The IT Steering Committee



  • So it turns out the law firm I work for (as an "analyst" but really I'm Level 3 Support and muck around in proprietary apps that are only used by this company) has a committee of other (non-IT) managers that meet to determine the priority of IT tickets. Of course the problem is that everything is usually a priority, and when thing aren't they fall by the wayside and we have to constantly feel "Can I get an update on this?" requests from the users, without being able to tell them that other higher-priority things came up. This is because the IT department has been made into a subsidiary "consulting" company which provides services to the main company as well as other firms now, but the Committee is managers from the main company, not the consulting company (other than the big boss who is also an executive for the main company). So we basically have non-technical users deciding the priority of technical issues, but the priority changes all the time and after they determine the priority, later on they'll add more things to the list.



  • Iceberg, right ahead!



  • @eViLegion said:

    Iceberg, right ahead!



    The Committee has determined that this iceberg is low-priority. Maintaining course.



  • @lethalronin27 said:

    @eViLegion said:
    Iceberg, right ahead!



    The Committee has determined that this iceberg is low-priority. Maintaining course.
     

    After an emergency meeting, the Iceberg has been promoted to Priority 1. However at the last meeting, the addition of the project to install a video conferencing suite into the CIOs weekend home necessitated that the project to install lifeboats_v1.0 was placed on hold.



  • This sounds a lot like the SharePoint planning committee at my company (I accidentally got sent to one of their "meetings" by my boss a couple months back); needless to say, I am now not surprised why our SharePoint bears a striking resemblance to geocities quality design.



  • The Committee must look a lot like a steer caught in the headlights!



  • @rad131304 said:

    This sounds a lot like the SharePoint planning committee at my company (I accidentally got sent to one of their "meetings" by my boss a couple months back); needless to say, I am now not surprised why our SharePoint bears a striking resemblance to geocities quality design.

    At least you guys HAVE SharePoint.



  • @steenbergh said:

    @rad131304 said:

    This sounds a lot like the SharePoint planning committee at my company (I accidentally got sent to one of their "meetings" by my boss a couple months back); needless to say, I am now not surprised why our SharePoint bears a striking resemblance to geocities quality design.

    At least you guys HAVE SharePoint.

    You make having Shitpoint sound like some sort of ideal. It really isn't.


  • @PJH said:

    You make having Shitpoint sound like some sort of ideal. It really isn't.

    3 developers go into a job.; the steering committee says ‘Would you all like to use Sharepoint?’.

    The first says 'I’m not sure', the second says 'I’m not sure', and the third says 'Dear God no' and pulls a gun and blows his own brains out.



  •  So what's wrong with Sharepoint?



  • @dhromed said:

     So what's wrong with Sharepoint?

    1. Bloated
    2. slow
    3. only works 'properly' with IE
    4. requires Office to be installed to use some features
    5. the search leaves a lot to be desired - even a basic binary search of any uploaded documents might have been useful, but no...
    6. it's not actually good at anything it tries to do; mediocre at best. Blogging, Wiki, Messageboards - they all appear to be half-hearted implementations of stuff you can get elsewhere.



  • For a minute, I thought the OP was describing my first job after college in the mid-1980's.  That's how things were done before project accounting became popular.  Of course, things aren't much better:  now even salaried folks have to fill out time cards in order to do the project accounting, and non-technical idiots still determine priorities and deadlines.

    Re:  Sharepoint:  In my current gig we have that and Confluence.  Depending on the team and project, documentation (what little we generate) is stored either in Sharepoint, Confluence or on a networked share drive.  Nobody is driving the bus, so nobody knows where to find documentation so nobody ever reads it.  It's a lost cause.  I'm curious, anybody here ever work in a place with an organized, and useful knowledge sharing system that is actually used?  With the way employees and contractors are hired just-in-time and thrown away like used tissues a few months later, I find it very ironic that all these "knowledge management" systems are never used after being purchased and installed.  But of course, it's probably too much to ask the C-suiters to care about long-term health of the company.

     



  • @PJH said:

    You make having Shitpoint sound like some sort of ideal. It really isn't.
     

    SharePoint is simply a pile of carpentry tools.

    In the right hands, with the right planning and control, you can create useful things like chairs, tables - and even repurpose something to act as a crib for virgin offspring.

