get in the way, and made the whole job  
of tracking customer's issues, harder than necessary.

I can (and have) done a better job of tracking customer issues  
currently being worked with a small whiteboard and a notebook carried  
in my pocket.

Trouble ticketing software and projects are an utter nightmare.  They  
almost NEVER ask the "customer" (the techs) what information they want  
to see displayed, what information they can get readily from a  
customer, and what information they don't care about.  Just a little  
UI work would go a long way -- but it's usually the "Business  
Development" group, or some Tiger Team of project managers and people  
who've never done tech support who set the screen layout for the large  
company systems I've worked on.

My favorite thing about our current system at work is that it causes  
pop-ups for every text entry box in a browser-based system.  You know  
how slow that is?  Incredibly stupid software design.  And like I  
said, I've heard it cost ... in total... about 1/2 a million bucks.

Probably anyone on the list could write a better web-based system,  
even if they're not coders (me included).  But I hear the CEO's  
neighbor runs or is otherwise in the higher ranks of Siebel.

(And now you know how real software decisions get made...)

Even if it's not true -- some salesperson got to him and said Siebel  
was the way to go... and that salesperson was wrong.

So yeah, many companies DO seem to have unlimited budgets and  
unlimited time to screw around with internal systems -- so why not do  
them right?

(And as a disclaimer, I'm not complaining about my employer really --  
I haven't seen a ticket system that worked right in five company name/
management changes, and four other companies, in my career.  But I've  
also never seen a company ASK the techs about any of it.  The best I  
saw was a single tech, from a single location, sat on a "multi-
functional" team and had one vote, versus 9 or 10 others, in one  
company.  That system sucked too.)

Ironically, ticket systems are SIMPLE things.  RT proves it.  I can  
work and notate and complete five tickets with RT in the same amount  
of time as I can do it in Siebel.  The reason?  The e-mail  
integration.  I can send an EMAIL to add a note to a ticket, OR to  
have the system send my comments back to the customer and LOG them.  
Or if I want to see the full history or whatever, I can pop open a web  
browser.  But e-mail's always open in a tech support department  
anyway... so... might as well use it!

Nate
<B80DAE13-3EA1-4958-AF0F-B9C8926B9DD2@natetech.com> 7bit

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