Management Email WTF



  •  We received a new directive from management yesterday.  Henceforth, when sending any work-related email to a coworker (no matter how inconsequential), we must now also CC their supervisor.  This includes messages such as "Thanks for the help yesterday" and all of the subsequent "No problem!" replies.  My boss already has two hours a day set aside as "do not disturb unless really necessary so I can catch up on my emails", which is never enough.

     I find this amusing because this directive arrived on the heels of another which stated that the volume of emails being routed around is excessive and needs to be reduced.  Our poor little Domino server already takes twenty minutes to deliver a short message.

     WTFery like this makes me picture the Margaritaville episode of South Park where the Treasury Department guys cut a chicken's head off and play a kazoo while the headless chicken runs around on a Wheel of Fortune-style board to determine policy.  TGIF.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Smitty said:

    Henceforth, when sending any work-related email to a coworker (no matter how inconsequential), we must now also CC their supervisor. 
    Now, taking that literally, since you're now sending a work-related email to the supervisor, you should really also be CCing their supervisor, and so-on up the hierarchy until you hit the top.



    With that in mind I suggest everyone find any excuse to send emails until this directive is modified.





    Was there any particular reason for this directive? (i.e. what problem is it trying, and failing abysmally, to solve?)



  • @PJH said:

    Was there any particular reason for this directive? (i.e. what problem is it trying, and failing abysmally, to solve?)
     

     Their stated purpose was that it would 'help them keep a finger on the pulse of the department', whatever the hell that means.

    There are six supervisors in this department and we've already managed to get a group of devs together in which each supervisor is represented.  We're going to start having long, pointless yet work-related email conversations with all six supervisors CC'd and see how long it takes until they reverse themselves.



  • @Smitty said:

    Our poor little Domino server already takes twenty minutes to deliver a short message.

    How many messages can you possibly be sending, or is Domino really as inefficient as I have been led to believe?

       --- Mr. DOS



  •  The mainframe dinosaurs alone send 50+ status messages about various systems (copying the entire department, another WTF story there) every morning between 8:00-8:30.  My boss gets around 500 emails a day; I'm assuming the other five supervisors suffer the same fate.  There are 800 people in the building, all spamming via the same poor Domino server.

    This is my first job out of college, so I've got no basis for comparison.  If this is a normal volume of email, then maybe Domino/Lotus Notes is the WTF here.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Smitty said:

    This is my first job out of college, so I've got no basis for comparison.
    Last job: 500+ people, I got around 10-15 work related emails per day during quiet periods going up to 50-70 towards project-ends.



    Current job - maybe about 100 employed; lucky if I see any more than 3 emails per day on average, though I do get occasional periods of ~50 when someone decides they've been somewhat lax in updating Sharepoint[1], but that's only because I subscribed myself to updates so I don't 'miss' anything.





    [1] The appropriateness of using an MS product for internal document storage etc, when all but one of the development staff use an OS that isn't MS, seems to have missed.



  • @Smitty said:

    maybe Domino/Lotus Notes is the WTF here.

    It is a huge source of WTFs.



    I still have 1 unread email in my lotus inbox, but there is no unread email there. Still, it says that there is.

    And wait till you get all the joys of the calender function. (SO glad that we are going to switch to Outlook, which also has it's share of problems, but way less)



  • If your supervisor sends you an email, does he have to CC himself?



  • @Daid said:

    And wait till you get all the joys of the calender function.
     

    I get to experience the joy of the Notes Calendar on a regular basis.  In order to book a meeting room, we have to go into Lotus and check the meeting room's calendar for availability, then send an email to the room to book it.  Sometimes it works, sometimes not.  Every now and then the room will send you a confirmation just to be nice.  Christ I hate Notes.

    As an additional WTF, we're using Notes 6.5 when the current version is up to like 9 or 10.  I was reading an article which stated that starting with Notes 7.0, IBM actually hired a UI design team.  Unfortunately for us management is way too tight-assed to upgrade, so we get to use the old designed-to-ruin-your-life UI. 



  • @spike_tt said:

    If your supervisor sends you an email, does he have to CC himself?
     