    In the wrong hands you'll get stools that people don't trust not to collapse, doors that don't close properly and splintery tables that are only suitable for photograph inclusion.

    And yet people believe it's magical work-better dust to sprinkle liberally.



  • @dhromed said:

    So what's wrong with Sharepoint?
     

    Pretty much what Paul said: it's trying to be all things to all men and doesn't excel at any of them. The "Discussion Boards" are a kind of forum without the admin tools you're used to - simple things like the ability to lock threads or create a private (mod-only) section concealed from public view are practically impossible without some convoluted workaround.

    If you - or any forum mod - gave those boards a go for a day you'd be fellating phpBB mumbling "all is forgiven" wetly.

    @jetcitywoman said:

    Depending on the team and project,
    documentation (what little we generate) is stored either in Sharepoint,
    Confluence or on a networked share drive.  Nobody is driving the bus, so nobody knows where to find documentation so nobody ever reads it.  It's a lost cause.

    There's your problem. Knowledge Management only works effectively when someone's actually managing it - someone's dedicated to the custodian of configuration management. In some organisations this is done well (read: asset management, stock control, logistics, matrix management) but only because the organisation's taken a serious viewpoint towards devoting some real effort and not the make-do-and-hope lets-get-by lax attitude that frustrates others and cost much more in the long run.

    The only real saving grace it provides is encouraging people into understanding the benefits of version control, centralised storage repos and examining their own business workflows. It's not a brilliant tool, but it opens the doors to better ones. From small acorns and all that.



  • @Zadkiel said:

    @lethalronin27 said:

    @eViLegion said:
    Iceberg, right ahead!



    The Committee has determined that this iceberg is low-priority. Maintaining course.
     

    After an emergency meeting, the Iceberg has been promoted to Priority 1. However at the last meeting, the addition of the project to install a video conferencing suite into the CIOs weekend home necessitated that the project to install lifeboats_v1.0 was placed on hold.

    Priority 1?! That means no one is working on it. Every other project is Priority Zero/Must DOs/CritSit. It will take months to get back to those useless P1 topics...

    ... I wish I was kidding. 75% of the projects proposed for 2013 are P0 projects and all the rest are P1. We have a five tier rating system but only use two of them.



  • @Ex-Navy Dude said:

    We have a five tier rating system but only use two of them.
     

    That's because a five-tier priority system is useless. You can't judge an issue with that kind of resolution.



  • @dhromed said:

    @Ex-Navy Dude said:

    We have a five tier rating system but only use two of them.
     

    That's because a five-tier priority system is useless. You can't judge an issue with that kind of resolution.

    Let's see...

    1. Do it immediately or we're dead
    2. Do it for the next milestone
    3. Fit into the next milestone if possible
    4. Can wait for a future milestone
    5. Probably never needed, but keep it around just in case

    That seems fairly reasonable. We have a four tier system, and the last two are basically combined.



  • We use a program called FootPrints for our helpdesk, but there's several WTFs I've noticed (you know, on top of the fact there's a committee of non-technical users that determine IT priorities, that we have our internal IT in an umbrella company, and the fact that our main application uses pseudocode in RTF DOCUMENTS instead of using Office Automation):

    1) Priority gets automatically assigned (no idea how).  Most everything is "High" priority but a few are Medium/Low; often the ones marked Medium/Low then are the first to get the "I need an update on this" and "Is this done yet???" kind of replies, when it's Low/Medium priority.

    2) We have a development ticket system and a helpdesk ticket system, and we (IT) do both.  The ticket automatically gets assigned to somebody based on the program the issue is with, so for instance one of our proprietary systems will automatically send any helpdesk tickets to me (despite me being Level 3 for support, so level 1 should look at it first and only kick it to me if it requires actual coding in the RTF docs to fix).  This means that a common issue because the app relies on a mapped network share (instead of using the regular path, it actually checks for the mapped letter) and can't find it gets sent to me, at which point I have to copy/paste from the Knowledgebase (because the users are supposed to look there first before submitting a ticket, but never do) and reply to it.  There's at least 3+ times a day that someone randomly gets this error because their mapped drive gets forgotten.  I was ecstatic the one day I had a user actually ask if they could save the batch script to remap the drives and run it if they got the error again.

