21 Nov

Bug Reporting: OK; Next on Plate: Ticketing System

Three months ago I asked for advice about bug reporting systems. I got feedback from Eric Snowdeal who mentioned RT: Request Tracker (which looked too generic to my taste), while Doug Kaye had "used Bugzilla on a few projects with good results" but wasn’t the one who had to install it. Belatedly, thanks to both of you for your emails. People from TrackStudio and JIRA also sent additional information.
After letting the issue rest for a while, I finally decided to install Mantis, low release number or not, since several people such as Brad Choate use it and didn’t seem to complain. Mantis worked well enough for us so far (I installed it myself, it’s real easy), though to tell the truth we’ve loaded only 29 bugs and features in it for the time being, so I have to test how the interface scales, but it looks usable enough.

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06 Nov

Billions Hidden in Spreadsheets

Corp Law Blog: Painful Lessons: Fannie Mae’s Press Release From Hell

"[A]s it was preparing its third quarter Form 10-Q, Fannie’s accounting staff discovered that their FAS 149 calculations understated the value of Fannie’s mortgage loan commitments by $1.3 billion, resulting in a $1.1 billion understatement of Fannie’s net worth. Fannie attributed this to "human error," explaining in a statement that: "There were honest mistakes made in a spreadsheet used in the implementation of a new accounting standard." On October 29, Fannie’s investor relations department alerted BusinessWire that it would soon be issuing a corrected version of its October 16 earnings release."

Mike O’Sullivan points out that $1.1B is not much in the context of Fannie Mae’s $1+T assets. Still, this is a reminder that many spreadsheets being bounced around companies contain errors.

04 Nov

Where’s My Consumer Data?

Matt Haughey: Receipt, please

"And yet, in 2003, I have to save a piece of paper for five years if I ever want my washer fixed under the purchased warranty. It’s as if all parties have agreed that despite our level of data sophistication, we’ll instead act as if it’s 75 years ago and everything that matters ends up in a big paper ledger somewhere, and unless it’s in the big paper book, it never happened. Dumb, isn’t it?"

That disconnect between the sophisticated internal systems of vendors and retailers and the crap they ask their customers to go through shows that most CRM implementations were in fact Customer Ready (to be) Milked projects. Why don’t you open up your big datastores and have them do something useful for me for a change?