    No, but if another supervisor emails me they have to CC my boss.  I don't see this policy lasting long.



  • @Smitty said:

    @Daid said:

    And wait till you get all the joys of the calender function.

    As an additional WTF, we're using Notes 6.5 when the current version is up to like 9 or 10.  I was reading an article which stated that starting with Notes 7.0, IBM actually hired a UI design team.  Unfortunately for us management is way too tight-assed to upgrade, so we get to use the old designed-to-ruin-your-life UI. 

     

    The current version is 8.5.1. IBM started making a vague effort at thinking about real-world UI design principles during the development of the Eclipse-based version of 8.0. However, even in the 8.5 releases, the majority of the old UI problems persist when you really get down to actually doing something.

    Imagine a web page that has a slick modern navigation setup, but all the content is delivered through an iframe from some awful, horribly UI-deficient monstrosity from ten years ago. This is analogous to using Notes 8.5.



  • @Someone You Know said:

    Imagine a web page that has a slick modern navigation setup, but all the content is delivered through an iframe from some awful, horribly UI-deficient monstrosity from ten years ago. This is analogous to using Notes 8.5.

    So... most “enterprise-level” so-called web apps?

       --- Mr. DOS


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Smitty said:

    @spike_tt said:
    If your supervisor sends you an email, does he have to CC himself?

    No, but if another supervisor emails me they have to CC my boss I don't see this policy lasting long.
    From your previous answer, can we assume that is it the 'supervisors' who have instigated this policy? Or was it someone else higher up in the hierarcy?</ br>


    Assuming the former is the case, what happens if a supervisor, who isn't your supervisor, emails you and a collegue (with a different supervisor?)



    Basically, do your 'must CC $BOSS[them]' rules apply when $BOSS[them] starts an email chain to you? Does $BOSS[yours] get the mail?



    And another thing that just occured to me... You and $R have the same $BOSS. Are they required to be CC'd on mails between yourselves?



  •  Rather than trying to divine their specific intentions, we devs have decided to just CC the entire management team on all correspondence until they get sick of it and either repent their WTFery or come up with something worse.

     To get the ball rolling, we started an email conversation about the pros and cons of zero-based vs. one-based indexes, mixed with Monty Python and LotR references.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Smitty said:

    To get the ball rolling, we started an email conversation about the pros and cons of zero-based vs. one-based indexes, mixed with Monty Python and LotR references.
    Any chance of of a C&P of the email concerned?



    With updates?



    Suitably anonymised of course. Or not as the case may be....



  • @Smitty said:

    This is my first job out of college, so I've got no basis for comparison.  If this is a normal volume of email, then maybe Domino/Lotus Notes is the WTF here.
     

    I can guarantee that. Regardless of the volume of email.



  • @Smitty said:

    Their stated purpose was that it would 'help them keep a finger on the pulse of the department', whatever the hell that means.

    I think they could do better. There's not enough micromanagement. Every modified line of code should be signed off by at least 2 managers! And be specified in 2 requirement documents. How can they know what's going on otherwise?



  • @viraptor said:

    Every modified line of code should be signed off by at least 2 managers!
     

    Funny you should mention that.  Every single time we modify anything, including something as simple as fixing a typo on a web page, we have to create a TFS work item detailing the change.  Then we check in the modification, copy/paste the work item text into the check-in notes and associate the work item with the check-in.  Then we create a migration form (5 printed pages because it's a template shared with the mainframe dinosaurs) containing the changeset number, the text from the aforementioned work item/check-in, and the files modified (about 1/4 page of content).  Then we collect signatures from a business analyst, their boss, a tester, their boss, ourselves and our boss.

    Then we create a change request record in Peregrine (15-minute process; any of you who know Peregrine, I feel your pain) which has to be approved by our boss and the availability team in Los Angeles (who are not devs and often call us for clarification).

    All of this is done because Auditing has decreed that it be so, and woe unto he who angers an auditor.



  • @Mr. DOS said:

    is Domino really as inefficient as I have been led to believe?
    This is all from memory. (I worked nights) Time frame shouldn't be any more than 15% off.

