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Hawkwing74
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Crazy Manangement Styles

Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:32 pm

Just a rant thread about work.

I'm sure others have difficult bosses as well.

1) QA defects - our VP got in a swivet that QA defects cost more money than if they are caught by unit testing! Every year, they try to reduce how many QA defects we can have. It's now down to 1 *ONE* per developer per year. So you don't have to be perfect, just almost perfect.

2) Old code issues - I support code which may be 16+ years old. A piece of code was buried 5 layers down from 2003. We promoted a change. When a new client went live, this code got hit. Because this client's data was slightly different in one particular field, their service would time out every time.

It was not found by dev. It was not found by QA. It was not found by regression/performance testing.
It could NOT be found by any of these because the database in question had c.10,000 records in QA environments and c.100,000,000 records in Production. Due to the larger count, the timeout issue happened in Production.

Issue was triaged and fixed. I told my boss the code was from 2003 and why it was not found by anyone. He told me "Old code is not an acceptable answer."

3) Ex Post Facto rules - a change to a program went live this weekend. My Director told me "Why did you add a data field to service ABC? We have a rule that we never add to that." We added things to it in every year before this one. The "rule" will be published soon but previously only existed in the ether.
 
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:40 pm

One more:

We have a workplace survey we are strongly encouraged to take once a year. IT tends to crap on the survey especially for 2 points -- "Red tape interferes with my day to day work" and "fear based culture".

Every year the employees report awful results for these 2 categories. Well, this year senior VP's came up with a new trick. if the employees are complaining, let them "fix" it.

So I got added to a "red tape reduction committee" which spent 6 months devising a form whereby processes can be changed. Of course, I had to do all my usual work too. Of course, just filling out a form won't make it happen. You need all the meetings and approvals too! So far, after 6 months of discussion, many meetings, Infopath form construction, trainings, we have processed 1 *uno* process change. TOTAL WASTE OF TIME.

It was clever how the SVP punished us for complaining on the survey though.

PS. In the 6 months we spent on reducing red tape, they added more red tape as they always do. A document which normally took 3 approvers now takes 6.
 
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Tue Oct 24, 2017 2:04 pm

I feel very fortunate to have a great boss who is not looking over my shoulder as I type this right now. Why would you think such a thing?
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Tue Oct 24, 2017 3:43 pm

Hawkwing74 wrote:
Just a rant thread about work.

I'm sure others have difficult bosses as well.

1) QA defects - our VP got in a swivet that QA defects cost more money than if they are caught by unit testing! Every year, they try to reduce how many QA defects we can have. It's now down to 1 *ONE* per developer per year. So you don't have to be perfect, just almost perfect.


Your VP is wrong. Part of the whole point of having a QA team is that you have people who are proficient at creating and executing test plans. Unit testing should obviously catch flagrant errors, but all he's doing is heaping a ton of unneeded stress on his developers.

2) Old code issues - I support code which may be 16+ years old. A piece of code was buried 5 layers down from 2003. We promoted a change. When a new client went live, this code got hit. Because this client's data was slightly different in one particular field, their service would time out every time.

It was not found by dev. It was not found by QA. It was not found by regression/performance testing.
It could NOT be found by any of these because the database in question had c.10,000 records in QA environments and c.100,000,000 records in Production. Due to the larger count, the timeout issue happened in Production.

Issue was triaged and fixed. I told my boss the code was from 2003 and why it was not found by anyone. He told me "Old code is not an acceptable answer."


Two things... one, your boss is an idiot and doesn't understand development. Stuff like this happens. You cannot be expected to know in advance how every piece of historical code is going to perform as environments change. So his response was really just his way of saying that he had nothing intelligent to add to the conversation.

That being said, the second thing... if your production environment holds ten thousand times as much data as your QA environment, that's a problem that ought to be addressed. Old code aside, you cannot hope to accurately gauge performance with that kind of difference. Whoever is in charge of QA needs to figure out a way to stand up a system that is more in line with production. Fully copying production may be a lot to ask - but the closer you can get the better.

