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I had this amazing boss. He had 25 years of experience in the sector covered by our software, an ERP. He knew how to be a programmer, a boss, a sales manager, a support person.
I learned most of the best practices from him: do not shout in the office, it makes impossible to work. Don't hide something to your coworkers, nobody was trusting him. Be clear with your clients, his subtle mind tricks pissed off a lot of clients. Your client needs to see an economic advantage in your offers, trying to sell gold priced shit is not a good way to stay in the market. The list could go on and on and on.
I learned what happens when you do everything in the wrong way, and I will never forget.3
We had 3 weeks of "manual data collection": pencil, paper and a dozen of people around all the offices of the company with the task to collect serial numbers of every piece of equipment used.
Then we had 3 weeks of data entry, a dozen of people copying all handwritten data to a custom made VB form.
And then there was me, the guy that was in charge of verifying, zipping and sending the data to the client. I spent 48h non stop to go through everything, finding, fixing or delete unusable data.
I had to delete at least 25% of the data because incomplete or completely unusable (serial numbers too short or too long, for example).
48h in the office.
The data was then delivered to the customer. 2 days after, when I finally woke up, everyone was in panic because:
- serial numbers were not matching
- addresses were wrong
- the number of delivered records was smaller than expected
What did I learn from this experience?
When your deadline is tomorrow, and you need 4 weeks to complete your work, ignore the deadline and inform everyone at any level that you are ignoring the deadline. And then resign and find a better job.
Ah, yes, pencils and paper are powerful tools, but rat poison too. You just need to use them in the right place. The only data collection that can be trusted when done with a pencil is the one involving checkboxes.1
Web products that disable text selection. I hate them, there are 0 reasons to do that, and still it's done.16