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Some context for this situation.

  • I am new to an insurance company, working in their IT department
  • I am young, fresh out of college, with 'minimal' experience in a professional workplace. But interned with this particular company twice before I was hired on full-time

We recently have been testing a new version of a software we use for our employees who process claims. I will refer to them as version A and version B.

We had about a 50/50 mix of people using version A and people using version B. When a large number of the people using version B started having problems, I was told to send out an email with the following information:

  • Anyone who is currently using version B and is having problems, they should roll back to version A
  • If they are on version B and NOT having any problems, then they should continue to work normally.

So I sent that email out to a distribution group we have that would include everyone who this problem could be occurring with, this distribution group included about 100 people who could have had either version A or B. After it was sent, I was told it should have been sent out to only the specific people who were having issues. Since there are about 50 employees who could have been having problems, and we don't know who all was having them, I find it hard to sort through all the employees to find out who was having problems. I was also told that employees tend to follow all instructions sent to them from IT, regardless of what conditions are mentioned in the email. Meaning even if they were not having issues with version B they still rolled back to version A. That was the main reasoning as to why I was told it should have been done differently.

Does this hold true for most professional work places? Was I right or wrong to send out an email that I knew would include all employees that this could pertain to or affect?

Thank you for any advice in advance. I feel like this may be a little opinion based, but i'm looking for an answer from anyone who has experience in this line of work as a professional.

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They are right about what you should have done, and the explanations given to you are really helpful. However, if you can't identify those users, I think what you did is the best way given the situation and the elements with which you had to work.

In the event that this happens again, if the users are not identified, the best way to circumscribe these emails is by means of previous surveys about an aspect of the software that is believed to have problems, and to see if users have these problems. If the distribution of users is not completely random, you could even derive statistical probabilities, such as "users in department X have Version A, while users in department Y seem to be using Version B"

However, the best way for Beta or Alpha versions is to identify who received the different versions when they receive them, and perform automatic or face-to-face controls, which will avoid problems on a larger scale. It is always best to prevent than to fix later.

  • I agree, it would have been nice if they would have documented who was upgraded to the newer version B to test it out, but sadly... those steps were not taken. Thank you Devin! – cet51 Oct 16 '17 at 18:26
  • Also, it makes it a bit difficult to gather the users who were having problems when communication seems to be rather slow. They wanted this email sent out sooner rather than later, so collecting those names would have slowed me down quite a bit. Sort of like a double-edged sword :) – cet51 Oct 16 '17 at 18:28
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    I understand. But well... get ready for this kind of situations throughout your career and always expect the unexpected, you're on for a great and fun ride! – Devin Oct 16 '17 at 19:16

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