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Aug 19, 2008

Living in a Dilbert World

Have you ever found yourself living in a Dilbert world at work? You know when you're working in an otherwise sane company and someone does something so bizarrely wrong that you would have sworn it could never happen in real life so you must be in a Dilbert comic?

At a previous job there was a problem with an integration server which was traced back to a USB flash drive that was accidentally unplugged. Apparently the server was low on memory so someone plugged a 2 Gig drive in and moved a critical database onto it. Then when someone else saw the flash drive and removed it (likely thinking, "Hey what the heck is this doing here?"), the integration environment went down.

This is yet another example of the short-term fix myth in action. In addition to the to the fact that short term fixes are a maintenance disaster and get you deep into technical debt, they are often really bad ideas in and of themselves for other much more basic reasons (such as the fact that pulling out a flash drive will bring down the integration environment).