    3) Tickets automatically get bumped to the top of the queue ("escalated" but not really escalation as it doesn't go to somebody else) if they aren't closed in 1 hour of receiving it.  This despite the fact we are internal IT (but a separate company), so we have SLAs for our own internal users. This also means that just updating a ticket with additional information will cause it to be flagged/escalated since it's not "closed".

     4) You can't be logged in to both the app issue tracker and the helpdesk at the same time (there's an option to toggle between them) so you have to watch for the automatic emails the helpdesk sends out to know fi you get a ticket, otherwise it just sits there.



  • @ObiWayneKenobi said:

    We use a program called FootPrints
    I'm sorry. We do as well, having been forceably moved away from Trac.



  • Honestly it's not THAT bad, but it feels very clunky (maybe because it's in Perl or some gawdawful thing).  The best bug/issue tracker I've ever seen was JetBrains YouTrack.  Now that was a nice bit of kit.

    I almost forgot another WTF: I have my own user account in Footprints and my classification, so some tickets get assigned to me directly and some get assigned just to my group.  This means that I can't see all my tickets by going under "My Assignments", which means some tickets get overlooked because I have to remember to look at the other section for my group. But I share said group with another developer, so I have to sort through what is his and what is mine.



  • @dhromed said:

    @Ex-Navy Dude said:

    We have a five tier rating system but only use two of them.
     

    That's because a five-tier priority system is useless. You can't judge an issue with that kind of resolution.

    We have a 37-tier priority system. We ran out of numbers, so we started using animals. "Hey Joe, can you help me with this llama?" "Are you kidding? I've got a tapir on my desk that if I don't have finished by the end of the day, the boss is gonna go ballistic!" "Damn, man, a tapir? Better get to it."



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    We have a 37-tier priority system. We ran out of numbers, so we started using animals. "Hey Joe, can you help me with this llama?" "Are you kidding? I've got a tapir on my desk that if I don't have finished by the end of the day, the boss is gonna go ballistic!" "Damn, man, a tapir? Better get to it."

    You used up all the numbers? ALL OF THEM?



  • @Ben L. said:

    @morbiuswilters said:
    We have a 37-tier priority system. We ran out of numbers, so we started using animals. "Hey Joe, can you help me with this llama?" "Are you kidding? I've got a tapir on my desk that if I don't have finished by the end of the day, the boss is gonna go ballistic!" "Damn, man, a tapir? Better get to it."

    You used up all the numbers? ALL OF THEM?

    Yes. Even the imaginary ones.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @Ben L. said:
    @morbiuswilters said:
    We have a 37-tier priority system. We ran out of numbers, so we started using animals. "Hey Joe, can you help me with this llama?" "Are you kidding? I've got a tapir on my desk that if I don't have finished by the end of the day, the boss is gonna go ballistic!" "Damn, man, a tapir? Better get to it."

    You used up all the numbers? ALL OF THEM?

    Yes. Even the imaginary ones.

    I would like to see a rating system (for anything) that used only unnamed irrational numbers.



  • @Ben L. said:

    @morbiuswilters said:
    @Ben L. said:
    @morbiuswilters said:
    We have a 37-tier priority system. We ran out of numbers, so we started using animals. "Hey Joe, can you help me with this llama?" "Are you kidding? I've got a tapir on my desk that if I don't have finished by the end of the day, the boss is gonna go ballistic!" "Damn, man, a tapir? Better get to it."

    You used up all the numbers? ALL OF THEM?

    Yes. Even the imaginary ones.

    I would like to see a rating system (for anything) that used only unnamed irrational numbers.

    Square root of 3, square root of 5..



  • @jetcitywoman said:

    useful knowledge sharing system
     

    SHUT YOUR GODDAMN FILTHY MOUTH! Shit! Why are you even risking letting that madness leak beyond its thread? 

    Why the fuck would you even utter its name? Way to recite the Necronomicron there.



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    SHUT YOUR GODDAMN FILTHY MOUTH!

    Do NOT talk to women that way.


    Women should only be spoken to using hoots and whistles, punctuated by the occasional, well-placed crotch grab.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    punctuated by the occasional, well-placed crotch grab.

    Yours or hers?



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    punctuated by the occasional, well-placed crotch grab.

    Yours or hers?

    TDWTF After Dark: For Adult Eyes Only



  •  To return to the OP...  Simple.. Stack Rank (sequential, not duplicates) and a KanBan board that all customers can SEE to view queue depth.

