Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Even when your right, you might still be wrong.

Even when your right, you might still be wrong, or not.

I had an interesting experience back in December. One of the Product Managers was responsible for taking an out of date spec and updating it to reflect the current product. She sent out a SharePoint link to the Functional Spec she wanted reviewed.

There were tons of errors and it looked like she had only made some cursory changes. I decided to give up reviewing the spec and I sent her a quick email that said her spec was still very out of date and that I only got halfway through the document.

Here is the email thread after my first email:

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PM:
I’m not sure you read the right spec. I’ve now spent all day correcting issues in yours only to realize that the version TFS that I put up on Friday afternoon had more stuff in it than the one you commented on.

ME:
I double checked that I am using the correct spec. SharePoint has a history option for documents and you can see what changes were made, by who and when they were saved.

The link you sent ( also in this thread ) is the one I commented on. It was added to Sharepoint by you Friday 12/14/2007 at 3:26 PM.

I downloaded the file again (this time to a new location) and manually walked through every single comment I made to make sure the text I commented on was the same in the linked document you provided. Everything is the same.

I am not sure what document you are working on, but it is not in Sharepoint at the link you sent out. Maybe it is a local copy?

Please come see me if you have any other questions or need me to walk through what I did.

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So this looks cut and dry right? I clearly documented the version of the document I was looking at and all my ducks were in an order.

The conversation continued, in email and then in person. She was positive I was looking at the wrong version and I was positive that I wasn’t. When I went up to her desk to walk her through what I did, I ran into a problem.

The SharePoint history for that document no longer matched what I had seen only 10 mins before. The 12/14 version I had referenced now said 12/13. This confusion only reinforced the PM’s belief that I somehow downloaded the wrong version of the spec.

I was baffled. I knew what I had seen, I had double checked. What could have happened? I went back to my machine and luckily I still had the SharePoint window open and I could clearly see that I was not crazy. In the following screenshot you can the same document (notice the GUID in the URL) had mysteriously changed dates and timestamp.

It took me about 30 mins to Google and troubleshoot the issue, but the conclusion we came up with was that she had checked out the document, made changes and never checked it back in. So when she sent out the link it still pointed at the old version.

This turned out to be a known issue/feature with SharePoint that has tripped a few people up.

This was a good reminder to me to always approach any contentious issue with an open mind. If you respect the person you are talking to, there is likely a good reason they have formed a differing opinion and you should always be aware that things my have changed, even in the time it takes to walk over to demo something.


1 comment:

Quilla said...

Thanks for writing this.