Make work

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My job as a software analyst sometimes can be a real pain. Software is designed to do certain things and do them well. But, there are times where a client will want the software to do something it wasn’t designed to do.

I have a school district that is trying to do parent-teacher conferences next month. The software has the ability to create time slots and then allow the parents to schedule their conferences with the teacher. But, the software has some limitiations and the way one of the schools has done conferences in the past doesn’t fit the way the software is designed (yet). This was a huge issue for them last fall, as they were unwilling to rethink the way they do the conferences when they were told it wouldn’t work the way they would like them to (after many hours of investigation and problem-solving).

So, now it is spring and they are still insistent on doing it the same way as always, even though it didn’t work for them in the fall and it nothing in the software has changed to allow for the way they would like to do it. There is one caviate to that statement though. There are some rather inconvenient and labor intensive work-arounds that can be done to make the software kind of work for what they want. In essence, someone at the district figured out a way to trick the software and kinda sorta make it work for their needs.

Here’s where my problem comes in…in doing their work around, it doesn’t work well and there are issues with how the software functions. It doesn’t know you are doing a work-around, it just functions as it should. So, issues arise that are a direct result of the work-around. The district then calls me (after telling them, again, that it won’t work) to try to solve their work-around problems. I wasn’t fully involved in their work-around setup. I haven’t tested their work-around since it was advised they not use it. But, they want me to solve the issues when it doesn’t work like they would like it to.

I am being asked to “make it work” for something that isn’t supposed to work that way in the first place.

I am not sure how many times I can tell them it isn’t advisable and won’t work like you really want it to. If they are patient, and adjust the way they do conferences in the interim, it might actually work like they want in the future as we have been told it is being worked on (we are Tier 1 support so we have no control).

Anyway, that is my rant today. I don’t want to even try with this people.

2 comments

  1. Curt · March 28

    If you spend enough time developing software for government agencies, you’ll eventually hear the tale about the two state governments that signed contracts for an accounting software package and then discovered that the package didn’t comply with state law.

    One state spent $40,000,000 to customize the software.

    The other state spent $400,000 to change the state law.

    It’s likely a fictional tale, but the point is clear. Changing business processes is often a lot cheaper than changing software.

    Liked by 1 person

    • backuphill · March 28

      I haven’t heard that one before, but it totally makes sense. People don’t like change themselves so they want eveything and everyone else to change for them.

      Like

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