A sampling of suck



  • Long time lurker, first time poster...  I'll make a clever avatar soon.

    I've got 20+ years of software QA under my belt in a wide variety of industries.  Currently, I'm consulting at a large insurance company as a low-level manager (BA/QA lead).  After 2 weeks at this client, I thought I might be in trouble.  After 4 months, I'm sure of it. 

    While here, I've kept a running log of examples that show the idiocy that surrounds me.   Here, I present a few for your enjoyment...

    1) Sticky Communication
    When I joined, my "peers" (urp...excuse me...I throw up a little bit each time I refer to them with that word) were finishing up a multi-week effort with the goal of improving communication.  The fruits of their effort were...a small label for each person to affix to their laptop that read, "Communication needed?  ( What? To whom? How? Who owns this? )"  The idea was that the label would remind people to communicate.  No comment on its effectiveness needed.

    2) Org. Shart
    As I said above, I'm a BA/QA lead.  I'm "over" 6 folks:  4 testers and 2 BAs.  However, since I'm just a consultant, they cannot "report" to me, so they all also report to a Resource Manager.  However, the BAs also report to an overall BA Manager, and the testers also report to *two* QA Managers.  However, since it is an agile team, they also take direction from the scrum master.  So, each person on my team "reports to" 4-5 different people.

    3) Accurate Estimation
    Overheard...
    Person A:  What is your expert estimation for this effort?
    Person B:  Hmmm...I think about 40 hours.
    Person A:  40 hours for the entire effort or 40 hours for each part of the effort?  Remember, there are 50 individual parts.
    Person B:  Hmmm...Good point.  I'm not sure...

    4) Stretch Goals
    I have an alarm setup daily at 1:55 PM.  It reminds me "Leave your desk!".  This is because my team has daily calisthenics at 2:00 PM.  The scrum master guides the overly enthusiastic analysts, developers, and testers in 5-10 minutes of stretching exercises.  We are the only team in the building that does this.  The stares from other non-team members is humiliating.  I'm nearly 40 years old and have to hide in a bathroom stall to avoid touching my toes in business-casual attire.

    5) Devolution
    When I joined, it was explained to me that the department was evolving from waterfall methodology to agile methodology.  Unfortunately, they decided to do this evolution during the biggest project effort (configuration and implementation of a huge 3rd party app) they've ever done.  Unfortunately, they didn't properly train any of the team members in the 3rd party app.  Unfortunately, they didn't properly train any of the team members in agile methodology.  Unfortunately, many of the team members (BAs, testers) are actually just business folks, with no IT background or skills, whatsoever.  Unfortunately, they partnered with a Very Large consulting company (not mine) to help with implementation and staffing, and who bring, "their own way" of doing things (which is neither waterfall nor agile).  Unfortunately, I work here.

    6) Motivation
    A few weeks ago, a representative from my consulting company had a meet-n-greet with my client-site boss (who also interviewed and hired me).  When the rep. asked my boss about me, she replied, "malaka has been setup to fail.  He is in a no-win situation.  I'd be shocked if he's not already looking for another job."



  • @malaka said:

    I have an alarm setup daily at 1:55 PM.  It reminds me "Leave your desk!".  This is because my team has daily calisthenics at 2:00 PM.  The scrum master guides the overly enthusiastic analysts, developers, and testers in 5-10 minutes of stretching exercises.  We are the only team in the building that does this.  The stares from other non-team members is humiliating.  I'm nearly 40 years old and have to hide in a bathroom stall to avoid touching my toes in business-casual attire.

    Do they also make you jump and scream?

    I'd rather debug regex-intensive Perl code than get involved in that kind of meetings.



  • 6 doesn't sound so much like idiocy as acknowledgement of it.  I'm pretty impressed by the low level of WTF, as my experience with insurance companies has been that they are completely bonkers (I've had to explain to an insurance customer that 2009 wasn't a leap year).



  • Yeah I'd say number 6 is a gem of refreshing honesty.

    The rest are pretty WTF.



  • @malaka said:

    Long time lurker, first time poster...  I'll make a clever avatar soon.

    <<snip>>

    4) Stretch Goals

    I have an alarm setup daily at 1:55 PM.  It reminds me "Leave your desk!".  This is because my team has daily calisthenics at 2:00 PM.  The scrum master guides the overly enthusiastic analysts, developers, and testers in 5-10 minutes of stretching exercises.  We are the only team in the building that does this.  The stares from other non-team members is humiliating.  I'm nearly 40 years old and have to hide in a bathroom stall to avoid touching my toes in business-casual attire.

    I like your subtitle.

    Say hi to Snoofle in the hallway.

     



  • @locallunatic said:

    6 doesn't sound so much like idiocy as acknowledgement of it.

    I disagree. In project management lingo, "being setup to fail" is usually doublespeak. It's the equivalent of "I wish I could do better but my boss won't allow it" coming from a car salesman. You fall for it the first time if you don't know better, but bottom line the message is: "get on with the program or get lost". In this case I would advise to get lost, but odds are that the dude's hourly rate is higher than with non-WTF clients, so it's a matter of priorities. The options are: put on the screensaver face and get paid by the hour or go work somewhere else. Fixing that place is not on the menu.



  • This post made me truly go WTF?!11?!!! I guess Russia still has a list of places to nuke. Send them the address of that company and ask them to append it to that list. Hell, let them put it on nr. 1.