3) Ex Post Facto rules - a change to a program went live this weekend. My Director told me "Why did you add a data field to service ABC? We have a rule that we never add to that." We added things to it in every year before this one. The "rule" will be published soon but previously only existed in the ether.


If it wasn't documented it wasn't a rule.
 
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:05 pm

I've worked at a lot of places over a 3+ decade career in software development, and there's no perfectly run development operation (or at least I haven't seen one). There are just varying degrees of dysfunctionality. The one described above is indeed pretty bad, but isn't at the bottom of the heap; at least you have unit tests and a QA department (even if management doesn't completely understand their purpose).
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:36 pm

cphite wrote:
Hawkwing74 wrote:
Just a rant thread about work.

I'm sure others have difficult bosses as well.

1) QA defects - our VP got in a swivet that QA defects cost more money than if they are caught by unit testing! Every year, they try to reduce how many QA defects we can have. It's now down to 1 *ONE* per developer per year. So you don't have to be perfect, just almost perfect.


Your VP is wrong. Part of the whole point of having a QA team is that you have people who are proficient at creating and executing test plans. Unit testing should obviously catch flagrant errors, but all he's doing is heaping a ton of unneeded stress on his developers.



But the later a bug is found the more it does cost. If unit testing catches it then you don't have to spend QA resources to catch it. QA resources cost, time, money, or both. If the bug is found before QA, that cost isn't expended, or can be expended on something else. The goal should always be to catch a bug as early in the development process as possible. The key is "as possible". Some bugs may not be able to be identified until QA. Saying the you can "only have one bug per year" is rather stupid.

cphite wrote:
Hawkwing74 wrote:
Just a rant thread about work.
2) Old code issues - I support code which may be 16+ years old. A piece of code was buried 5 layers down from 2003. We promoted a change. When a new client went live, this code got hit. Because this client's data was slightly different in one particular field, their service would time out every time.

It was not found by dev. It was not found by QA. It was not found by regression/performance testing.
It could NOT be found by any of these because the database in question had c.10,000 records in QA environments and c.100,000,000 records in Production. Due to the larger count, the timeout issue happened in Production.

Issue was triaged and fixed. I told my boss the code was from 2003 and why it was not found by anyone. He told me "Old code is not an acceptable answer."


Two things... one, your boss is an idiot and doesn't understand development. Stuff like this happens. You cannot be expected to know in advance how every piece of historical code is going to perform as environments change. So his response was really just his way of saying that he had nothing intelligent to add to the conversation.


Stuff like this does happen, however I agree with the statement "old code isn't an acceptable answer" because if it is acceptable, that means you a not testing old code, and are not addressing technical debt. See my next comment below.

cphite wrote:
That being said, the second thing... if your production environment holds ten thousand times as much data as your QA environment, that's a problem that ought to be addressed. Old code aside, you cannot hope to accurately gauge performance with that kind of difference. Whoever is in charge of QA needs to figure out a way to stand up a system that is more in line with production. Fully copying production may be a lot to ask - but the closer you can get the better.


The above is the acceptable answer, not "old code". Now, its the acceptable answer as to why the issue wasn't caught. The next question then becomes "how do we keep it from happening again.

3) Ex Post Facto rules - a change to a program went live this weekend. My Director told me "Why did you add a data field to service ABC? We have a rule that we never add to that." We added things to it in every year before this one. The "rule" will be published soon but previously only existed in the ether.


If it wasn't documented it wasn't a rule.


You won't get any arguement from me here....

--SS
 
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:21 pm

Image

I had a friend who once enjoyed this comic. Then he went to work for a defense contractor, and he had to stop reading the comic because it was making him cry.
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:36 pm

When I worked at a defense contractor I used to (anonymously) post the especially relevant ones on the door of the fridge in the break area. It was really scary how spot-on some of them were, but Adams supposedly got a lot of the ideas for the Dilbert strips from real-life reader submissions, so it should not come as a complete surprise.

