Having survived the scourge of Jack's automated testing debacle, Rita thought she could handle anything. Since that time, Rita had Operations burn/kill/destroy all the JCKRKS servers and set up new ones that she had full control over. Rita felt well-prepared for a future where nothing that bad could happen again. But sometimes those who only look forward are unprepared for the return of a long-forgotten relic.
In a different IVR-enabled part of their health insurance system, customers could call in to hear information about their health benefits. These benefits, as is par for anything with health insurance, were governed by a very complex set of rules, contracts, overrides, and addendums. Depending on the caller's employer, benefit administrator, subscriber level, eye color, astrological sign and feng shui positioning, their very specific set of benefit information would be read back to them.
To house this complex set of business rules, the organization depended on ILOG to keep things in order. It did the job but when it came time to tweak said rules, customers had to file a formal change request and wait weeks to see their change implemented. Customers complained about the process enough that Gregor, bringer of Jack, had the bright idea to give them a way to make rule changes on the fly themselves.
"It's quite simple, Rita," he began to explain with an arrogant tone. "It's taking too long for our customers to get their changes and it takes too much of our time to implement them. We need to create a web-based way for them to alter their business rules and I think you're just the girl to make it happen!"
"Gregor, I agree that we could do better with this, but are you sure we want our end-users messing around with complicated settings? Things could get ugly in a hurry," Rita expressed great concern.
"Point taken, but I still think this is a brilliant way to make everyone happy and more productive! Plus we can deprecate that expensive ILOG system and just store everything in a database! Get to work."
So began a large unplanned, unbudgeted project to get the web interface built with a SQL backend while exporting all the data from ILOG to a massive Excel spreadsheet. It drove Rita to her wit's end but she started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. They were now prepared for a round of beta testing by HealthLords, their biggest client (see: biggest complainer).
The HealthLords were excited to get started so they could brag about being the first insurer to set up their own business rules. They logged in to Rita's slick web interface and began to manipulate stuff. As they dug through their extensive set of rules, they came across one that was foreign to them - "PAUL TEST DO NOT DELETE". They opened it up to find the shocking description of "This is just an internal test. Those whiny HealthLord idiots will never see this once ILOG is implemented."
Almost immediately, Rita received an angry call from a big whig at HealthLords. Caught off guard, she was only able to offer a token apology and promise to look in to it. It had never been there before, so it was definitely a mystery to solve.
She dug in to the IVR platform that was still being used before and after the days of ILOG. After many rounds of tracing the code, she found the rule embedded deep in a dusty corner of the code in a class that shouldn't have processed benefit addenda at all. There stood a comment on the offending rule, "// remove this if we decides [sic] to pay for ILOG ~ Paul".
Paul hadn't been with the company for several years and had quit just before the ILOG system was implemented. But that didn't mean Rita couldn't curse his name on this day. ILOG had been covering up his test rule forever and now that it was out of the picture, it showed up again during HealthLords' beta testing. It took Gregor escalating to his bosses' bosses' boss just to keep HealthLords from backing out of their contract.