Why are we taking on projects when we don’t have the skill sets? This is some bullshit!
So my Service Manager hit me up with some info that an application that my team doesn’t touch needs to be updated. We don’t have the skill set to do it and, because we’re developers, we’re not supposed to touch the production (PROD) environment (basically the live system). This is some bullshit!
It took several emails, probably a few phone calls, and bribes to finally convince people that it wasn’t work we do.
Some insight on my team:
- We handle maintenance of existing systems and repeatable processes (daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly/annually)
- All of it is mainframe based. None of that pretty front-end stuff people are dazzled with.
- We don’t touch PROD under any normal circumstances. I wish we didn’t touch PROD under any circumstances.
- No new development — that’s done by development teams. We’re a maintenance team.
- No database management to include Lotus Notes (the skillset in question). Thankfully there’s DBAs that handle it.
- Crusty old developers (including me) that really don’t care to learn new stuff.
Our internal project team made the declaration that we, as an entirety (there are several sub-teams in our group including mine), do not take on Lotus Notes tasks because we don’t carry the skill sets. Lotus Notes, and it’s database components, is a critter all on its own and there’s people that do a great job with it. Although the databases can touch the mainframe for various reasons, when updates to said databases are done, they’re done by the subject matter experts (SME)…people that know what they’re doing. I seriously didn’t believe it took all the communication it did to justify the fact that my team wasn’t responsible for the update. I was contacted several times because my team has what are called Service Catalog requests, requiring little to no coding and quick turnaround times. In this scenario there was a calculation found by our lending side showing we were giving too much money out when folks took out loans…by fractions of a penny. This may not seem like much but when you have millions of customers it could add up quick. Because my team has a couple of these requests that update parms (updates to stuff that affects the entire enterprise or systems in singularity) that are similar to what was needed, we were targeted for the update. At this point we were in the crosshairs with a bullseye and a “Kick Me” sign on our backs.
Zero, I mean ZERO, legwork was done by management and it came across as they didn’t believe what anyone was telling them on who handles what. Allow me to humble brag, but I was able to snuff this out with about 4 sentences explaining we don’t do those updates and pointed them to the folks that do. Done? Nope. More banter happened that I wasn’t involved with but it came down to a VERY simple explanation that management was overlooking: look at the available skill sets of the entire team and yay/nay the request. Simple.
The overall point I’m making is: Management doesn’t fully know their teams and doesn’t necessarily trust their people once the answers are given. I’m still bitter about it obviously. For an IT sweatshop as large as ours I can see how it can get confusing but I fully expect management to have a better knowledge base of the roles/responsibilities of their people. We have 11…ELEVEN…managers. Only 1 reached out to us minions, thankfully, and kept some of the others out of the loop. Had all 11 been involved it could have been a cluster fuck of epic proportions.
I’m grateful to have been contacted for input and the eventual solution; that shows trust. However, as a team Lead, my input should not have been questioned (insert major ego trip and whining here on my behalf). I was more floored that, because of the project team mandate for no Lotus Notes projects, any of this came to light. That should have squashed it immediately. Nope. Someone started running around expecting all of us to jump then we minions had to go through hell and back just to come back with “We don’t do that”. REALLY? SERIOUSLY? How many hours were wasted on this? About 2 of mine were. May not seem like much but there were more important things I wanted to ignore.
This is where I call bullshit. Awareness and knowledge can make so many problems go away quickly. I’m 1 step away from calling them all out but I enjoy getting a paycheck.
Luckily this was resolved so we could all enjoy the eclipse. Actually, we enjoyed the cloud cover of the eclipse but someone was handing out doughnuts and most of my irritability disappeared.