True Domino Blooper #16: Make your mark, but leave no stain

This Lotus admin got in hot water at his new job when he decided to make a splash by modifying the standard mail template file with a new logo.

This Lotus admin got in hot water at his new job when he decided to make a splash by modifying the standard mail template file with a new logo. Read on to see how his foray into the graphic arts got management seeing red.

It was my first week on the job with a new employer when I committed this blooper. I was hired as the "Lotus Notes Expert" with a medium-sized (but rapidly growing) multinational company. This company has many sites around the globe, each with its own Lotus Notes server sharing one domain. Each site's identity, although part of the same overall company, is defined by its individual product brands (keep this in mind as you read further).

At my previous employer, I discovered how easy it was to implement a small design change to the memo form on the mail template file. I replaced the default "pencil and grid" logo on the memo form with the company logo and pushed the changes out to all of the users. The users really liked this change, because it "personalized" Lotus Notes. So at my new job, I implemented the same change, figuring it would be an excellent way to "announce" my presence to the user community as the resident "Lotus Notes Expert." It was a harmless change that was easily implemented. Besides, what could possibly go wrong?

I made the required changes to the mail template, substituting out the "pencil and grid" logo (the version of Notes was 4.5 at the time) for my new company's logo in the mail template. Rather than just pushing out the design changes manually, I decided to let the Designer task run in the early morning hours at its scheduled time. I left for the evening and went home.

The next day, I arrived at the office, started my workstation, logged into Lotus Notes and composed a memo to check out my changes. As I expected, the default logo was replaced with the company logo. Cool! Moments later, I checked my voicemail and discovered that something had gone awry. Messages left on my voicemail revealed that users at the other locations didn't quite share my excitement. Apparently my logo had infiltrated the mail files of users at all of the other sites. How can that happen?

As I noted, each site's identity was tied to the brands they produce. This was analogous to employees at the Pontiac division of General Motors coming to work and seeing the Chevrolet logo all over their documents. Uncool!

Here's what happened:
My changes to the mail template file were pushed out to the other sites via replication. The Designer task on each server then updated the mail files. Because I was anxious to make an impression at my new company, I didn't take the time to review the architecture of the Notes network at the new company before implementing this change. I never gave server-to-server replication much thought, having come from a company that had only a single, non-replicating Notes server -- until now, that is. I also made some incorrect assumptions as to which databases were shared across the other sites. As I discovered, this company replicated certain template files, the mail template among them.

Luckily, this was all easily corrected. I still get razzed by my co-workers to this day about my blunder. Needless to say, my impact on the organization was much larger than anticipated!


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 Every story in our bloopers series comes to us directly from a administrator, developer or consultant. For obvious reasons, some contributors choose to remain anonymous.


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