"Sorry it's so spread out."

Today I received an e-mail with seven invoices from one of our contract employees.

“I am now using a new accounting package to generate invoices.
Unfortunately it generates a separate invoice for each project even if the work is performed for a single customer. Each invoice references a different project activity. Hence several invoices attached.”

This struck me as funny for two reasons. First of all it says to me “Sorry, but my time is worth way more than your time, so I’ve decided to use a new accounting package that makes things easier for me although it will make things harder for you.” Not exactly the message you want to send to your customers.

While this isn’t a big deal as I like the guy, I am sure he didn’t think about the message he was sending. How many interactions can you name that are kludgy or cause you extra work and the excuse is “sorry, but the software made me do it”?

The second reason I found this funny is that open source can help solve problems like this. When talking about OpenNMS to potential clients, I often say things like “OpenNMS can be made to fit your business processes – you don’t have to change them to fit the software”.

This is an extremely powerful message, and it is why we refer to OpenNMS as a “management application platform” and not just an application.