Friday Humor

Never under estimate the user’s creativity to thwart all your best intentions

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The following is a true story from my first post college job.  It was the 1990s.  I worked for a large IT company.  The company had a requirement that all print jobs required a “banner page” to protect sensitive data.  The banner page contained the username that submitted the print job, the date, and the computer name it was submitted from but was otherwise blank.  This page was always on top of the rest of the print out so a casual observer would not see the sensitive data.  When the owner picked up the print out the banner page was typically thrown in the recycle bin.

Due to cost cutting measures the company stopped stocking lined notebook paper.  One of my-coworkers came up with an idea to make the banner page more useful.  They wrote some PostScript code to change the banner page to look like a sheet of lined notebook paper.  Your name was still on the banner page to identify you as the owner but we changed it to read “From the Desktop of <Your Name>” giving everyone personalized notebook paper.  Everyone was happy; we had note paper again, we were reducing, reusing, and recycling so it with the company’s environmental initiatives.  It was a win-win for everyone.

This was in place for about three weeks; working great – until I noticed a co-worker photocopying one of his banner pages because he wanted more personalized stationary.  We kept the banner page but felt defeated.  That is when I learned to never under estimate the user’s creativity to thwart all your best intentions and break whatever process improvement you come up with.

A final note; I still have some of these pages, I haven’t purchased notebook paper for myself in over 20 years.  I am nearly out so I guess it is time to hit the photocopier…

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