Posts Tagged ‘IT Management’

If you want to drive me completely bugfrak crazy, here’s what you do:

  1. Set me the task of fixing a system I know nothing about.
  2. Give me just enough time to analyze the system and get to the point where I juuuust barely understand it.
  3. Let me find the flaw in the system, and get an inkling of a solution.
  4. Take me off that task and set me on another.
  5. Repeat.

Do this enough times and I abso-effing-guarantee you I will go completely postal and do something rash. Like…I don’t know…make hum-bao from scratch. Or apply for a transfer to another group. (Trust me. In my case, that’s rash.)

I mean, seriously now, how hard is it to plan resources three weeks in advance?? (more…)

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A recent episode of “The Good Wife” made me laugh out loud. (In case you didn’t know, “The Good Wife” is not a comedy.)

In the episode, the management at a (rather ill-defined) software development firm referred to their staff as “artists.” Yes, that’s right; we were supposed to believe that this firm not only believed that the job I do–variously titled Programmer, Developer, Coder–is highly creative in nature, but that this firm also chose to encourage that by building an atmosphere that was conducive to the artistic temperament.

It’s not that software development isn’t creative. It is.

I spend my day solving problems. As a software developer, you bring me a problem and I create a solution for it. That’s it in a nutshell. I create a solution. Oh, sure, there’s a bunch of other bushwa in there, like translating your problem from Business-talk into Tech-speak, like translating it from Tech-speak into something a machine will understand, like trying to break the solution through testing, but the kernel of this job is highly creative in nature.

What I found laughable is the idea that corporate management would recognize this. Anywhere. (more…)

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Obey the Kitty!Sorry, but this is another of my rants against the Agile methodology.

The concept of “teams in the workplace” is a good one. I have worked in teams before, where we all knew what we were all doing and we all swapped roles as required. But Agile drives this down to the sub-floor and then keeps going, shedding all concept of organization and efficiency in its goal to push all functionality down to the “team” level. This idea that “all decisions are made by everyone” takes egalitarianism to its ad absurdum point, and creates an atmosphere where you intelligent, capable, professional people are treated like 5-year olds at a picnic. What the hell is wrong with delegation? Why is even the hint of a hierarchical structure so antithetical to “team”? Don’t real teams have coaches?

Here’s the deal. Someone “on high” has decided that we (our team) needs to have a quarterly plan and commit to what we can deliver in the coming quarter. (How they reconcile this with the concept that we only commit to what we can deliver one sprint at a time is beyond me, but hey, that’s senior management for you.) So, instead of delegating this task to a small group who have the best overall view of what needs to be done and how all the pieces fit on a macro scale, they’ve decided that we all have to travel to corporate headquarters for an all-day, face-to-face meeting, so that we can all agree on all decisions. So now, instead of just wasting the time of say, five people for a day each, we’re going to waste the time of 20 people for a day each, plus the family time lost by those of us who have to travel to CorpHQ, plus the expense of paying for that travel and putting people up overnight (since the all-day session starts at—get this—7AM).

All so we can all feel good about our decisions.

Bollocks. This is just another example of management pushing their job down to the worker bee. Now, instead of management actually managing the resources and workloads, they push that task down to the teams. The teams now have to manage their resources and workloads, the teams now have the responsibility, and management can just sit there and prime their muzzle-loaders, preparing to take us down should we miss our goals.

Making each team member an active participant in every decision means duplicating effort and wasting resources. I have been a project and team leader in the past; I can do it, and I can do it well, but I prefer to be down in the weeds creating solutions to problems rather than higher up wrangling priorities and schedules.  But why should I be required to do both? Especially (and this is what really steams my clams) when we have people who are paid to do it! All those folks with “lead” and “manager” and “director” in their titles? Why aren’t they leading, managing, and directing?



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