My Favorite System Deploy Story

I just remembered this and regaled the newer members of the team with this amazing story that happened when we rolled out our new enterprise lab management system a few years ago.

The end result of all of our processes basically is a pretty report that goes to our client doctors and gives a diagnosis.

We were up in New York for a month of 20 hour days getting the system finalized and deployed. It was a wholesale changeover from old system to new.

Literally the day before deployment day I was up all night creating the reporting engine and finalizing report layout. Everything was happening under great pressure.

We rolled the system out the next morning, and things seemed to be going smoothly, until a client called us frantically claiming that there was a picture of a MONKEY on their report they just received.

This put us into panic mode. What did we do wrong? Did some bogus image from test make it into production? Did I do something incredibly strange when I was creating these reports on no sleep? What went wrong?

We immediately dropped everything and started searching databases and code to see what could have happened. This was basically the first report generated by the new system, and somehow it had a MONKEY on it!

After unsuccessfully trying to find the phantom monkey in the system, we asked the client to fax us a copy of the report. We waited with bated breath, the whole team huddled around the fax machine.

After a few minutes, paper started to come out…

I snatched it from the machine…

There was indeed a monkey. The page also said “HP LaserJet Printer Test Page”.


How We Do Things – Testing Part 2