    06:30 Get call about issue with contents of an email, ask them to forward it too me
    06:45 User gets tired of waiting for me to recieve email so I end the call (I collected as much data as I could)
    06:55 I recieve the email and begin opening it.
    07:05 The email opens and I begin opening the attachment
    07:25 The attachment is now open and I don't have time to deal with the issue I ask a day person if he can take care of the issue.
    07:30 I click the forward button
    08:30 I am now in a screen that can forward the email
    08:45 The email finally begins forwarding
    09:00 I go to sleep
    18:00 I wake up
    18:10 I shower
    18:30 I eat breakfast
    19:00 I recieve a PM that he has just recieve the email and has started opening it.
    


  •  Our company got acquired by a French company that uses Lotus Notes for email. If they ever roll it out in our office, I'm going to have to resign and find somewhere else to work-- yes, I hate it that much. (I had to support it for 4 years at a different unrelated company.)

     My firm belief is that there is no such thing as a agile, progressive Internet company that uses Lotus Notes for email. I simply don't think the "let's make cool, usable apps quickly" mindset can even co-exist in the same company that's perfectly OK with Lotus Notes/Domino as an email solution.



  • @Smitty said:

    All of this is done because Auditing has decreed that it be so, and woe unto he who angers an auditor.
     

    Just to be clear: Do you do any actual work there, or do you just have to fill some forms all the day and noone bothers you then? How's that migration from Win 3.11 going? and How much work do you do for government / military? (I can't imagine anyone doing this in a "normal" company)



  • @viraptor said:

    Just to be clear: Do you do any actual work there, or do you just have to fill some forms all the day and noone bothers you then? How's that migration from Win 3.11 going? and How much work do you do for government / military? (I can't imagine anyone doing this in a "normal" company)
     

    I work for a major insurance company.  Lucky for me I've been here for 4 years now, so I generally work on months-long projects with minor stuff thrown in every few weeks.  The newbies get stuck with quick changes and thus have to suffer the previously described process every week.

    My plan is to stay here long enough to pay off my substantial student loans (we get great profit-sharing payouts) and then get the hell out.  I mentioned before that this is my first job out of college.  I want to work in an actual software shop rather than insurance IT.  I hope I haven't been completely corrupted by the bureaucratic dinosaurs surrounding me.



  • @Lingerance said:

    @Mr. DOS said:
    is Domino really as inefficient as I have been led to believe?
    This is all from memory. (I worked nights) Time frame shouldn't be any more than 15% off.

    06:30 Get call about issue with contents of an email, ask them to forward it too me
    [snip]
    19:00 I recieve a PM that he has just recieve the email and has started opening it.

     

    So... I assume you work for a company with widely geographically distributed employees?  Otherwise, this seems to be a case where sneakernet would dominate.



  • @Smitty said:

    @spike_tt said:

    If your supervisor sends you an email, does he have to CC himself?
     

    No, but if another supervisor emails me they have to CC my boss.  I don't see this policy lasting long.

     

     

    Been there done that... and survived. In all likelyhood it won't last long. It only takes a few missed CCs to realise that manually CC'ing is fail. And once they drown in a mountain of email they'll eventually ask you all to stop doing it.

    Life is like Dilbert.



  • @North Bus said:

    So... I assume you work for a company with widely geographically distributed employees?  Otherwise, this seems to be a case where sneakernet would dominate.

    I was remoting from home, he was in the office, we're in cities close enough that some people actually consider my city to be a sub-division of the other one. The email had a fairly large attachment (17MB IIRC) and it had to go through the VPN that goes through my 100kbps upstream pipe, so that was part of the issue. Preferably though the client could've trainned their employees on how to make one-page word documents that are not larger than 10MB.



  • @Smitty said:

    As an additional WTF, we're using Notes 6.5 when the current version is up to like 9 or 10.  I was reading an article which stated that starting with Notes 7.0, IBM actually hired a UI design team.  Unfortunately for us management is way too tight-assed to upgrade, so we get to use the old designed-to-ruin-your-life UI. 

     place I work is on 6.5 too...we also use office 2000 despite the fact that excel is probably the company's most business critical application.



