Friday, June 6, 2014

With Friends Like Me

So a former co-worker was asked to document a system after a problem occurred that resulted in a couple of hours of downtime. From his description, it sounded more like a communications issue than a true technical issue. And this system is massive when you include all the moving parts - database, communication servers, web servers, client-server apps, PLCs, HIDs, printers, scanners, etc. Everything sits on top of an IP network, of course, with a Microsoft Active Directory infrastructure, so toss in potential problems with the Cisco hardware, DHCP, AD logins, etc. Even if they froze the environment, it would take years to document every component and potential problem. So given that he was asked by a seagull manager to document this behemoth*, he was a little frustrated I think.

I tried to help out by endorsing him for the "Software Documentation" skill on LinkedIn.

* I do think there are parts of this system that could use better documentation. I also believe in good postmortems, so you can avoid or minimize problems in the future. However, in this situation, I think the criticism of the manager's request is appropriate given the nature of the problem and the environment they are in.

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