I'm pretty sure one of my co-workers -- the one who actually had a Dilbert calendar at his desk, and a (mostly) undeserved reputation for having a bad attitude -- got blamed for the drive-by Dilbert fridge strips.
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:44 pm

I've also been on the receiving end of that shovel, but not while working for a defense contractor. For the majority of my career so far I've worked on very small teams. Sometimes I've been the only person on the team who has the background of an engineer. When I spoke up about it once I was told "Don't tell me what's not possible. Tell me what you need to get the job done."

I didn't need anything, but apparently they needed a few more of me.
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:02 pm

Redocbew wrote:
Sometimes I've been the only person on the team who has the background of an engineer. When I spoke up about it once I was told "Don't tell me what's not possible. Tell me what you need to get the job done."

That's usually around the time where the engineer replies "Very well, then I need a $100k budget increase and five unicorn hooves pickled in the tears of our customers," which usually results in reduce engineering input to future projects. And possibly a formal reprimand.
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:54 pm

ludi wrote:
Redocbew wrote:
Sometimes I've been the only person on the team who has the background of an engineer. When I spoke up about it once I was told "Don't tell me what's not possible. Tell me what you need to get the job done."

That's usually around the time where the engineer replies "Very well, then I need a $100k budget increase and five unicorn hooves pickled in the tears of our customers," which usually results in reduce engineering input to future projects. And possibly a formal reprimand.


This is one of those quotes that depends entirely on the context to be good or bad. I've been in situations where such a response would have been wonderful to hear and would have meant that there was true commitment to getting a project done and view as motivation to look at problems, not a roadblocks, but as opportunities to solve hard problems in cool ways.

I've also been in situations where the first part was the truth and the second part was fluff.

I've actually used a statement that is related. Don't complain about a problem unless you are offering solutions too.
 
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:58 pm

ludi wrote:
Image

I had a friend who once enjoyed this comic. Then he went to work for a defense contractor, and he had to stop reading the comic because it was making him cry.


I left my position a couple of companies ago because I went from finding Dilbert funny, with the occasional comic that hit a bit close to home, to describing my daily work life. For a long time, I would hang up particularly pointed strips outside my cube. I worked with a bunch of folks who had been in defense, telecom, and semiconductor industries and many of them we recognized from prior jobs. I finally had to stop, and then take them down because way, way too many of them started to represent our work environment and it started to feel a bit uncomfortable.

--SS
 
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:03 pm

Redocbew wrote:
I've also been on the receiving end of that shovel, but not while working for a defense contractor. For the majority of my career so far I've worked on very small teams. Sometimes I've been the only person on the team who has the background of an engineer. When I spoke up about it once I was told "Don't tell me what's not possible. Tell me what you need to get the job done."

I didn't need anything, but apparently they needed a few more of me.

Small teams are rough. You end up wearing a lot of different "hats" because stuff has to get done. The lead designer and various developers become QA because there are no QA people and you just don't understand the scope of how many bugs there are to suss out. This summer (really going back all the way to April) I had to put my regular project on hold entirely so I could learn about and create a few dozen SSIS packages for different clients, and it's only just now starting to return to normal. But I'd rather do stuff like that than get lost on a large team. Or at least I tell myself that. :lol:
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:20 pm

Redocbew wrote:
I've also been on the receiving end of that shovel, but not while working for a defense contractor. For the majority of my career so far I've worked on very small teams. Sometimes I've been the only person on the team who has the background of an engineer. When I spoke up about it once I was told "Don't tell me what's not possible. Tell me what you need to get the job done."

I didn't need anything, but apparently they needed a few more of me.

