More Talk, Less E-mail

“Do you have a moment?” the project manager asked. Looking at his face it was clear that I needed to find a moment. So I got up and followed him into a meeting room.

A developer and a user were in loud disagreement about whether a specific Excel report from the system was correct or not. They each had printouts proving their point – a misformatted report and a correctly formatted one, and the Jira issue had been back and forth dozens of times. Mysteriously, they had argued for 15 minutes based on their respective pieces of paper without bothering to sit together in front of the system to try to reproduce problem.

We opened the system and pulled the report several times and it came out correctly. Probing further, we discovered that the user did not produce the report himself, but received the Excel sheet via email from someone else who “checked” the report before sending it to the user. Unfortunately, the checker opened the report and saved it in his old version of Excel before sending it, thus causing the problem

If you have a dispute about functionality, don’t hide behind email and comments in an issue tracking system. Sit the developer and user in front of a system and have them diagnose the problem together.


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