  • @bullrider718 said:

     place I work is on 6.5 too...we also use office 2000 despite exactly because of the fact that excel is probably the company's most business critical application and the PoS master control system written by a junior assistant accountant intern won't "work" in any other version.



  • @Smitty said:

    @viraptor said:

    Every modified line of code should be signed off by at least 2 managers!
     

    Funny you should mention that.  Every single time we modify anything, including something as simple as fixing a typo on a web page, we have to create a TFS work item detailing the change.  Then we check in the modification, copy/paste the work item text into the check-in notes and associate the work item with the check-in.  Then we create a migration form (5 printed pages because it's a template shared with the mainframe dinosaurs) containing the changeset number, the text from the aforementioned work item/check-in, and the files modified (about 1/4 page of content).  Then we collect signatures from a business analyst, their boss, a tester, their boss, ourselves and our boss.

    Then we create a change request record in Peregrine (15-minute process; any of you who know Peregrine, I feel your pain) which has to be approved by our boss and the availability team in Los Angeles (who are not devs and often call us for clarification).

     

    And make sure you use the new cover page on the TPS reports!!!

     



  • There's a good chance they may be looking for a reason to fire somebody...it may not be the case if everybody is required though.  Anyhow, I've been in that situation before and promptly up and quit as soon as I relaized what was going on.



  •  That is such a classic example of quadrant 1 management. Or, to phrase it another way, "I don't trust the staff who report to me so I want to se everything they do."

     As a related question, though, why do the staff have to CC the recipients' supervisors? That seems like a good thing to automate. 

     

    B



  • @PJH said:

    [1] The appropriateness of using an MS product for internal document storage etc, when all but one of the development staff use an OS that isn't MS, seems to have missed.
    Can you clarify this a bit for me? I'm currently looking into Sharepoint services, MOSS and Sharepoint 2010 and I'm interested to know what kind of limitations you've experienced.

    As far as I know, Sharepoint exposes it's documents libraries over WebDAV, notifies via e-mail and is managed over HTTP... none of which requires Windows. On the other hand, using MOSS in a non-MS environment would be a huge WTF.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @bjolling said:

    @PJH said:

    [1] The appropriateness of using an MS product for internal document storage etc, when all but one of the development staff use an OS that isn't MS, seems to have missed.
    Can you clarify this a bit for me? I'm currently looking into Sharepoint services, MOSS and Sharepoint 2010 and I'm interested to know what kind of limitations you've experienced.

    As far as I know, Sharepoint exposes it's documents libraries over WebDAV, notifies via e-mail and is managed over HTTP... none of which requires Windows.
    Documents that can be edited 'in-place' as it were within a web browser only works (AIUI) if

    • That browser is MSIE
    • The OS has some variant of Office installed for the widgets needed to run in MSIE to enable that functionality

    As a result, none of us can do stuff like add our holidays to the calendar that someone's set up on there (it's a spreadsheed FFS! Or it certainly looks like one. Isn't there any sort of calendar? Or is this just whoever's set it up?) since there doesn't appear to be an actual file to download, edit, and upload. If there is a method, it's not at all obvious.


    As an aside, I'm not too impressed with the navigation (though that might be a problem with whoever set it up to begin with,) and the search function leaves a lot to be desired. Like returning relevant results.

    Document revision appears to be somewhat lacking/non-intuative as well.
    On the other hand, using MOSS in a non-MS environment would be a huge WTF.

    It's just the developers that are largely non-MS. Everyone else just uses what they're given. Which is MS.

    As a result, /we/ end up using Trac, and only deal with Sharepoint on an as-needed basis. With "need" tending towards zero.


  • @PJH said:

    Documents that can be edited 'in-place' as it were within a web browser only works (AIUI) if

    • That browser is MSIE
    • The OS has some variant of Office installed for the widgets needed to run in MSIE to enable that functionality


    As a result, none of us can do stuff like add our holidays to the calendar that someone's set up on there (it's a spreadsheed FFS! Or it certainly looks like one. Isn't there any sort of calendar? Or is this just whoever's set it up?) since there doesn't appear to be an actual file to download, edit, and upload. If there is a method, it's not at all obvious.