  • "4) Stretch Goals
    I have an alarm setup daily at 1:55 PM. It reminds me "Leave your desk!". This is because my team has daily calisthenics at 2:00 PM. The scrum master guides the overly enthusiastic analysts, developers, and testers in 5-10 minutes of stretching exercises. We are the only team in the building that does this. The stares from other non-team members is humiliating. I'm nearly 40 years old and have to hide in a bathroom stall to avoid touching my toes in business-casual attire."

    He who tries to get me to do this gets told to see Figure One because I'm not doing stretching exercises with cold muscles, and not in the office either.

    Really. Stretching exercises are for cool-down when your muscles are warmed up and flexible/stretchable. Energetic stretch exercises when you aren't warmed up will eventually cause joint injuries. And the place for calisthenics is in an aerobics studio, not the office.



  • Wow, I'm amazed of the kind of crazy shit scrum masters would go through to compensate for their presence, enforcing some stupid shit to keep their jobs.



  • @ubersoldat said:

    Wow, I'm amazed of the kind of crazy shit scrum masters would go through to compensate for their presence ridiculous job description, enforcing some stupid shit to keep their jobs.

    FTFY



  • @Steve The Cynic said:

    He who tries to get me to do this gets told to see Figure One because I'm not doing stretching exercises with cold muscles, and not in the office either.

    Really. Stretching exercises are for cool-down when your muscles are warmed up and flexible/stretchable. Energetic stretch exercises when you aren't warmed up will eventually cause joint injuries.

    You need to check out the difference between static and dynamic stretching. Dynamic is what you do before exercise in order to clean out the cobwebs, and does not exceed your range of motion with cold muscles/tendons. Static stretching is what you do after a workout in order to extend your range of motion by extending the muscles/tendons while they are warm.



  • @Ronald said:


    Do they also make you jump and scream?

    Watching that video made me cringe, laugh, and sad.

    And, in case any of you need to get your blood flowing, here is our daily stretch cheetsheet:
    http://i.imgur.com/ooy5rtp.jpg

    @Locallunatic said:


    I'm pretty impressed by the low level of WTF, as my experience with insurance companies has been that they are completely bonkers

    I can't paint with such a broad brush.  This place has 40k employees.  From what I've seen and heard, other business and IT divisions within the company are decent places to work.  And, from what I've seen and heard, this division is not.

    @Locallunatic said:


    6 doesn't sound so much like idiocy as acknowledgement of it.

    @blakeyrat said:

    Yeah I'd say number 6 is a gem of refreshing honesty.

    @Ronald said:

    I disagree. In project management lingo, "being setup to fail" is usually doublespeak.

    A bit from column A, and a bit from column B.  My client-site boss is like Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde.  She is seemingly competent and wise one moment, but incompetent and foolish the next.  I think she sees the situation clearly but is a) powerless to do anything about it, and b) doesn't really care (she has said that she will finish her career here and has no aspirations to move on or up).  Dr. Jekyll is a smooth talker, too.  I originally turned down this job, but she convinced me to accept.  Although I mostly respect her, I am disappointed with her since I feel that she misled and/or lied to me regarding the reality of the team,  project, and job.  I beat myself up daily for not putting more stock in my initial thoughts and feelings.

    @Ronald said:


    In this case I would advise to get lost, but odds are that the dude's hourly rate is higher than with non-WTF clients, so it's a matter of priorities. The options are: put on the screensaver face and get paid by the hour or go work somewhere else. Fixing that place is not on the menu.

    This.  I'm actively trying to "get lost" now.  But, with a 3-week old boy at home, I'm wearing benefits handcuffs.  And you are correct, there is no "fixing this place".  They are too far gone.

    Due to many circumstances that are out of my control, I am powerless to produce quality work.  Initially, my greatest fear was that my work would be of such low quality they would be let go.  However, in time, my greatest fear evolved.  Now, I fear that my work will be of such low quality...but no one will notice.



  • @malaka said:

    Due to many circumstances that are out of my control, I am powerless to produce quality work.  Initially, my greatest fear was that my work would be of such low quality they would be let go.  However, in time, my greatest fear evolved.  Now, I fear that my work will be of such low quality...but no one will notice.

    Doing mediocre work but being there on time and being "part of the team" is how you will thrive in that type of organization.






    1. Do some open source work, or your own iphone app, or something, so that you can get a feeling of accomplishment and build up your portfolio.

    2. Once you have a good portfolio, go look for another job. They're out there and there a more of them than you realize.

    3. Go to some user group meetings in your area and really work hard to make connections.
      3.5) Call some consulting firms and arrange a lunch meeting with their recruiters. They'll be happy to talk to you. Even if you don't think consulting is the right way to go for you, the recruiters can hook you up with lots of full-time opportunities you'd otherwise not know about.

    4. The worst thing about being stuck in a dead-end job is that when you do finally decide to jump ship, all you have to talk about to your interviewer is your dead-end job. The less time you spend there the better.


      I've been there -- stuck at a place for 10 years because I thought that job security was more valuable than pursuing my career. I got lucky and was able to move on and I'm doing great now; but it's the one thing I regret most about my career. Don't make that mistake.


      And I'd REALLY work those consulting firm recruiters. If you find the right recruiters, you're gold. They know everyone who is hiring in the local market. They'd send you to a company looking for a full-time employee, just on the chance that you'd work out and later they can come (through you) and put some consultants into that company.



  • @DrPepper said:

    1) Do some open source work, or your own iphone app, or something, so that you can get a feeling of accomplishment and build up your portfolio.

    Wrong.


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