I've experienced a variation of that, except it was delivered in blunter terms. After being told we had a month to do what we had estimated would take the whole team 3 months working overtime and assuming no interruptions (there were ALWAYS interruptions), engineering pushed back. One of the higher-ups lost his temper. I believe the line was: "You can't prove this is impossible. I want to see dead engineers on the floor before we blow this date!"

It took 3 months, and nearly did kill at least one of the engineers. I was working 16+ hour days and most weekends for most of those 3 months (I typically went home around midnight or a little after to sleep for a few hours, take a shower, and come back to work). In the end it was a thankless task because -- in spite of having some pretty cool engineering in parts of it -- the product basically sucked. That project was the beginning of the end for me at that job. I hung around for a couple more years, but flat out refused to put in more than a 40 hour week after that. A subsequent merger (and transition to an IT department straight out of Dilbert that seemed to delight in wrecking productivity) was the signal to me that it was finally time to pull the eject lever.
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:27 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
Small teams are rough. You end up wearing a lot of different "hats" because stuff has to get done.

"Wearing a lot of hats" can end up being fun and/or interesting. Although I'm a software guy, I'm not afraid to "get my hands dirty" with the hardware. At past jobs I've ended up pitching in on the hardware side on occasion -- debugging PCBs, troubleshooting signal integrity problems with custom cables, etc., even some fairly involved FPGA design. Sure, a person with more experience in those areas could've probably done those things faster, but if the hardware group is short handed and there's critical-path stuff that threatens to delay a project, I'm not afraid to volunteer for stuff that might take me a little outside my comfort zone. I can work a 'scope or logic analyzer and read a schematic; sometimes that meant I was the only person who could tackle some of those tasks who wasn't already completely overloaded.
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:30 pm

just brew it! wrote:
I've experienced a variation of that, except it was delivered in blunter terms. After being told we had a month to do what we had estimated would take the whole team 3 months working overtime and assuming no interruptions (there were ALWAYS interruptions), engineering pushed back. One of the higher-ups lost his temper. I believe the line was: "You can't prove this is impossible. I want to see dead engineers on the floor before we blow this date!"


Stuff like that is one of the reasons I almost always have an exit plan. Comes from spending five years doing the contracting and consulting gig, that and having the position I was hired out of college for disappear before I started it -- defense contractor, positon was cut while I was siting on the bench waiting for my clearance to finish.

There are not a whole lot of things that would cause me to quite on the spot, but a comment like that probably would. Ugh...

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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:37 pm

SecretSquirrel wrote:
There are not a whole lot of things that would cause me to quite on the spot, but a comment like that probably would. Ugh...

I actually threatened to. We had a trip planned (not a long one, just a few days). Flights already booked, etc. After the "dead engineers on the floor" comment we were also told that all time off was canceled until the project was done. I drew the line, and went on the trip anyway.
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:39 pm

just brew it! wrote:
"Wearing a lot of hats" can end up being fun and/or interesting. Although I'm a software guy, I'm not afraid to "get my hands dirty" with the hardware. At past jobs I've ended up pitching in on the hardware side on occasion -- debugging PCBs, troubleshooting signal integrity problems with custom cables, etc., even some fairly involved FPGA design. Sure, a person with more experience in those areas could've probably done those things faster, but if the hardware group is short handed and there's critical-path stuff that threatens to delay a project, I'm not afraid to volunteer for stuff that might take me a little outside my comfort zone.

Oh for sure it's fun. It's how I landed a development job with zero formal CS training (unless you count my Pascal class in high school) and zero professional programming experience. I saw tech that I thought was neat and absorbed everything I could about it. I started in that project in August of 2015. The guy who was running it had to go back to his team in November and I took his spot. From zero to "lead" (if there is such a thing in a one-man project with a designated but untrained backup) in 3 months.

That's why my writing tenure at TR was short - to accept my new job, I would have be exclusive to the company. I was allowed to give 30 days heads-up.
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:53 pm

SecretSquirrel wrote:
This is one of those quotes that depends entirely on the context to be good or bad.


