This pilot fish uses an e-mail mailing list to keep everyone working on a particular project informed. And it works pretty well -- or at least it did.
"We'd been using the list without problems on a regular basis," says fish. "But late one afternoon, the project manager sent an e-mail that was re-sent to the entire list every 15 minutes, all night long.

"It took some sleuthing, but the next morning our high-level sysadmins had tracked the culprit to a server machine on the site of one of the list recipients."

It's probably a misconfigured gateway, so fish's team asks the e-mail recipient to talk to his own sysadmin about correcting the problem.

But the recipient is adamant: His site isn't the problem.

"To make his point," fish reports, "he addressed an e-mail to the entire group. It said: 'Machine X at my agency isn't the problem.'

"Sure enough, his message began to repeat ... every 15 minutes."

Mixed Messages

Support pilot fish gets a call from the company president, whose mouse cursor is moving erratically. Cordless mouse? asks fish. It might be the batteries. "Got a call 15 minutes later from an assistant to let me know that took care of the problem," says fish. "Next day, I get hauled down to the boss's office, who got a call from his boss, the CFO. Both execs want to know about the automatic 'your call has been closed' e-mail that was sent to the president -- and why IT is spending so much time tracking the replacement of mouse batteries. Oh, and they passed along thanks for my prompt assistance."

This system conversion project is well under way; it's been months since users signed off on the list of new reports that will be created and those that will become obsolete. "After the first test run of the new conversion, one user was irate," reports pilot fish working on the project. "He insisted that his obsolete reports were missing! We had to explain to him the definition of obsolete."

Gone But Not Forgotten

Sysadmin pilot fish hurriedly submits a request for a day off with his company's new Web-based system for tracking time off. "Usually I get a notification back right away, but I didn't get anything back that day," says fish. But next morning he hears from the system's developer, who's heard from the HR manager, who's heard from a manager in the corporate office. "Turns out I had mistakenly entered my phone extension instead of my employee ID when filling out the request," says fish. "It matched up with the ID of a deceased employee. The manager at corporate was rather upset that a former employee of his who had passed away was requesting a day off."

Or Something

Pilot fish responsible for technology purchasing gets a request from a user: "Ernie came up and said they need some money for something to make computers run faster, better or something. Please use line item 5440-61265 in the amount of $500. Thanks."

Concept Guy

Marketing manager tells developer pilot fish he wants a new report -- one that will track customer life retention statistics. But what would be the formula for calculating that? puzzled fish asks -- something like today's date minus the date they signed up divided by the total revenue? Marketing manager: "That's not my job! My job is to come up with the concept!"