Another company has won the maintenance contract that I work on. We have a couple weeks until our contract is up. The new team has already been assembled. They requested some time with us to help train them. This seemed like a reasonable request.

When the new team came to meet with me, I asked them what they wanted to get out of today's meeting. I assumed I would just walk them through a normal day of customer support. They agreed that this would be good. However they also wanted to know all the new features we added to our application suite this year. I told them that would take a long time.

So I went to one of our developers, and took a trouble ticket from him. This was a real life example that I would use to train the new team. I reviewed the text of the trouble ticket with them. Then I made sure we all understood the behavior in the application that the users experienced. Then I went over the behavior that the users were expecting.

This particular trouble ticket was very thorough in that it provided specific examples of the problem. One of the examples did not make sense. So I emphasized that when something like this happens, you should overcome any reservations and call up the users and/or system administrators. Right there in the conference room I called up the sys admin who submitted the trouble ticket. He clarified the details which seemed strange. We we now ready to run with the problem.

I showed the newbies how to log into the Production database and run queries to see the sample data. Then I found some data in development that was similar to the problem production data. Made a couple updates to my development data to exactly match. Then I followed the steps the users listed, and we were able to duplicate the problem. This was all done in record time. We got lucky.