Shark Tank: Communications breakdown

October 08, 2007 10:00 AM EDT
There's Always a Reason

The batteries die in this pilot fish's cordless keyboard, so he orders a new set, installs them and gets back to work. A month later, the batteries die in his cordless mouse, so he repeats the process -- and this time, the new batteries spark a reaction. "Evidently, I wrote down 'mouse' when I got the batteries for my keyboard," says fish. "I got an e-mail from our accounting guy that said, 'Are you eating batteries? I have worked here for over six years and have never replaced batteries in my mouse.'" Fish strolls down to the accounting guy's office, verifies that the accounting guy has a corded mouse, and grumbles, "I really need to find some of those six-year mouse batteries."

So Long

Over the course of a big project, this company has seen a whole string of consultants come and go. "One consultant that had been with us for a number of years sent an e-mail to the entire company on his last day," says a pilot fish in the loop. "My favorite part of the message was the following: 'Over the past three years, you have taught me more than I could ever ask for and, in most cases, ever did ask for. I have been fortunate enough to work with some absolutely interchangeable supervisors on a wide variety of seemingly identical projects -- an invaluable lesson in overcoming daily tedium.' Something tells me he was not very sad about leaving."

Losing and Damaging IT the Navy Way

Milspec pilot fish reports that the mandatory Web browser home page for the managed computers at his site carries this notice: "Did you know: If you lose or damage NMCI equipment, there are established policies and procedures you must follow." Grumbles fish, "I've submitted a feedback form that asks the contractor to reword this to: 'To report lost or damaged NMCI equipment, you must follow these established policies and procedures.'"

That's Probably Best

Pilot fish is in the repair room, working on a computer, when the boss sticks his head in the door. "He asked what I was doing, and I told him that the network card was bad and I was replacing it," says fish. "He started to rant and rave, going on and on about how everyone blames everything on the network. I finally managed to get a word in and explain that the problem was in the card and not the network. At that point, he stopped and thought and then told me, 'So why are you wasting your time? You just need to format the card.' I couldn't think of anything to say."

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