    Is it this "Event List" you are using? I don't think WSS3 offers something better. But I'm no specialist (yet)

    Navigation is indeed horrible. It's improved in MOSS 2007 but like I said, that would be of little use if you don't use Microsoft Office


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @bjolling said:

    Is it this "Event List" you are using?
    No. I have this to contend with:



    sharepoint,wtf



    May I draw your attention to the scrolls bars on this window?



  •  Definitely a WTF, but not Sharepoint's fault. Sharepoint has a normal calendar control, which can be edited on the web with no helper apps. Whatever idiot set up your site just isn't using it.



  • This is a non-standard use of sharepoint calendars.



    This is one of the standard sharepoint calendar views:




    Note the drop-down in the upper-right corner allowing you to switch to list view.



  • @bannedfromcoding said:

    @bullrider718 said:

     place I work is on 6.5 too...we also use office 2000 despite exactly because of the fact that excel is probably the company's most business critical application and the PoS master control system written by a junior assistant accountant intern won't "work" in any other version.

    Pretty close actually..rumor has it that it's one vb6 plug-in used by a total of about 5 people.



  • Our huge Domino servers at work do pretty well... I get about 10-15 emails a day on average and emails generally are pretty instant.

    Oh shi-- I'm no longer a lurker...



  • @Mr. DOS said:

    @Smitty said:

    Our poor little Domino server already takes twenty minutes to deliver a short message.

    How many messages can you possibly be sending, or is Domino really as inefficient as I have been led to believe?

       --- Mr. DOS

    Yes. Yes it is. It is horrible. It both sucks and blows at the same time. It is TRWTF.



  • @Daid said:

    (SO glad that we are going to switch to Outlook, which also has it's share of problems, but way less)

    My jealousy of your pending switch from Notes to Outlook is absolutely RAGING inside me. GRRRRRRR!!! (and congrats!).



  • @viraptor said:

    @Smitty said:

    All of this is done because Auditing has decreed that it be so, and woe unto he who angers an auditor.
     

    Just to be clear: Do you do any actual work there, or do you just have to fill some forms all the day and noone bothers you then? How's that migration from Win 3.11 going? and How much work do you do for government / military? (I can't imagine anyone doing this in a "normal" company)

    Viraptor: You don't know me from a sack of hot apples, but I can vouch for Smitty's veracity. I just pasted his post in an email to 2 coworkers commenting on how eerily familiar it sounds. I work for a "normal" company (large financial institution...very conservative...). I swear that they've got Mr. Garrison's twin brother in charge of IT policy development: "Change is bad..mmmm'kay? So don't do change."

     



  • @SQLDave said:

    I work for a "normal" company (large financial institution...very conservative...)

    Large financial institutions are, by definition, not normal.  That having been said, we live with auditors at my place of work, too.  And while it's a VBC, it's not (primarily) financial.

    However, change is ok.  We have a process for that.  Just remember to always follow the process.





  • @SQLDave said:

    I swear that they've got Mr. Garrison's twin brother in charge of IT policy development: "Change is bad..mmmm'kay? So don't do change."

    Mr. Mackey.  Garrison is the teacher who was gay, then a woman, then a lesbian, then a man again.



  • @Lingerance said:

    @Mr. DOS said:
    is Domino really as inefficient as I have been led to believe?
    This is all from memory. (I worked nights) Time frame shouldn't be any more than 15% off.

    06:30 Get call about issue with contents of an email, ask them to forward it too me
    06:45 User gets tired of waiting for me to recEIve email so I end the call (I collected as much data as I could)
    06:55 I recEIve the email and begin opening it.
    07:05 The email opens and I begin opening the attachment
    07:25 The attachment is now open and I don't have time to deal with the issue I ask a day person if he can take care of the issue.
    07:30 I click the forward button
    08:30 I am now in a screen that can forward the email
    08:45 The email finally begins forwarding
    09:00 I go to sleep
    18:00 I wake up
    18:10 I shower
    18:30 I eat breakfast
    19:00 I recieve a PM that he has just recEIve the email and has started opening it.