In my case it was not so good. I wasn't being given a blank check for whatever I needed. I was being told, "You're on your own. Figure it out". I had always found a way up until then, and my constant griping about the poor state of the application had not helped to endear me to the management. As JBI said, despite the time and effort that had gone into it this one was also in pretty bad shape. There wasn't anything I couldn't fix myself, but doing so was going to be a long, drawn out, and painful process for everyone involved. I'm usually not one to just bail on a project when things go bad, but I should have left that job a lot sooner than I did.
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:30 pm

Redocbew wrote:
I'm usually not one to just bail on a project when things go bad, but I should have left that job a lot sooner than I did.

I stuck the "project from hell" out to the bitter end mostly due to a sense of loyalty to my co-workers on the project, some of whom I'd worked with for years (at that job and/or prior jobs) and considered to be friends. Plus, with the crazy hours everyone was expected to put in there really wasn't any time to do a decent job search. In the lull (relatively speaking) that followed the declaration of victory which ended that project, I started a low-level job hunt, and kicked it into high gear after the business unit got sold and things took a turn for the worse.

None of the people who worked on that project are still employed there (go figure). All of them have either retired or moved on to greener (and presumably less stressful) pastures.
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:14 am

I've thankfully worked for pretty good companies, albeit only two jobs so small sample size. They have their dysfunctions, but mostly at the upper-management level and it only occasionally rolls downhill. I'd be curious to know how many of the project-from-hell horror stories are dated before 2006 or so, because I've gathered from talking to various companies and their employees--and observing general job-market rumors--that a lot of the major players started cleaning up their acts in the mid 2000s due to mass burnout and difficulty retaining good employees.
 
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:13 am

With regards to sh*t running downhill, there are three kinds of managers: BS filters, BS amplifiers, and BS generators. If your immediate supervisor is the first type, you can survive the other two types further up the chain of command... for a while at least. If you lose the buffer things can start to get rough.
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:30 am

Hawkwing74 wrote:
2) Old code issues - I support code which may be 16+ years old. A piece of code was buried 5 layers down from 2003. We promoted a change. When a new client went live, this code got hit. Because this client's data was slightly different in one particular field, their service would time out every time.

It was not found by dev. It was not found by QA. It was not found by regression/performance testing.
It could NOT be found by any of these because the database in question had c.10,000 records in QA environments and c.100,000,000 records in Production. Due to the larger count, the timeout issue happened in Production.

Issue was triaged and fixed. I told my boss the code was from 2003 and why it was not found by anyone. He told me "Old code is not an acceptable answer."

Are you sure your boss did not write it?
 
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:43 am

cphite wrote:

Your VP is wrong. Part of the whole point of having a QA team is that you have people who are proficient at creating and executing test plans. Unit testing should obviously catch flagrant errors, but all he's doing is heaping a ton of unneeded stress on his developers.
Of course I agree 100%. Among many possible things, it's the most depressing on morale for the team leads.

cphite wrote:

Two things... one, your boss is an idiot and doesn't understand development.
He's actually very smart, just completely unreasonable. He used to be a developer so he should know better.

cphite wrote:

That being said, the second thing... if your production environment holds ten thousand times as much data as your QA environment, that's a problem that ought to be addressed.
They won't spend 10's of millions to make this work. It's been brought up before.
 
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:45 am

just brew it! wrote:
One of the higher-ups lost his temper. I believe the line was: "You can't prove this is impossible. I want to see dead engineers on the floor before we blow this date!"

O. M. G. Psychopaths rising to the top in big corporate.

Arvald wrote:
Are you sure your boss did not write it?

He was a dev on another team which interacts with us. He wasn't a dev on our team.
Last edited by Hawkwing74 on Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:48 am

just brew it! wrote:
With regards to sh*t running downhill, there are three kinds of managers: BS filters, BS amplifiers, and BS generators. If your immediate supervisor is the first type, you can survive the other two types further up the chain of command... for a while at least. If you lose the buffer things can start to get rough.

