ld13

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 28, 2005
Messages
11,387
TL;DR Version
My Boss suspected person X screwed up his month/year end financial reports beyond recognition. I prove to the boss that it was not user error but rather a software error. The software support company agrees with me and starts looking for the problem on the software side. Boss calls in person X and blames her for causing the screwup. :wtf: :wtf: :wtf: [no amount of :wtf: can properly represent how :wtf: the situation was/is]

Was I in the wrong for proving the boss wrong?

Longer version:
Our end-of-the-month procedures entails two small steps:
1- Printing of reports.
2- Pressing of a "blue button" that then changes everything to the new month.

Built in "business rules" and safeguards relevant to this post:
A- End-of-the-month procedures have to be done every ~31 days. System will pester anyone that logs in, every day, from day 32 onwards about the fact that the blue button was not pressed.
B- You cannot press the blue button again within ~7 days of pressing it previously.

So our boss did our end-of-the-month system report runs this time. As he was printing the reports he yelled out something about a missing month. I stepped into his office and he categorically declared that the person that did the procedure the last time did not do step 2 of the procedure for January and now he could not print his reports for month 7. Knowing business rule A above I retorted that it would be impossible to skip said step. The mere fact that Mr Boss-man logged in without the blue button message popping up was proof enough. He summarily dismissed this and went on about how his end-of-the-month run was now ruined. He was quite angry and said we will leave it all till Monday when the software company support line would be able to find some way to fix this mess.

I'm the IT guy and I've been in the business long enough so on Sunday I spent over 12 hours of my own time having a heckload of fun. I backed up everything and cloned the database. Saw straight away that all the data was there, but "captured" under month 8 instead of 7. Tried to move all the month 8 transactions to month 7 using a built-in tool in the software but it would not let me. I concluded a few hours later that there was no month 7 in the database for the current year. Could not merely just create month 7 in the database as I had no idea how the databases were intrinsically linked and what other things I could mess up by not letting the system set it up properly. Spent another few hours and eventually figured out how to get the software to generate month 7 for me. After fixing it and moving everything where it should be I started working on the issue of what caused month 7 to "go missing".

I restored the backup databases for every day going back to where things went wrong. I concluded that before the previous end-of-the-month procedure the current system month was eg. 6. My backup file of the next day reveals a current month of 8 (expected it to be 7 rather). So within a 12 hour window the current month jumped from 6 to 8 - one can reasonably deduct it happened during the end-of-the-month procedure.

So user error or system error? My suspicion at that stage pointed to user error by the means of the blue button being pressed twice instead of just once. The exact opposite that Mr Boss-man was accusing the 'guilty party' of. To test my suspicion I pulled up the backup file and tried to do the end-of-the-month procedure twice. This is where I learned of safeguard B above. The system would not allow you to press the blue button twice within ~7 days! No normal action of an end user could thus have caused the month to jump from 6 to 8.

So on Monday I mentioned to Mr Boss-man that it was possibly not user error that caused the whole mess and that is where it all went wrong and I lost all the respect I had gathered for The Boss over the past ~5 years. In short he exploded. Looking back I'm so proud of myself in how I handled this - I decided to stay 100% calm and not raise my voice at all. I went on to explain the above to him (TL;DR version thereof). He mentioned how he had been using the system for 20 years and how something like this has never happened before. The guilty party had only been doing this for the past 3 months and it was without a doubt the fault of the person that did the previous end-of-the-month. He in short accused her of not paying attention while she was doing it as the end-of-the-month procedure was "extremely complicated". I of course did not agree with his verdict.

Afterwards I sort of realized a few flaws with his reasoning:
He has not been using the system for 20 years. His business was <10 years old. Software install date was only sometime in ~2007. He sees the software as a static being that has been unaffected by the many updates it had over the years. Also, the procedure was the easiest thing under the sun. Press print. Press the blue button. No one can ^$#@ something up with the database while actioning a read-only print instruction. Similarly a user cannot cause an erroneous write event of +2 to a database field if the software controls what the button does - it had to be a software error.

I phoned the software support line and guided them through what I did to fix the problem to get their stamp of approval on that at least. I presented them with the question about what possibly caused the problem in the first case and offered Mr Boss-man's explanation of events. They agreed with me that a user either not pressing the button or pressing the button more than once would not cause a month not be be generated as expected and mentioned business rules A and B. They immediately moved on to asking if I had backups of the software itself with the specific combination of DLL file versions as it existed during the previous end-of-the-month procedure. They thus ruled out user error and jumped to the obvious culprit that would be next in line: The Software.

I presented this to mr boss-man. He was quite calm this time around and sort of put the whole thing to bed. Only to call in the girl that did the previous end-of-the-month a few hours later and left her walking out of his office in tears. Found out today that he blamed her for the whole mess up and told her to thank me as I fixed her stuff-up.