    *slaps Lingerance with a large truot *

    I receive about 200-500 mails a day. About 80% of them are automated reports, notifications, alerts etc. A coworker has a rule that autoforwards a handful of messages to me.

    The company for which I work has maybe 10000 employees worldwide, maybe a dozen of Exchange mail servers, uses MS Outlook, and it works quite smoothly.

    The only problem: 100MB mailboxes that need to be cleaned up every 5 days.




  • @Smitty said:

    @PJH said:

    Was there any particular reason for this directive? (i.e. what problem is it trying, and failing abysmally, to solve?)
     

     Their stated purpose was that it would 'help them keep a finger on the pulse of the department', whatever the hell that means.

    The pulse is... slowing... slowing... slowing... patient is dead.



  • @Smitty said:

     The mainframe dinosaurs alone send 50+ status messages about various systems (copying the entire department, another WTF story there) every morning between 8:00-8:30.  My boss gets around 500 emails a day; I'm assuming the other five supervisors suffer the same fate.  There are 800 people in the building, all spamming via the same poor Domino server.

    This is my first job out of college, so I've got no basis for comparison.  If this is a normal volume of email, then maybe Domino/Lotus Notes is the WTF here.

    As a Lotus Notes user for 9 years, there is no question that Lotus Notes is the biggest WTF. Since you are new to Lotus Notes, try mousing over the paperclip icon and read the 'helptext'. Brillant. Guesses about what the helptext reads are welcomed from non Lotus Notes users.

     



  • @Rick said:

    As a Lotus Notes user for 9 years, there is no question that Lotus Notes is the biggest WTF. Since you are new to Lotus Notes, try mousing over the paperclip icon and read the 'helptext'. Brillant. Guesses about what the helptext reads are welcomed from non Lotus Notes users.
     

    Oh man, I know it's been a long time since I used Notes, but a few of my favorite behaviors:

    1) Giving the most generic error messages possible, for no obvious reason at all. They were all phrased like, (to quickly look one up): "The specific database does not support this function." Without telling me which database, or which function, natch. Or "Object variable not set." Which object? Which variable? How do I set it? They were worse than useless.

    2) The contextual help always giving information for Notes developers instead of the end-user. For example, you'd be looking at the address and want to know how to create a new Group, so you click "Help" and the help file is "Using ListView<items[i]>" or something to that effect.



  •  Yeah, oddly enough, until city names were mentioned, I was wondering if Viraptor was in the next cube over from me.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @Rick said:

    As a Lotus Notes user for 9 years, there is no question that Lotus Notes is the biggest WTF. Since you are new to Lotus Notes, try mousing over the paperclip icon and read the 'helptext'. Brillant. Guesses about what the helptext reads are welcomed from non Lotus Notes users.
     

    Oh man, I know it's been a long time since I used Notes, but a few of my favorite behaviors:

    1) Giving the most generic error messages possible, for no obvious reason at all. They were all phrased like, (to quickly look one up): "The specific database does not support this function." Without telling me which database, or which function, natch. Or "Object variable not set." Which object? Which variable? How do I set it? They were worse than useless.

    2) The contextual help always giving information for Notes developers instead of the end-user. For example, you'd be looking at the address and want to know how to create a new Group, so you click "Help" and the help file is "Using ListView<items[i]>" or something to that effect.

     

    The biggest WTF of Notes in general, which persists in the latest version, is that the Notes client's UI is not updated while the it is waiting for a response over the network (or waiting for anything else). This means that if (for example) your mail server is not responding, the entire application will be completely frozen and unresponsive until the request times out. Notes at least presents the appearance of an application running entirely in a single thread.

    Bonus: if you have either or both of the other two client applications (Domino Designer and Domino Administrator) open at the same time, they all run in the same process and, seemingly, in the same thread. A freeze or crash in one of the applications will freeze or crash the others as well. All for one and one for all.


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