I like that. I'm totally stealing it!

Reminds me what my boss says. "People don't quit their jobs, they quit bad managers." That's not always true, but I feel it's applicable for this thread.

cphite wrote:

That being said, the second thing... if your production environment holds ten thousand times as much data as your QA environment, that's a problem that ought to be addressed.
They won't spend 10's of millions to make this work. It's been brought up before.


From a pure risk management perspective it's the right decision. The cost of the control is far greater than the potential loss of business if it's only been a problem once.
 
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:55 am

Hawkwing74 wrote:
O. M. G. Psychopaths rising to the top in big corporate.

Having a sociopathic/psychopathic streak may even increase your odds of rising to the top because you don't care about the people you step on or throw under the bus on your way up.
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Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:58 am

SecretSquirrel wrote:
just brew it! wrote:
I've experienced a variation of that, except it was delivered in blunter terms. After being told we had a month to do what we had estimated would take the whole team 3 months working overtime and assuming no interruptions (there were ALWAYS interruptions), engineering pushed back. One of the higher-ups lost his temper. I believe the line was: "You can't prove this is impossible. I want to see dead engineers on the floor before we blow this date!"


Stuff like that is one of the reasons I almost always have an exit plan. Comes from spending five years doing the contracting and consulting gig, that and having the position I was hired out of college for disappear before I started it -- defense contractor, positon was cut while I was siting on the bench waiting for my clearance to finish.

There are not a whole lot of things that would cause me to quite on the spot, but a comment like that probably would. Ugh...

--SS


Ok, the forum system ate my original post, but it pretty much follows from what you've posted, so here it is:

I was the Tier 3 Customer support lead for our company- basically same role as our Consulting Services, except each customer engagement was limited to 8 hours, and the work was paid for by the standard support contract. I had a customer that wanted significant customization to our software, and didn't want to pay the 60+ hours of our Services fees it would take to complete, so they tried to give me a bunch of small tasks to chain together. I went to my boss (head of Service and Support groups) to ask how to handle it as the customer was trying to game our system to get free work. He told me: "Do what it takes, but don't knock yourself out." That was a serious Dilbert-esque moment for me.

I ended up talking the customer into whittling their list down to about 20 hours worth of work and doing that. Eventually I left the support team and joined Services, as I figured if I was going to do the same work, I should get the higher pay rate and bonuses that went with it.
 
tanker27
Gerbil Khan
Posts: 9142
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:22 am

Hey Hawking it could be worse, you could be working in sweatsh......err....Agile Development! Welcome to my world.

And oh BTW I am the ONLY FTE person on my agile team which is good and bad.

The Good:

Everything flows through me. They can't check in code without my peer review and I actually have to do the checking-in in TFS.
I also wear the Administrator Hat
I am also a Developer

The bad:
Everything flows through me. They can't check in code without my peer review and I actually have to do the checking-in in TFS.
i have to Peer review EVERYTHING!
I also wear the Administrator Hat
I am also a Developer, so I have my own work to do!
(\_/)
(O.o)
(''')(''')
Watch out for evil Terra-Tron; He Does not like you!
 
Hawkwing74
Silver subscriber
His Holy Gerbilness
Topic Author
Posts: 13961
Joined: Wed Aug 20, 2003 5:51 pm
Location: Streamwood, IL

Re: Crazy Manangement Styles

Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:30 am

tanker27 wrote:
Hey Hawking it could be worse, you could be working in sweatsh......err....Agile Development! Welcome to my world.
They are talking about bringing AGILE here. They hired some big shot to look at that. We are an extremely controlled environment so I don't know what they are smoking here. If they instead cut the fluff paperwork that is meaningless, productivity could increase.

No one reads this crap unless there is a paperwork audit. It often adds no value to quality or anything else.

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