Passing the Buck

A user noticed that some data was missing in the system. So the user notified their manager. The manager relayed the information up to headquarters. Headquarters asked a system administrator if they knew whether the data was loaded. The system administrator had no idea what the issue was or how to even check whether the data was loaded.

So the system admininstrator contacted a member of our performance engineering team. The performance engineer asked the project manager and develoment team lead is they had any ideas. Now after a while the project manager inquired whether anybody gave the performance engineer any ideas. This was the first time I heard about this issue.

I am a senior developer on my project. It just so happens that I have been here a long time. I know how to check where the breakdown occurred that resulting in the missing data. But I went and had a chat with the project manager. I don't like rewarding backwards requests for information like this. Because doing so normally results in abuse and reliance on doing things the wrong way. So I told our customer's headquarters that indeed the data is missing, and that the best way to proceed would be to follow procedure and open a trouble ticket.

The amusing thing about this problem is that along the way, it reached a multitude of people who had no clue as to how to figure out why the data got loaded. At each step the person just passed the buck to somebody else. I was going to name this post "The Buck Stops Here" because I am one of those rare individuals on the project who knows how everything works. But that is not the point of the post. The point is that information has value. And when you do not have the information or the ability to figure out the information, apparently all you can do is pass the problem along to somebody else. This is an inefficient system.

On a lighter note, I sometimes bend the rules for those I like. And I will do a 5 minute investigation to provide critical data for some of my customers. The problem with this is that if the word ever gets out, a lot of people will want to call me and get help. If all I did was browse the web all day, I could honor these requests. But I have a lot of duties and need to keep these distractions to a minimum. Such is life.