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Monday, April 24, 2006

Yes! It sucks! I know! Goddammit!

The last month and a half have been very very busy at work.

We went live at a new site at the beginning of the month, which required a lot of overtime to get everything ready initially, and then some rather difficult hours since then sorting out all the bugs and teething problems.

After using it for a month, most of the users have become relatively adept at using the system, and the bulk of the queries receive now are the really complicated things – like “How do I generate multiple invoices with overlapping Purchase Orders in three different currencies with all kinds of weird markups and discounts?”

However, the users aren’t happy. They don’t like the system. It’s awkward, slow, excessively complicated and so internally inconsistent that it even confuses us.

Several times a day I hear “On [our old system] we could do this and this and that. Why can’t we do it on [the new system]?”

Apparently there were business reasons for going with our system over the old one. Something about stricter controls on what the users can do. Fine. Why buy a whole new system to do that? Why not just fix the old one?

Our system is not designed to do what they’re using it for. They’ve bought a (very expensive) donkey to do the work of a horse. Sure, they can both pull a cart, but just try and race a donkey.

I’ve voiced my concerns to whomever would listen, but it’s far too late. Too much money has changed hands for us to back out now… we’re just going to have to take this donkey (now pumped up on steroids and stimulants, fitted with the finest Nike trainers and shaved for aerodynamic reasons) and get as much speed out of it as possible.

But I swear, if I hear one more user say “This is such a shitty system! You’re not helping us, you’re making our jobs more difficult!” I am going to grab its empty, little head, and twist it until it comes off.