Well, what a fun day. Today we finally got approval to change from a proprietary concurrent versioning system to Subversion. It was also the day we had permission to take our core product to a new level by standardising accross all of our customers and starting the long road towards a periodic release and patching process. Hashed out by one of our senior developers and the tech director, we had a meeting this afternoon to bring the developers on board – obviously, we need their buy-in to implement this – they need to be quite disciplined in making sure that their code is checked in properly, unlike what frequently happens at the moment. Now to be fair, this isn’t anything new. The whole patching/release process thing has been tried before but it failed mainly because people couldn’t be bothered. So what we needed was the tech director and other management-types to be supportive of us in the meeting, help us with this. So what happened? We presented the idea to everyone, nodding all around. Nobody’s jumping for joy, but that’s not a surprise. What is a surprise is the reaction we get from the Ops Director. Her reaction is that it’s going to fail. She believes it so strongly that she challenges us to prove her wrong and make it work. I pointed out that the only thing she needed to do was trust her employees. Her response was that she doesn’t. What a complete crock of shit. I was utterly shocked and apalled at her attitude, even if she believed that, airing it in a public forum wasn’t the most managerially astute thing to do. I was furious – I was one of three people championing this and her attitude was so negative that even the developers were shocked. I was incensed at how she treated people. The thing is that although she does this, it’s still quite a fun place to work. It’s just that things like this happen from time to time. Reminds me of working for Frontier sometimes. And to top it all off, Damien was supposed to bring the bike back and get his stuff. Where is he? Fuck knows, because I don’t.

3 Responses to “Management”

  1. asthmatickitten says:

    I – and at least one other developer there present – were rather … put out by the “our life is shit, and it’s your fault” comment. We both commented that it made us feel that regularly working unpaid overtime to get the job done was appreciated by those who pay the bills…

  2. taffyboy says:


    I learnt some time ago (strangely enough, when I was working for Frontier) that the company is not a charity. I do as little overtime as possible, because I don’t get paid for it. The statement “I don’t believe in overtime” is fine, but that’s a two way street. Tell me you don’t believe in overtime next time I’m the one spending hours sorting out the mess…

    But yeah. Notice that I try to go home religiously at 1730? Notice how I try not to work from home? Notice how I’ve tried nudging you in that direction? 🙂

    If they get used to you working out of hours, they will take advantage of it. I’ve seen it happen.

    On the “our lives are shit…” comment, I *so* wanted to scream “No, it’s not our fault your lives are shit. *You* control what we do. *You* don’t listen to us when we tell you how to do it better. That’ll make it *your* fault then.” Or as someone else says “She will abdicate not delegate”.

    Yeah, I’m still pissed about this one.

  3. mumsey_onroad says:

    Wow. This person is Ops Director and doesn’t trust the people working for her? She must have some deep underlying issues with her own competency. Either that or she’s been reading some pop psychology books and figures ‘reverse psychology’ is going to get everyone working harder to ‘prove her wrong’. (But she blew that with the ‘not trusting’ comment.) (As a person with 25+ years working experience I could tell you, whichever the reason, if I were there one of us would be gone within a week. And it wouldn’t be me. But perhaps that’s why I’m self employed …)

    I’ve only been fired from one job in my life, and that was more or less a direct result of saying ‘do it yourself’ (union environment – not the thing to say to a supervisor), but it would be interesting to see what would happen if anyone ever DID say “if you don’t trust me to do it properly, perhaps you should do it yourself”. But that’s just me being nasty, and you guys probably need the money. (and Jon would probably phrase it as ‘Show me how to be clever like you’ and she’d miss the point completely.) But yeah … confrontation … Mmmm… nasty. Fun.

    So anyway, sidestepping the issue of your Ops Director, (because her reaction was emotional, not rational, so you just ignore her for the moment while we rationalise this thing out …) the best way to get everyone on board with the new ‘process’ for patching/release is to get everyone into the habit of using it. Not an easy thing to do, because that means changing the way ‘things are done’, and everyone is probably used to doing things their own way, and for their own reasons. Issues like this – reorganisation – are usually short term versus long term – get the job done NOW (keep the customer happy), versus Long Term gain – working more efficiently in the long term. All sorts of analogies – putting out fires, can’t see the forest for the trees, etc.

    So everyone agrees: you need a new process, which apparently has been painted out in ‘broad strokes’ by the tech director. But implementation is a thing for a ‘detail’ person (usually a QA person, who will have a ‘procedures protocol binder’ someplace on their person at all times), backed up by someone in a position of authority who will have the guts to say “I don’t care if we have to tell the customer we can’t meet our schedule – we’re going to do it RIGHT, not FAST.” (“We’re so nice we do is twice” is not the motto of a well run business.)

    So … who would be in charge of implementing and policing the new procedure? That would probably be the job of the QA person, backed up (STRONGLY) by the Ops Director. Do you HAVE a QA person? It doesn’t really matter. Because if your Ops Director is not willing to look at the LONG term and not bend to the immediate needs – she’s right. It is doomed to failure … because it’s her job and she thinks she’s incompetent. (and trust works both ways – if she doesn’t trust the people below her, why should they trust her enough to implement a new protocol?)

    I’ll stop now, because the issues can’t be resolved in one comment in one LJ entry … it just gets my ‘OCP’ disorder salivating at the thought of such a well defined organisational challenge. 😀