Fire fighting to project balance



  • I am working in a technical team doing development. We are currently fighting a battle and I would like some input and advice on. Like everyone we fight task switching. We have projects that take time and planning, and development that can take 30-60min to get settled in and comfortable to even start working on. At the same time we have groups emailing us with "tickets" but they wait until the last minute to let us know, then we have to do it now, or the company looses money. The issue is there is no negative feedback for them doing this, so they keep doing it. The issues are technical enough that we need to be the ones to handle them, but it would be nice to know a week before hand that x task needs to be done by Friday, instead of, "OMG Fix this Now, because we are already in the process." If we push back too hard, then the groups will stop calling us, and attempt fixes and work arounds on their own, which will just make more work for us in the future. How do you balance this in your work environment?



  • This is like the HR problem often talked about around here. i.e. it's not IT's job to keep user's from surfing non work related websites, it's management/HRs job.

    Same goes here, it's your boss's job to get with those other managers so the company can be efficient. Those managers should sit down and discuss the issues. And the management over the top of them all should welcome it because it makes the company as a whole more effective and efficient.



  • @s-hackleman said in Fire fighting to project balance:

    but it would be nice to know a week before hand that x task needs to be done by Friday, instead of, "OMG Fix this Now, because we are already in the process."

    This implies that they are making changes that they know will affect your stuff and that you'll need to make changes to accommodate them. But is that true?



  • @dashrender said in Fire fighting to project balance:

    @s-hackleman said in Fire fighting to project balance:

    but it would be nice to know a week before hand that x task needs to be done by Friday, instead of, "OMG Fix this Now, because we are already in the process."

    This implies that they are making changes that they know will affect your stuff and that you'll need to make changes to accommodate them. But is that true?

    They know it needs to take place, but they forget, until the last minute and the system isn't working.



  • @dashrender said in Fire fighting to project balance:

    This is like the HR problem often talked about around here. i.e. it's not IT's job to keep user's from surfing non work related websites, it's management/HRs job.

    Same goes here, it's your boss's job to get with those other managers so the company can be efficient. Those managers should sit down and discuss the issues. And the management over the top of them all should welcome it because it makes the company as a whole more effective and efficient.

    I guess that is where the disfunction exists. The other departments don't care they met their goals. Why do they care if it was hard for our team, we still got it done, we are just not happy about it.



  • @s-hackleman said in Fire fighting to project balance:

    @dashrender said in Fire fighting to project balance:

    This is like the HR problem often talked about around here. i.e. it's not IT's job to keep user's from surfing non work related websites, it's management/HRs job.

    Same goes here, it's your boss's job to get with those other managers so the company can be efficient. Those managers should sit down and discuss the issues. And the management over the top of them all should welcome it because it makes the company as a whole more effective and efficient.

    I guess that is where the disfunction exists. The other departments don't care they met their goals. Why do they care if it was hard for our team, we still got it done, we are just not happy about it.

    Well, only your manager can really do anything about this.



  • @dashrender Ok sure, I get that my manager should talk to their manager, but from a policy standpoint that our team controls, is there anything that could if nothing else, help this situation.



  • @s-hackleman said in Fire fighting to project balance:

    @dashrender Ok sure, I get that my manager should talk to their manager, but from a policy standpoint that our team controls, is there anything that could if nothing else, help this situation.

    Not really. You can make policies until you're blue in the face, but unless the other team will follow those policies you will make no headway.

    You mentioned that you should just delay working on their problems - which I agree is what should happen to force the issue. But then you mentioned that they will just work around you, ultimately causing you even more problems. Well - perhaps you need to let that happen. When their bandaids cause something else to break to the point where they can't fix it, and they are forced to come to your team, then you make them wait because they went outside of procedure, they MIGHT - though unlikely - might learn they have a proper way to do things.

    As mentioned, only the higher ups can solve this problem. They need to make your teams work together better.



  • @s-hackleman said in Fire fighting to project balance:

    @dashrender said in Fire fighting to project balance:

    This is like the HR problem often talked about around here. i.e. it's not IT's job to keep user's from surfing non work related websites, it's management/HRs job.

    Same goes here, it's your boss's job to get with those other managers so the company can be efficient. Those managers should sit down and discuss the issues. And the management over the top of them all should welcome it because it makes the company as a whole more effective and efficient.

    I guess that is where the disfunction exists. The other departments don't care they met their goals. Why do they care if it was hard for our team, we still got it done, we are just not happy about it.

    That's part of the problem. When you bend over backwards to help out in such a rush, you are enabling the behavior rather than helping to change it.

    You have turn time requirements, stick to those. When they begin to fail to meet their objectives, they'll learn very quickly.



  • @dashrender said in Fire fighting to project balance:

    This is like the HR problem often talked about around here. i.e. it's not IT's job to keep user's from surfing non work related websites, it's management/HRs job.

    Same goes here, it's your boss's job to get with those other managers so the company can be efficient. Those managers should sit down and discuss the issues. And the management over the top of them all should welcome it because it makes the company as a whole more effective and efficient.

    Not HR, management. Management needs to decide what should be done here, not IT. IT can explain the costs and ramifications to management. Management can then decide what they want and enforce it.



