Always check what you are given!

Today I had a vendor send me an upgrade file that was to be run on a couple of our servers. The file name was mostly gibberish, so I trusted the vendor instinctively. Obviously you know where this is going…the file that was provided to me was not the correct file. Let that sink in for a second. I definitely did after I used it to “upgrade” all of our servers. While running a verification check I found out that what I actually did was re-install the entire environment.

I would have been totally screwed if it wasn’t for these things:

  1. Thank god this was a TEST environment. This is why you always test what you are given before going live in production.
  2. Thank god the application that I support isn’t impacted by re-installations.
  3. Thank god the file that was given to me was the SAME version that we were already at.

So something that could have been absolutely horrible, turned out not to be horrible. I’m going to take this as a lesson…don’t trust anyone, not even vendors! Check what they give you! The fact is that even if they did make a mistake, it’s not them who go onto the chopping block, it’s you as the IT professional.

Imagine if I was given a completely different file version and it destroyed the environment!

Never compromise on your best practice standards

Today I had some users request for an implementation that would have gone against the best practices set up by me and my team. They actually had a very good use case, and if I did not make an exception for them, their application would stop functioning.

I told them that if they acknowledged the risks and sent me a written confirmation, I would implement the change pending my manager’s approval. My manager replied to me within five minutes to let me know that we wouldn’t be making any exceptions. This is what she said:

I don’t like it when we break our own standards. The minute you start compromising, you set a precedent and bad things start happening.

I don’t know why, but I really liked it when she said that. A lot of people are going to be angry with us today, but we stuck to our expertise and experience. I feel like being able to judge whether or not to compromise is a great skill to have, and I will strive to get better at it. It’s funny, the conversation I had with her was professional in nature, but I feel like this can apply to all aspect of my life.