Thought-Provoking Commentary for the Lawson Software Community
Even If You Can’t Reproduce It, It’s Still a Bug
September 9, 2009Posted by on
It’s one of my pet peeves. "We can’t enter it as a problem unless we can reproduce it."
Several months ago, a client recently asked me to research a journal entry that mysteriously appeared in their General Ledger. As part of my diagnosis, I determined a likely scenario: when an AR190 job goes into "needs recovery" (for the unindoctrinated, that’s Lawson’s way of saying "oops!") and the job is subsequently recovered, AR190 generates a seemingly-random journal entry. In this particular instance, an invoice adjustment that was originally entered and posted two years ago was being re-posted in the current period!
After reviewing some of the AR190 code, I figured out a likely cause, and opened a Lawson support case. After explaining what the issue was, the support rep says "yes, we have heard about that".
Incredulously, I asked "why haven’t you put out a critical notification" about it? There are huge, potential disastrous, ramifications for your clients, such as issuing erroneous financial statements, and potentially misleading shareholders. Here’s a portion of the case dialogue:
Lawson: Hi John. Do you know of an AR190 that would have failed, then was recovered, then completed fine during the month of August? From what I have found, this has happened at times when an AR190 fails and is recovered- re posting an apparent random adjustment from the past. A manual journal entry will need to be done to clear up the GL side.
Me: It does look like that is the case…there is an AR190 job that was recovered at that time/date… can you enter a PT for this?
Lawson: Hi John. We have not been able to duplicate the issue here, which is typically the first step in getting a PT written up. Please send in the exam log you are looking at. Thank you.
Me: P.S. This doesn’t give me (or the client) a warm-and-fuzzy about Lawson…I would suggest issuing a critical notification about this issue…it could easily go unnoticed and never be figured out…
Lawson: Hi John. At this point unfortunately we do no have a fix for this issue., so we would not have a the critical notification to put out right now.
Certainly a difficult case to diagnose, and an even harder one to duplicate. There are two problems/issues here: 1) duplicating forcing what was causing the job to go into “needs recovery”, and 2) determining the logic that posts an incorrect entry during the recovery process. While I was able to duplicate the latter by manually forcing the job into recovery, duplicating both issues was not possible. And this is not something the client—once they were aware to be on the lookout for potentially erroneous entries in the future—wanted to pay a consultant to do. Regardless, a software vendor, particularly one that produces financial software, bears some responsibility for notifying its clients of a potential defect, even without a potential fix.
An Update…the good news? In January 2010, Lawson released a set of patches along with the critical notification CPN_APPS900901_20100121, “Adjustment to General Ledger When Recovering AR190 Program”.