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February 17, 2007


Todd McKinney

Brian, I think you're right in your suggestion that the core issue is communicating expectations to users. This often gets lost both in system design, where we have a very expensive "arms race" to harden things, as well as in operational communication with end users.

A recent personal example may explain more clearly what I mean. We've got some significant system churn going due to the coming DST change. I will be spending a lot of time over the next couple of weekends getting environments upgraded with the least impact on users. One interesting thing came up on Friday as we were communicating the details of the process with a customer and they said "oh, if we have to do that, can we wait until Thursday or Friday to do it?"

The problem, and it's a costly one, is that the project managers have assumed that the customer will be inconvenienced less if the change happens on the weekend. Rather than suggest FIRST that we would prefer to do it during the week, then offering above and beyond effort if required.

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