[Insert face-palm pic here]
 
Last edited:

StrontiumDog

Executive Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2006
Messages
9,896
Wow... Mr Boss-man is a real d-bag of note!! How old is he?

Are you going to tell blame-girl that it's not her fault?
 

Unhappy438

Honorary Master
Joined
May 25, 2011
Messages
19,102
I suspect boss man does not like girl in question and is looking to rack up reasons for her dismissal.
 

ld13

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 28, 2005
Messages
11,387
Wow... Mr Boss-man is a real d-bag of note!! How old is he?
Are you going to tell blame-girl that it's not her fault?
Boss heading to 50+.

Told blamed-girl that she is being blamed for it all (by not pressing the blue button) that same day. She brushed it off and immediately mentioned safeguard A that would've pestered everyone with a log-on message till she went and closed off the month properly. But I could see she was worried. Sent her a message on Sunday informing her that I could prove that it was not user error. Only found out today she worried herself to death over the weekend and was scared she was going to lose her job over something she knew she did by the book (instruction sheet).

I suspect boss man does not like girl in question and is looking to rack up reasons for her dismissal.
Her exact same suspicions. Trying to get rid of her. But this way won't fly. CCMA will kick his behind ...
 

Sonic2k

Executive Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2011
Messages
7,641
Douchebag boss, time to find a new job.

Let me guess.. this is Pastel Accounting?
I had my fill of fixing that software's cock-ups.

Boss heading to 50+.
Yip... probably getting Alzheimers.. needs to be in a home and relinquish control to someone more competent. In actual fact... are you describing the tool I worked for a few years ago in the South of JHB??????
Told blamed-girl that she is being blamed for it all (by not pressing the blue button) that same day. She brushed it off and immediately mentioned safeguard A that would've pestered everyone with a log-on message till she went and closed off the month properly. But I could see she was worried. Sent her a message on Sunday informing her that I could prove that it was not user error. Only found out today she worried herself to death over the weekend and was scared she was going to lose her job over something she knew she did by the book (instruction sheet).

I suspect boss man does not like girl in question and is looking to rack up reasons for her dismissal.
Her exact same suspicions. Trying to get rid of her. But this way won't fly. CCMA will kick his behind ...
Hmmmm.... sounds like a company I worked at before. In any case, the CCMA will be a dead stick though if she's not a member of a union or bargaining council.
 
Last edited:

ld13

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 28, 2005
Messages
11,387
Douchebag boss, time to find a new job.

Let me guess.. this is Pastel Accounting?
I had my fill of fixing that software's cock-ups.
Not pastel. Some diary/financial/invoicing/medial claim software. I avoided certain specific keywords like the software name in case he would ever google the name for some obscure reason. Otherwise this thread would pop up in the google results like no tomorrow if he was doing a local search.
 

Sonic2k

Executive Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2011
Messages
7,641
Not pastel. Some diary/financial/invoicing/medial claim software. I avoided certain specific keywords like the software name in case he would ever google the name for some obscure reason. Otherwise this thread would pop up in the google results like no tomorrow if he was doing a local search.

Ah yes of course... Then it wasn't that company I worked for then.
In any case, sounds like a small business that got where its at by luck, not talent.
 

ld13

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 28, 2005
Messages
11,387
Ah yes of course... Then it wasn't that company I worked for then.
In any case, sounds like a small business that got where its at by luck, not talent.
Yep, small. If we walk it leaves just the Boss to do it all. But he does not know how to issue an invoice, report pathology, claim from medical etc etc. It is quite funny in what a vulnerable position he is in at the moment.
 

Sonic2k

Executive Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2011
Messages
7,641
Yep, small. If we walk it leaves just the Boss to do it all. But he does not know how to issue an invoice, report pathology, claim from medical etc etc. It is quite funny in what a vulnerable position he is in at the moment.
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.
In my case it was easy for him to accuse me of sabotaging the business and then proceed to bad-mouth me industry-wide. Fortunately I got out of that specific industry and now have a thriving company of my own and he is just a faded memory, both in the industries I serve and everyone I speak to, nobody remembers him, all they remember is the arrogant person.
 

ld13

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 28, 2005
Messages
11,387
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.
In my case it was easy for him to accuse me of sabotaging the business and then proceed to bad-mouth me industry-wide. Fortunately I got out of that specific industry and now have a thriving company of my own
Luckily no bad mouthing possibility in this situation. All the people he can reach that have dealt with me knows me by now. They would not believe him. My concern with pushing this issue further is that it will deplete my ability to get a proper referral letter out of him for my next job :(

Good for you for starting your own thing. Ha, we have joked about how many things we would change around if it were our own business. In what industry are you now?
 
Top