Last night we were working to fix a bug that was about to go into production. This isn’t about the problem with how our system is configured; that’s for another day. This is about the thought of dealing with the change.

We had to make a change to a lot of rows in a config table. A little more that 1300 to be more precise. Thankfully I was able to come up with a scheme that’s automated so I wasn’t entering these rows by hand. Even so, whenever you’re making a change to a production system you have to wonder if you’re doing it right. After all that’s a lot of data to be mucking with. The question I have is “how do I know I got all the data correct?”

The suggestion was to email the list of 1300 IDs to make sure they’re correct.


Homie don’t play that.

I’m not going to put someone in the position where they can’t succeed. That’s just not fair. The only thing that does is play some illegitimate CYA game. When things don’t work you have something to point to and say “it’s all right here.” As if someone can check everything and make sure it’s all correct. If anything the act of checking it all would lead to even more errors and confusion. Not cool at all. To expect someone to go through the list of all of those numbers to verify that they are all correct is expecting the impossible.

On the other end of the chain Ennie sometimes gets those lists thrown at her. When things don’t match up in their reporting system she hears: “Why didn’t you check that list. That’s why we sent it over to you.” Of course it’s actually more fun than that, the only way to check the list is from the list itself. Umm… Tautology, here we come!

No one should be expected to make that work. You can’t.

If you’re given something to work on, you should have at least the remote expectation that you can get it done. If there’s no way, it’s probably nothing more than someone playing this stupid game. Make sure you call them on it.