Episode 3: Client-Oriented Approach

 

Zach WontDoIt, developer of ThreeTonsOfCode Ltd., gets a call from a client who wants to update him on a number of bugs found on an Intranet application developed for his company. Mr. Irrelev AntClueless, general manager of the 5-person company NowWeAreInBusinessNowWeAreNot Ltd., is on the phone. He has insisted on talking directly with the developer. 

ZWD: Good day, this is Zach WontDoIt, how can I help?

ICL: (Abruptly) Your application IS NOT WORKING and I am furious! Is that your way of delivering work to your clients? Half-done? I'm seriously thinking of asking for a refund and then ordering the same app to your competitor, WeDoItAllInOneTier Ltd.!

ZWD: Er, excuse me?

ICL: Your application is not working!

ZWD: Could you be a bit more specific sir? Do you mean it doesn't start?

ICL: No, it does.

ZWD: ... and what exactly is wrong with it then?

ICL: It does NOTHING.

ZWD: ... I'm afraid I'm not following you. What do you mean by "nothing"? Can you access the orders screen? 

ICL: Yes, I can access it. But I can't do ANYTHING. 

ZWD: (Starts feeling like working in some curious mental institute for people with severe communication problems) ... I see ...So would you like to retry the actions you previously took while talking with me so we can trace the problem?

ICL: I'm calling you to tell you that your application is not working and you have the NERVE to ask me to play tester? You are completely out of your mind! This is unheard of! I won't...

ZWD: (Clenches teeth) I'm sorry, I didn't ask you to perform tests. I only need to see where the problem lies. Anyway, please tell me - when you see the orders list, can you also go to any specific order's details?

ICL: (click, click) It only shows me the order number and the order's title. I can't see anything else. 

ZWD: Do you mean that there are no "View", "Edit" and "Delete" buttons on the right, next to each record? 

ICL: What? No. Nothing. Only what I told you. (click, click). The only thing I can do is go back to the main screen and choose to see the orders list again. 

ZWD: (...) but this doesn't make sense...

ICL: Look, you are wasting my valuable time with your questions. I have more important things to take care of. I'm telling you it's NOT working. Are you calling me a liar? I will...

ZWD: No, of course not, for Heaven's sake! It's just, you know, a standard procedure so we can trace the possible origin of the problem. Maybe it's something you're not aware of...

ICL: You're saying that I don't know my job!

ZWD: No! I'm definitely not saying that sir! (Starts feeling very uneasy and reaches for the Dewars 15years Special Reserve whiskey bottle he keeps under his desk for special occasions like this.)

ICL: Look, I don't know what you have to do. It must be working correctly until tomorrow. This situation is unacceptable! It makes me have second thoughts regarding the quality of your services, as well as for your own level of expertise. Nothing works! It  doesn't even let me log in to the system after I've logged in for 3-4 times and I have to wait over 20 minutes to be able to login again! And afterwards, none of my employees is able to log in! 

ZWD: (A bright light bulb appears over his head - or at least it would do so if he were a cartoon character) Mr. Irrelev, could you please describe the login / logout process in more detail?

ICL: I fire up Internet Explorer, enter the address, type my user name and password and hit the Login button. What more can I say? 

ZWD: And after you do whatever it is that you must do...

ICL: ...meaning NOTHING...

ZWD: (Gulp - first glass of whiskey down)...yes, yes, anyway. Then you decide to log off.

ICL: Exactly.

ZWD: Could you please describe the logoff process?

ICL: What process?

ZWD: The process that you follow to log off from the application.

ICL: I do what I do with every other site. I just close Internet Explorer!

ZWD: (Gulp, gulp, there goes the second glass) You haven't ever clicked the button on the top right corner that says "Logout", have you? 

ICL: Why click it? I've got Internet Explorer's "X". I don't really understand why you even put it there. Maybe you wanted to show that you have more functionality than you really do. You haven't even managed to complete what's really needed, and you're telling me you put a spare "logout" button there just for show? 

ZWD: There is a reason there is a "logout" button there.

ICL: ...

ZWD: (hic) When you are using the application, you session will remain active for 20 more minutes since you last used it, unless you click the Logout button. You have purchased 5 user licenses and the application allows 5 concurrent sessions. If you log in 3-4 times and you don't log out, and then you keep logging in and closing Internet Explorer instead of logging out, you probably end up having used up all your licenses for the next 20 minutes or so. That's why neither you or anybody else can access the application after a while. 

ICL: How was I supposed to know that? Couldn't you do this like everyone else does? 

ZWD: This is how it's done everywhere. (Thinking: And you haven't paid enough to have it done another way)

ICL: So I was supposed to GUESS how it was implemented, Mr. WontDoIt? How could I...

ZWD: (Grabs a half-pint beer glass. Pours whatever is left of the whiskey bottle) It's in the user's manual. Section 5, subsection 5.3.

