Oops! Not Again!

Lest I seem to be judgmental, let’s start out with a professional revelation: I probably make hundreds of mistakes a year. In fact, it is possible I picked my career—one where mistakes are so intrinsic we call them “bugs” instead —because of a summer day when I was around ten, tossing a game of catch in a narrow NYC street. You see, I observed the dense proximity of windows all around and wondered how it was I hadn’t broken one yet. Within 5 minutes of that very thought, an errant throw of mine went through a neighbor’s window.  Oops! I knew then and there I was going to make plenty of mistakes.

I bring this up today because we recently heard about an “oops” moment at one of our clients that could have been a real nightmare. As is increasingly common, this client uses a cloud storage provider (in their case BOX.com) to share project files with the team and third parties. These project players then often sync the BOX.com content onto their own devices (laptop or tablet, etc). The thing is, those files add up pretty quickly and take a lot of space on the end user’s device. The volume of projects, thousands of files, and scads of players creates an environment akin to all those windows in NYC waiting to be broken. Was it really a surprise when one of those users deleted a sub-tree of synced files instead of disabling (turning off) the sync to free up space on his device? All those files could have been lost. What a serious mistake that could have been!

Fortunately for this client, the possibility and risk wasn’t a surprise to us here at Spitfire. When we designed the cloud file integration feature for the Spitfire Project Management System, we knew that one of the primary benefits of Spitfire was as an authoritative source of who-knew-what when. Part of that audit trail is the files that are part of the project. Even if a file is deleted from cloud storage, it remains part of the permanent record inside our system. In the case of this client’s mishap, our cloud integration feature detected that the files had been removed from BOX.com but were still relevant for sharing, so they were placed back where they belonged. Sure, less history on BOX, but the full history remains in the project management system, where it belongs. When the right time comes and the project is closed out, our cloud sync engine will remove the files from BOX, but keep them safe and sound internally.

Helping companies recover more quickly from all sorts of mistakes is a motivation in the design of Spitfire. There are many apps that can help you when all is going smoothly; a system such as Spitfire supports a company when certain mistakes are made, and prevents other mistakes from happening in the first place.

I feel fortunate that I picked a career where my mistakes (those aforementioned bugs) are an expected part of my day, albeit often not as obvious as a shattered window. (Hey, there are even multiple people tasked to find my mistakes! ) All of our jobs are made more sane by tracking changes and automating testing and workflow to keep us on track.

If you think your team could benefit from software to watch your back and a team that understands the playing field, contact us for a demo.

This entry was posted in Cloud, Data tracking, Our Clients, Project Management by Stan York. Bookmark the permalink.

About Stan York

Stan York (VP of Development at Spitfire) has been developing software for decades. Which means he's old enough to remember when punched cards where the state of the art UI. Stan makes no secret about the fact he often prefers data to people, so it should come as no surprise that he is an expert in databases and SQL server. If asked, he might admit he is an MCP, because he knows this is important to some people, particularly at Microsoft. The postings on this site are his own and don’t necessarily represent Spitfire's positions, strategies or opinions.

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