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Feedback for IT Expand / Collapse
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Posted Wednesday, July 28, 2010 8:11 PM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Feedback for IT






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Post #960435
Posted Wednesday, July 28, 2010 9:49 PM


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Nice hot button Steve. There needs to be some level of technical triage to scope out any actionable bugs. You wouldn't want your development and project management staff deluged with a bug tracking system that could be full of false positives or complaints about non-actionable items for IT.



Jason AKA CirqueDeSQLeil
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Post #960454
Posted Wednesday, July 28, 2010 11:16 PM


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So how could you let IT know? You could call customer service, but I have a hard time thinking that a low-wage CS person would pass this along to the IT group.


I've recently had to work with an airline on a similar problem recently and there's not much difference between the low-wage CS person and the low-wage "third party" developer sitting in the same bloody cubicle which is why the error happened in the first place. Send an email and hope everyone does their job. It's a whole lot less frustrating that way.


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Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column."

(play on words) "Just because you CAN do something in T-SQL, doesn't mean you SHOULDN'T." --22 Aug 2013

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Post #960488
Posted Thursday, July 29, 2010 7:09 AM
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Completing the feedback loop is probably one of the most difficult challenges for any business, business unit, or even local department. I used to work in a very small company where closing the loop meant calling one of the other 25 or 30 people in the entire company, and yet there were gaps in communication everywhere. Maybe this is the next big thing for IT to tackle, making sure all the mechanisms are in place to automate, or encourage this as much as possible.
Post #960680
Posted Thursday, July 29, 2010 8:38 AM


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There might be low level developers, but if they triaged reports of bugs, at least it would be captured somewhere. I know in a company that employed 200 people that it might be better to have a junior dev picking through bugs for a few minutes every day than having large customers yelling at salespeople.






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Post #960757
Posted Thursday, July 29, 2010 10:00 AM
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I think it's also important that developers build baseline diagnostic record into the app. We generally need some way to prove the code during development anyway, but those checkpoints should be built with the intention of being left in place for gathering statistics during normal operation. Then when issues of scale or new usage patterns develop there is a baseline from which to compare the new behavior. It's difficult to assess user complaints of "slowness" if operations complete in under 2 seconds - but if normal operation before some critical event was 0.25 seconds then its clear that an 8x lag is worthy of investigation.

I had a backup job recording start/stop/size with each nightly operation on 15 remote locations. When some of the backups were not complete by the start of the day, I checked the logs: throughput was down to 20% of normal. That was enough clue to look for what was consuming bandwidth overnight. 'Found two machines inside our network had become zombies/botted. I would not have even known to look for that if I hadn't been keeping logs/baseline to see the change.
Post #960845
Posted Thursday, July 29, 2010 10:05 AM


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Good point, Mike. We need to have instrumentation embedded, and it needs to work. I used to complain about performance monitor dropping events. We need this overhead to be in place and accurate, especially under load, to determine what is happening.

Good logging and tracking is important, and tracking exceptions, like unexpected long processing times, is a great way to find issues.







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Post #960849
Posted Thursday, July 29, 2010 10:55 AM


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You might have thought that SmartAssembly, described here http://www.simple-talk.com/dotnet/.net-tools/smartassembly-eating-our-own-dogfood/ by Simple-Talk's editor, is a bit peripheral as it is designed mainly for .NET applications, but if you pore through the manual, you'll see that you can use it in an application in such a way that you can get the message right through to the devs (via an internet or email connection). It can be used for any error, even if it doesn't trigger an exception, and you can add the facility to let the operator or user provide as much explanation as they want, as well as the details, specific to the application, of what was actually going on. This can, of course, include the SQL. I can tell you that, when in a .net-based database application, smartAssembly can provide some very, very revealing information that can be embarassing for the devs, but which enables them to do the fix very quickly.


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Phil Factor
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Post #960885
Posted Thursday, July 29, 2010 1:01 PM
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I like the "Click here if you have a problem" button right on the user interface screen. No doubt you will get a bunch of crap in a public environment, but if you put in some filtering it can be screened out.

Having run a Customer Service center for a small manufacturer, I now go out of my way to give feedback to companies- both good and bad.

I am amazed at the number of employees that do care, but don't know how or who to pass issues along to in their organization.
Post #960964
Posted Thursday, July 29, 2010 2:31 PM
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I actually had a menu choice on my desktop app's help menu that would allow users to send messages directly to the software developers. After two years of no messages, I removed the feature.

Steve is right about logging. We log everything the users do in an app to a table and then analyze it periodically to see what they are doing most/least frequently, warnings, errors, etc. to see where improvements are indicated.
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