ICL: ...

ZWD: Have you READ the user's manual;

ICL: ....ehmmmm....no.... but THIS HAD TO BE MORE CLEAR!

ZWD: (Gulp gulp gulp gulp gulp gulp gulp) I see. (hic) Ok, so let's see the orders problem now. By the way, what's your screen's resolution?

ICL: 20 gigabytes.

ZWD: No, the screen's resolution.

ICL: Oh, at the screen! 512 MB RAM.

ZWD: NO, THE SCREEN'S RESOLUTION! IN PIXELS! 

ICL: Please don't raise the tone of your voice to me. I'm not some newbie to this! I've got, er, a GOOD resolution... 2 megapixels at least. That's what they told me. 

ZWD: (Gulp, gulp) Where;

ICL: On my smartphone.

ZWD: (Starts developing red rashes on face) Mr. Irrelev, just browse to your company's website.

ICL: Okay. Oh.

ZWD: What's wrong?

ICL: Did we really PAY for this? Whoever made this must be at least an idiot.

ZWD: Why are you saying that?

ICL: I can only see HALF of it. And I have to scroll down quite a few times to see everything.

ZWD: (Starts pulling his hair out) ... I see ... please tell me, do you see a horizontal scrollbar? 

ICL: What is that?

ZWD: How do you scroll sir?

ICL: With the little wheel.

ZWD: (Has already managed to pull a handful of hair off his head) I see. 

ICL: Unacceptable. I realize that there are others like you! I've been seeing this more and more. So many useless people making useless web sites...

ZWD: Mr. Irrelev, what version of Windows are you using?

ICL: Version of what?

ZWD: (Sighs) Look at the lower - left corner of your screen. Is there a button there? 

ICL: Yes, there is one.

ZWD: Is there anything on it?

ICL: Yes, it says "START".

ZWD: Of course it does. Please follow the following steps: Click Start, click Settings, click Control Panel...

(in just about 20 minutes Mr. Irrelev has managed to change his resolution from 640x480 to 800x600 pixels)

ICL: Everything has become too tiny. Can't read anything. 

ZWD: (Grabs a straw and finishes what's left in the beer glass) Pleae log in to the application and go to the orders list. 

ICL: (click, click)...Login....username...(click, click)...password...ok....oh!

ZWD: What happened?

ICL: I can see the buttons! I can view order details! 

ZWD: (Leans back and stares at the ceiling - everything is turning) The optimum resolution for the application was in the specs. 

ICL: Make it work with my own resolution! 

ZWD: This is not possible, sir. The standard resolution is 800 x 600.

ICL: But I can't see the letters!

ZWD: (Banging head on desk) Mr. Irrelev, has any other employee the same problems?

ICL: They haven't mentioned anything.

ZWD: (Taking a deep breath)....Mr. Irrelev, we can't make the application work with resolutions smaller than 800 x 600. You need a new, bigger monitor. 

ICL: THIS IS UNHEARD OF! I'll complain to your manager! This is unacceptable! Good day Mr. WontDoIt!

(click)

The rest of the story goes like this: Mr. Irrelev AntClueless contacted WeDoItAllInOneTier Ltd. and ordered a new application. He happily accepted it when it was ready, and discovered (not having read the specs, as usual) that the application ran on 1204x768 resolution (which his monitor didn't have), needed an Oracle database (which his company didn't have), the Apache web server (which his company didn't have) and that it would not work well with Internet Explorer 6 (which his company had). Zach took up consulting for Mr. Irrelev's company (yes, he made him buy 24-inch LCD screens for everyone). Currently, Zach receives complaints by Mr. Irrelev daily, because all web sites (including his new application) leave so much space unused on his 1920 x 1280 monitor.....

 




Comments (5) -

John (DGreatGnazzini) Gnazzo
John (DGreatGnazzini) Gnazzo
7/27/2013 12:34:52 AM #

This is good stuff.  I have lived every one of you  r episodes.  Hell I can even contribute a few stories if you like.
JG

Curious Apprentice
Curious Apprentice
7/27/2013 8:15:10 PM #

Nice and Funny Tong

Adam smith
Adam smith
7/31/2013 5:34:22 PM #

This is sad but so much true.
Also the times when you try to use "heuristic" methods to discovery things like res using a website... used such things a lot of times... all while being offended by the customer calling me all bad names.

barron22
barron22
8/3/2013 1:45:56 AM #

as a financial advisor I couldnt agree more

So Tervo
So Tervo
3/10/2014 1:44:30 AM #

Good work Smile cheers!

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Three Tons Of Code is a blog with humorous fiction stories for software developers and people who work in IT in general. It has been noticed that some project managers will not like the blog's content so you'd better not stand next to them when they start throwing things at the computer screen.

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