It's simple. Do nothing.
Many of you will view the rapidly approaching festive period with mixed feelings. Almost 1999, you might reflect - only another 12 months to get all these lines of code checked. Mighty dread! Fear not. There is an answer.
It won't cost you a penny and it requires no effort. Indeed, it demands no effort, literally.
For the answer is, do nothing. Prevaricate, suggest that it is someone else's responsibility, point out that you don't have the resources, but above all indicate that at the present rate of progress (which you will have reduced to nil) the problem is not going to be fixed in time unless a different kind of remedial action is taken.
I can promise you from first-hand experience that this works. The author in the mid-Eighties of a modest invoicing and accounting information program, I found myself with more users (four) than I could cope with as friends, relatives and former colleagues were made redundant or opted for a freelance career. The life expectancy of the software, written originally in Locomotive Basic on an Amstrad PCW8256, could be measured in two ways: first, anyone trying to issue more than 999 invoices in the course of their working lives would find themselves abruptly starting again at zero; second, of course, a six-digit ddmmyy date field was always going to be more than adequate.
What with porting it to a PC, tailoring it for new users and providing years of free if rather haphazard telephone hot-line support, I found the five copies of the software diverging considerably. I brought my own into line with millennial requirements (and 1,000-plus invoices) but to describe this as a slog would be to diminish slogs. In desperation I bought a Mac. There was absolutely no chance of porting the package to that.
My little band of users sould get the message.
Not a bit of it. Their tiresome queries continued to come in about minor irritants I'd lived with for a decade. The requests for pointless upgrades did not slacken. I tackled them with unmistakable reluctance and hinted that such obviously creaking software would not have much life left in it by 2000.
Eventually I dragged my feet on even the simplest modifications. The call would come in for a formatting change on the invoice. Six months later, I would get round to it. All my programming resources, I explained, were going into a routine which, applying the principles of numerology to a football pools coupon, would make me a millionaire in no time. I was trying to make the point that new development commanded a higher priority than keeping worn-out legacy systems on life-support. Unconvinced of the value of my development work, my users insisted on my continued attention.
So, finally, I withdrew support altogether. I didn't make a point of telling anyone, of course. This may have caused panic in the market. Instead, I just stopped doing anything. To my great surprise, the ploy worked.
One user went back into full-time employment. Another emigrated. A third discovered that a word processor would do most of the job just as well and with more reliable alignment (always something of a moving target in my printer drivers, I confess). The fourth, after several years of using Windows, forgot how to navigate DOS and could no longer find my program.
On the basis of this 100% success rate, I strongly recommend inactivity as a solution to the Y2K problem. Any management worth its salt will take the hint. In the words of the old joke, Nothing acts faster than Anadin - so try Nothing.
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