BOFH: A question of urgency

Coffee's pretty important, ya know...


Episode 24

"How's that job going?" the Boss asks hurriedly, ducking into Mission Control.

"Which job?" I ask.

"The installation," he responds, obviously believing that I have some idea of what he's talking about.

"The installation?" I ask.

"The server installation."

"What server installation?" I ask, beginning to wonder if the Alzheimer's is kicking in.

"The WEB server - for PR."

Okay, so it's Alzheimer's - which is a bit of a shame actually as I could have kept all those aluminium pots I threw away a year ago. Unless...

"Are you doing the server install for PR?" I ask the PFY.

"What server install for PR?" the PFY asks - and I KNOW he can't have Alzheimer's because he eats takeaways and avoids deodorant like vegetarian food.

"The Web Server," the Boss repeats with more than a touch of frustration. "The new Public Relations Web server!"

"WHAT NEW PUBLIC RELATIONS WEB SERVER?!" the PFY and I snap.

"It's in your helpdesk queue!" the Boss says, FINALLY giving us a bit of useful information.

"Ah, the SERVICE desk queue," I say, being ITIL compliant. "When did that go in?"

"This morning," he replies.

"Ah, and what priority did you give the Job?"

"High."

"High," I say to the PFY. "What's the response time on that?"

"One working day," the PFY says.

"Oh, ok, so we'll probably get back to you on Monday," I say. "Unless of course we fail to meet our response target in which case the job will escalate to you and you can follow-up with us Monday lunchtime."

"So... the server's not going to be ready by the weekend?!" the Boss gasps.

"No, no," the PFY says, calming the Boss down a little.

"Oh good."

"No," the PFY continues. "What he's saying is we don't have to get back to you to have the whole 'What server?' 'The Web Server' 'What Web Server?' 'The PR Web Server' 'What PR Webserver?' conversation until monday. If we meet our response target."

"B-But... we need the server up and running before the weekend!" the Boss gasps. "The company's running an online promotional competition which they've advertised in a mailout!"

"Hmmm," the PFY says. "And they waited until now to worry about the server?"

"Not exactly," the Boss says, guilt oozing from his pores.

"YOU waited until now to worry about the server?"

"No," the Boss blurts. "The developers said it would run on any web server, so PR put it on their web server last night but overnight it had a meltdown and we need a replacement server!"

"What sort of meltdown?"

"The whole thing collapsed - the disk filled up and the database log thing went berserk and the web server crashed and they can't fix it," the Boss gabbles. "So we need a server before the weekend!"

"In that case you should ring the service desk and get the priority changed to Urgent," I say to the Boss. "Because then the response time drops to two hours."

"Just look at it now pleeeease," the Boss pleads.

"I'd like to," I lie. "I honestly would, but if I do that then I'd be resolving a non-urgent call before an urgent one - which would show up when they analyse the KPIs which are set as part of our annual bonus calculations. I need to fix the urgent call first or get your job made urgent."

"So what's the other urgent call?"

"Someone wants us to put SNMP into the coffee machine so the know when the beans need to be refilled," the PFY responds.

"THAT'S NOT BLOODY URGENT!"

"It was logged in the service desk as urgent," the PFY says. "Apparently the CEO was here last week and someone offered him a coffee but couldn't give him one because the beans were out and the refills were locked away to stop people stealing them for home..."

"Well, can't you change my call?"

"Only the owner of a job or the service desk can change it's priority," the PFY says. "Because apparently SOME people thought that we'd deprioritise calls we didn't want to do..."

"I..." the Boss says, getting the guilty look again. "I'll go and change the priority and be right back!"

...two minutes later...

"So when will the server be ready?"

"I think we can probably have it run up by next Wednesday."

"But it's URGENT, you need to get started now."

"I would but I have to deal with the Critical jobs first."

"What critical jobs?"

"The coffee machine job," the PFY says. "It's just been upgraded to Critical. Apparently the CEO asked for a raincheck on the coffee!"

"But you never said there was a critical!"

"There wasn't one then," I say. "It got upgraded."

"So how does the urgency thing work?" the Boss snaps.

"High is priority 2, Urgent is priority 1 and Critical is priority 0."

"So Critical's as important as it gets?"

"Yup!"

"Right!' the Boss says, stomping out.

"Quick," I say to the PFY. "Change the required resolution time of the cof..."

"Onto it!" the PFY snaps, updating his service desk call. "but I was just thinking - have you looked into the urgency mapping to see if it supports..."

"Negative numbers?" I ask. "Already onto it and it does...One Super Duper Critical coming up!"


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