  • @nashbrydges said in Fire fighting to project balance:

    @s-hackleman said in Fire fighting to project balance:

    @dashrender said in Fire fighting to project balance:

    This is like the HR problem often talked about around here. i.e. it's not IT's job to keep user's from surfing non work related websites, it's management/HRs job.

    Same goes here, it's your boss's job to get with those other managers so the company can be efficient. Those managers should sit down and discuss the issues. And the management over the top of them all should welcome it because it makes the company as a whole more effective and efficient.

    I guess that is where the disfunction exists. The other departments don't care they met their goals. Why do they care if it was hard for our team, we still got it done, we are just not happy about it.

    That's part of the problem. When you bend over backwards to help out in such a rush, you are enabling the behavior rather than helping to change it.

    You have turn time requirements, stick to those. When they begin to fail to meet their objectives, they'll learn very quickly.

    This is where things like SLA and SLO come in and help a lot.



  • @s-hackleman said in Fire fighting to project balance:

    @dashrender Ok sure, I get that my manager should talk to their manager, but from a policy standpoint that our team controls, is there anything that could if nothing else, help this situation.

    IT should not control policies. If you do, make an SLA that gives you a week to complete the task and if you complete within five working days, you get an A+ on time. If they complain, show them that it was completed in the optimum window and that they can't complain about "instant".



  • @s-hackleman said in Fire fighting to project balance:

    @dashrender said in Fire fighting to project balance:

    This is like the HR problem often talked about around here. i.e. it's not IT's job to keep user's from surfing non work related websites, it's management/HRs job.

    Same goes here, it's your boss's job to get with those other managers so the company can be efficient. Those managers should sit down and discuss the issues. And the management over the top of them all should welcome it because it makes the company as a whole more effective and efficient.

    I guess that is where the disfunction exists. The other departments don't care they met their goals. Why do they care if it was hard for our team, we still got it done, we are just not happy about it.

    Likewise, why do you care if they get what they need?

    No one cares unless they care about the business as a whole. What I'm hearing is "they are willing to hurt the company and the company doesn't care". Is that a good assessment? If the company owners dont care, you shouldn't care either.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Fire fighting to project balance:

    @s-hackleman said in Fire fighting to project balance:

    @dashrender said in Fire fighting to project balance:

    This is like the HR problem often talked about around here. i.e. it's not IT's job to keep user's from surfing non work related websites, it's management/HRs job.

    Same goes here, it's your boss's job to get with those other managers so the company can be efficient. Those managers should sit down and discuss the issues. And the management over the top of them all should welcome it because it makes the company as a whole more effective and efficient.

    I guess that is where the disfunction exists. The other departments don't care they met their goals. Why do they care if it was hard for our team, we still got it done, we are just not happy about it.

    Likewise, why do you care if they get what they need?

    No one cares unless they care about the business as a whole. What I'm hearing is "they are willing to hurt the company and the company doesn't care". Is that a good assessment? If the company owners dont care, you shouldn't care either.

    From the company stand point it got done, and done on time, so quit complaining. How it got done, or the fact we are being driven insane seems secondary, and our problem. I think SLA's may be the right direction, what is an SLO?



  • @s-hackleman We have an SLA and it means nothing because if administration asks us to drop everything and do something we are forced to. Logically speaking, yes you can argue you have a 4 hour SLA but it's up to them to respect that, which I can pretty much guarantee they won't. Your workplace sounds a lot like mine.

    One question I have is why are they even able to do things without you? Why do they have admin rights?



  • @wirestyle22 Our stuff is more setup and config. For example, we want to manufacture a new widget. So many things have to be setup and configured before that process can start. We get contacted at the last second. Then we end up troubleshooting an emergency issue that could have been scheduled. I think SLA's may be the way to go, even if it is just 4 hours, it may prevent task switching as being moved off project work 3-5 times a day is pretty common.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Fire fighting to project balance:

    @dashrender said in Fire fighting to project balance:

    This is like the HR problem often talked about around here. i.e. it's not IT's job to keep user's from surfing non work related websites, it's management/HRs job.

    Same goes here, it's your boss's job to get with those other managers so the company can be efficient. Those managers should sit down and discuss the issues. And the management over the top of them all should welcome it because it makes the company as a whole more effective and efficient.

    Not HR, management. Management needs to decide what should be done here, not IT. IT can explain the costs and ramifications to management. Management can then decide what they want and enforce it.

    Right, I said - like the HR problem, then I say - it's your boss - aka management.



  • @s-hackleman said in Fire fighting to project balance:

    @wirestyle22 Our stuff is more setup and config. For example, we want to manufacture a new widget. So many things have to be setup and configured before that process can start. We get contacted at the last second. Then we end up troubleshooting an emergency issue that could have been scheduled. I think SLA's may be the way to go, even if it is just 4 hours, it may prevent task switching as being moved off project work 3-5 times a day is pretty common.

    But like Wired mentioned, it's just as likely that your boss will get the call, and they will make you starting working on it ASAP. This really needs to come from your boss, and your boss needs to be willing to go to bat for the situation, and his higher ups need to agree this as well. If any one in the chain breaks down, well the rest is pretty much for not.


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