     One would be surprised how this simple visibility can be a driving force for significant change.



  • Bumping this because besides the additional WTFery it seems the non-technical committee also gets to dictate what the deadlines are without any input.  So to reiterate:

    * Our company is technically a spin-off company providing managed IT services back to the parent (owned by the same people) and others; not counting us the parent has no in-house IT anymore.
    * Users treat us like we're still their internal IT department, but we're not allowed to let them know we have other clients besides them.  In fact we have two email addresses (one from the parent company, one for the new one) and are supposed to only reply to the parent company using their own e-mail, so it looks like we're still their IT department (suppposed to have two signatures too for each company)
    * Non-technical managers (the committee) decide what IT works on, without IT having any say in the matter (seemingly)
    * Non-technical managers (the committee) decide the deadlines for the above projects, without IT having any say (seemingly)
    * In addition to this we do work for other clients and provide Level 3 Helpdesk to the parent company as though we were still internal IT

    Of course none of this was explained in the interview; it was explained as the IT department for the one company.  Nevermind the fact I thought I was being hired to be a business analyst and instead I just add code snippets to Word docs that an application reads to display the documents with data filled in, or use some god-awful XML-with-scripting tool (also in-house, by a dev who left and took the program to start his own company with the former IT Manager) that has its workflow 100% in SQL stored procedures and lookup tables.

    I mean, here's an example (trivialized ofc) of the code in the word doc that gets parsed by our in-house application; adding blocks like this is pretty much my entire day:

    {QUERY "EXEC SOME_STORED_PROC ':VALUE1:', ':VALUE2:'"}
    This is some text.  The field {SHOW FIELD_NAME} will be dynamically be parsed out and inserted.
    {IF SOME_FIELD = SOME_VALUE}This text will display{ELSE}This other text wil display{END}

    and the XML uses a similar but more verbose syntax along the lines of: {if(thevar)FIELD(equalto)VALUE(then)True value(else)False value(end)], with all of this backed by hundreds of data dump stored procedures.and (for the XML app) passing around values and scheduling jobs that call other tables and stored procs.



  • @ObiWayneKenobi said:

    Bumping this because besides the additional WTFery it seems the non-technical committee also gets to dictate what the deadlines are without any input.  So to reiterate:

    * Our company is technically a spin-off company providing managed IT services back to the parent (owned by the same people) and others; not counting us the parent has no in-house IT anymore.
    * Users treat us like we're still their internal IT department, but we're not allowed to let them know we have other clients besides them.  In fact we have two email addresses (one from the parent company, one for the new one) and are supposed to only reply to the parent company using their own e-mail, so it looks like we're still their IT department (suppposed to have two signatures too for each company)
    * Non-technical managers (the committee) decide what IT works on, without IT having any say in the matter (seemingly)
    * Non-technical managers (the committee) decide the deadlines for the above projects, without IT having any say (seemingly)
    * In addition to this we do work for other clients and provide Level 3 Helpdesk to the parent company as though we were still internal IT

    Of course none of this was explained in the interview; it was explained as the IT department for the one company.  Nevermind the fact I thought I was being hired to be a business analyst and instead I just add code snippets to Word docs that an application reads to display the documents with data filled in, or use some god-awful XML-with-scripting tool (also in-house, by a dev who left and took the program to start his own company with the former IT Manager) that has its workflow 100% in SQL stored procedures and lookup tables.

    I mean, here's an example (trivialized ofc) of the code in the word doc that gets parsed by our in-house application; adding blocks like this is pretty much my entire day:

    {QUERY "EXEC SOME_STORED_PROC ':VALUE1:', ':VALUE2:'"}
    This is some text.  The field {SHOW FIELD_NAME} will be dynamically be parsed out and inserted.
    {IF SOME_FIELD = SOME_VALUE}This text will display{ELSE}This other text wil display{END}

    and the XML uses a similar but more verbose syntax along the lines of: {if(thevar)FIELD(equalto)VALUE(then)True value(else)False value(end)], with all of this backed by hundreds of data dump stored procedures.and (for the XML app) passing around values and scheduling jobs that call other tables and stored procs.

    When the search/replace runs, does it open a Word instance and flash the updates in front of the user?



  • If it does, I certainly don't see it. It has some strange interface that I don't quite understand, but I'm an "expert" on it now I guess lol.


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