Getting What We Deserve

Software can be a complicated business. It can be especially complicated providing enterprise-wide solutions to organizations.

Enterprise-wide means that we touch most and sometimes all areas or departments within a customer organization. This can include Donor Development, Marketing, Call Center, Receipting, Inventory and Shipping, Media, Accounting, and Executives. Serving each area effectively can be trying because it is hard to do everything well and it is hard to make each area happy with their part of the system. In one organization the Donor Development Department may love our software because it helps them to build deeper relationships and raise more money but the Accounting Department may not like the detailed information they receive through the integration with their accounting module (of course that is not a real example :-)).

In a similar way the software business is complicated because an issue raised by a customer or our quality assurance team that is initially thought to be a defect or “bug” is only about a third of the time actually a software defect. A second third of the time that issue has to do with legacy data (data from a previous system) or the way codes are set up in the software. The final third of the time the issue is a training issue meaning that a user of the software has not been trained and they are raising an issue that the software can perform and they just haven’t yet learned how to use that feature.

Therefore it is easy to mistake a defect for a data issue or a training issue for a defect or a data issue for a training issue (you get the point). One of the things that teaches you is to be careful what you say and to investigate all possibilities of an issue before trying to solve it.

It can also teach you a more dangerous thing. It can make you cynical. It’s not at all right but it is an easy trap to fall into. You can listen to a client who is unhappy and the first thing you think is, “they are not trained or they set up their codes wrong and the path of least resistance was to call us and complain about a defect”. So often times when confronted with a client service issue my mind starts to rationalize their issue away or think of all of the good and right things that we as a company are doing on their behalf that they are not giving us credit for. We are investing a lot of developer time on fixing defects or we are providing monthly classroom trainings or simply the fact that it is an enterprise software application so it is bound to have some defects and why can’t this client focus on all the good things our software does for so many people and so many organizations?

What I read this morning in the God Issues commentary by Jim Denison (see below) hit me right between the eyes. Because of my sinful nature I always want to catch a break because of all the “good and fair” things that we are doing for our clients. And I want our clients to realize their mistake before they come to us with an issue that is not a defect. Basically, I want God to be “fair” with me, but, and I love this line from Jim’s commentary, “But in such a world, you would also get a ticket for the last time you exceeded the speed limit. The last gossip you repeated would be exposed. You would get no less than you deserve, but no more.” When I look through God’s eyes I realize that our clients have been more than fair. They have stood by us and worked hard alongside us – many times even when we did not even deserve it and it would have been “fair” for them to just be frustrated with us.

While software is a complicated business this is the life we have chosen. The fact of the matter is that there are many other businesses just as complicated or difficult as software – and we get to help serve God’s kingdom through the wonderful organizations we serve.

We are blessed to help a client. We are blessed to fix a defect. We are blessed to train a client. We are blessed to talk to a client (even if they are frustrated) who we might be able to help solve an important problem that can help them to be more effective at what they do.

So, instead of wishing I would receive what I think I deserve, I need to be thankful that I don’t get what I know I deserve. I have earned nothing. Christ has given me everything.

GodIssues.org | To Subscribe or change your address Click Here
God Issues Today
today’s news in spiritual perspective
By Dr. James C. Denison
Teaching Pastor, Park Cities Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas
August 28, 2007
Topic: gratitude for grace

Getting what we deserve

It’s not fair that life’s not fair. For instance, if you can afford to spend $10,000 every year for homeowner’s insurance, you can get a special fire retardant treatment applied to your house in Idaho. Wildfires can threaten your neighbors, but you’ll be fine. Today’s New York Times reports on this special policy for special clients. After mowing the grass yesterday in the Texas heat, I’m wondering what they could do for my lawn.

Money can buy preferential treatment with homeowner’s insurance, but not with the law. At least that’s the theory, and in the case of Michael Vick it seems to be true. As you know, Vick appeared yesterday in United States District Court, where he pled guilty to a felony charge stemming from a dogfighting kennel run on a property he owned. This morning’s Times discusses Vick’s first full apology. He has been suspended indefinitely without pay by the National Football League. Fair is fair, at least in his case.

Supporters of Alberto Gonzalez are claiming that the now-former attorney general received no such treatment from the media. Mr. Gonzalez, the nation’s first Hispanic attorney general, resigned his office yesterday. The Times pictures him with a grim President Bush, who praised him as a “man of integrity, decency and principle.” He defended his friend and claimed that he had been forced from office for political reasons.

If the world were fair, we would all get just what we deserved in life. The guy who shot past you on the freeway yesterday would get the ticket you wished a policeman would give him. The colleague who gossiped about you last week would be exposed. Your last act of anonymous kindness would be made public and rewarded.

But in such a world, you would also get a ticket for the last time you exceeded the speed limit. The last gossip you repeated would be exposed. You would get no less than you deserve, but no more.

It’s an interesting fact of life that most of us want God to be fair when fairness suits us, and forgiving when it does not. The good news is that the Judge of the universe is also our Father. He intends no impartiality with his children, but always wants our best. He takes our side, all day long. Isaiah caught the balance between his grace and his holiness: “the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” (Isaiah 30:18).

Why are you glad that God’s not fair today?

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Explore posts in the same categories: Musings on Software and Life, Orange Leap News and Happenings

One Comment on “Getting What We Deserve”

  1. Lou H Says:

    Good post – very humbling read (and sounds like a humbling “write” too). Thanks for taking time to share, ponder, and challenge. Keep meeting the challenge and keep up the good work!


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