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Search - "external company fun"
Just another big rant story full of WTFs and completely true.
The company I work for atm is like the landlord for a big german city. We build houses and flats and rent them to normal people, just that we want to be very cheap and most nearly all our tenants are jobless.
So the company hired a lot of software-dev-companies to manage everything.
The company I want to talk about is "ABI...", a 40-man big software company. ABI sold us different software, e.g. a datawarehouse for our ERP System they "invented" for 300K or the software we talk about today: a document management system. It has workflows, a 100 year-save archive system, a history feature etc.
The software itself, called ELO (you can google it if you want) is a component based software in which every company that is a "partner" can develop things into, like ABI did for our company.
Since 2013 we pay ABI 150€ / hour (most of the time it feels like 300€ / hour, because if you want something done from a dev from ABI you first have to talk to the project manager of him and of course pay him too). They did thousand of hours in all that years for my company.
In 2017 they started to talk about a module in ELO called Invoice-Module. With that you can manage all your paper invoices digital, like scan that piece of paper, then OCR it, then fill formular data, add data and at the end you can send it to the ERP system automatically and we can pay the invoice automatically. "Digitization" is the key word.
After 1.5 years of project planning and a 3 month test phase, we talked to them and decided to go live at 01.01.2019. We are talking about already ~ 200 hours planning and work just from ABI for this (do the math. No. Please dont...).
I joined my actual company in October 2018 and I should "just overview" the project a bit, I mean, hey, they planned it since 1.5 years - how bad can it be, right?
In the first week of 2019 we found 25 bugs and users reporting around 50 feature requests, around 30 of them of such high need that they can't do their daily work with the invoices like they did before without ELO.
In the first three weeks of 2019 we where around 70 bugs deep, 20 of them fixed, with nearly 70 feature requests, 5 done. Around 10 bugs where so high, that the complete system would not work any more if they dont get fixed.
- Delete a Invoice (right click -> delete, no super deep hiding menu), and the server crashed until someone restarts it.
- missing dropdown of tax rate, everything was 19% (in germany 99,9% of all invoices are 19%, 7% or 0%).
But the biggest thing was, that the complete webservice send to ERP wasn't even finished in the code.
So that means we had around 600 invoices to pay with nearly 300.000€ of cash in the first 3 weeks and we couldn't even pay 1 cent - as a urban company!
Shortly after receiving and starting to discussing this high prio request with ABI the project manager of my assigned dev told me he will be gone the next day. He is getting married. And honeymoon. 1 Week. So: Wish him luck, when will his replacement here?
There was no replacement. They just had 1 developer. As a 40-people-software-house they had exactly one developer which knows ELO, which they sold to A LOT of companies.
He came back, 1 week gone, we asked for a meeting, they told us "oh, he is now in other ELO projects planned, we can offer you time from him in 4 weeks earliest".
To cut a long story short (it's to late for that, right?) we fought around 3 month with ABI to even rescue this project in any thinkable way. The solution mid February was, that I (software dev) would visit crash courses in ELO to be the second developer ABI didnt had, even without working for ABI....
Now its may and we decided to cut strings with ABI in ELO and switch to a new company who knows ELO. There where around 10 meetings on CEO-level to make this a "good" cut and not a bad cut, because we can't afford to scare them (think about the 300K tool they sold us...).
01.06.2019 we should start with the new company. 2 days before I found out, by accident, that there was a password on the project file on the server for one of the ELO services. I called my boss and my CEO. No one knows anything about it. I found out, that ABI sneaked into this folder, while working on another thing a week ago, and set this password to lock us out. OF OUR OWN FCKING FILE.
Without this password we are not able to fix any bug, develop any feature or even change an image within ELO, regardless, that we paid thausend of hours for that.
When we asked ABI about this, his CEO told us, it is "their property" and they will not remove it.
When I asked my CEO about it, they told me to do nothing, we can't scare them, we need them for the 300K tool.
Just the project file with a password still there today6
Got Salesforce customised by an external company, took over the code and wanted to cry.
So my company decided to get a new crm for sales with contract generation and a whole lot of fluff. Specs included an easy to implement API to connect to our in-house software and an easy to adjust contract Wizard.
After month of checking various companies the CEO finally settled on...
The cheapest German based company.
Turns out the only part that is based in Germany is the sales department, development is based in Poland which made for interesting times during implementation because of the language barrier that comes with non native english speakers.
We as in our development department for told that we wouldn't need to worry about the solution because it would all be developed and maintained by the new company. As we are fairly small that was more then welcome.
Fast forward to integration day. No docs for the API available, contract Wizard is hardcoded, bunch of errors and inconsistencies. Get tickets for them.
Ok we can deal with this. Just tell the ticket writer he needs to address the problems with the external. Yep, doesn't work. External fixes bugs and introduces then elsewhere.
Fml. Ok I'll take a look into the code. Ugh, Java, I hate that shit but at least I don't need to worry about all the fluff, just the code, so it's ok.
No repository present, code is developed in the Dev environment and pushed to prod. Ugly but works. Code comes with a lot of functions but only one real class called "CommonUtilities" ... even the web API is defined in there. Meanwhile my colleague throws out the need for the API because we will just directly tie to SOQL. I'll let's check what's going on here, nice you reused Lead/Account/Contact for the branch offices of companies as well...
Is not like Salesforce has a bunch of logic tied to these objects...
Nice the required implementation of an automatic holiday import is not even there, just a custom object populated with this year's data...
Tell CEO how badly all of this was handled. Nice note this dumpster fire is our new in-house project because CEO cancelled the contract with the external.
Ok we can deal with this, let's set up a repo, define the CI/CD and get the extensions for vscode. Nice now this all makes sense. Fix all bugs and reimplement the contract Wizard using custom objects that sales can change so the contract is actually easily customizable by a non dev. Implement branches as their own object to avoid opportunities, triggers and the likes to be executed for them.
Took a whole day. Why did these 2000 lines of code that was shipped to us take 3 month to implement?
Lesson learned: never trust an external to just do a good job.
New rule implemented by company to always have a Dev check in regular intervals on projects handled by externals for standards and overall logic
10k down the drain for what amounted to 2 weeks tops (one dev) if we had handled the implementation of Salesforce and all the requirements in-house6