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The A-Team of IT — and How To Assemble One

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the i-love-it-when-a-plan-something-something dept.

IT 246

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Dan Tynan offers insights into building a crack special ops team ready to tackle the toughest IT assignments. From Air Support (think: the guy who shares a cigarette break with the CFO), to Infrastructure Sherpas, to Über Hackers (Mohawk optional), each of the seven essential members of your IT A-Team must bring his or her special blend of expertise, connections, and temperament to ensure the success of mission-critical assignments. 'Remember, there is no Plan B.'"

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step 1 (4, Funny)

thanasakis (225405) | more than 3 years ago | (#33650954)

get a big cigar and practice saying "I love it when a plan comes together" while smoking it

Re:step 1 (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651034)

Step 2: provide Dukematches and Quakematches on top shelf hardware circa mid-90s in the breakroom.

Re:step 1 (1)

bigrockpeltr (1752472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651258)

Step 3: There is no step 3!

But there IS a plan B: (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651462)

Plan B - The B team! [flickr.com]

Re:step 1 (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651666)

Step 4. Profit!!!!

Re:step 1 (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 3 years ago | (#33652084)

Step 3: Get someone other than Micheal Scott to come up your business plans.

Re:step 1 (4, Informative)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651050)

I'd just employ Moss, Roy and Jen.

Crack Team (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33651088)

He said a crack team, not a team on crack.

Working hard or hardly working?

Re:step 1 (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651170)

Meh...they'd spend all day trying to prank-call pizza places by asking for pineapple, and shoving goths into back rooms who point at blinking lights all day saying "What's going on there?"

Re:step 1 (3, Funny)

fridaynightsmoke (1589903) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651200)

I'd just employ Moss, Roy and Jen.

TEAM players each and every one of them. There's no room for people who can't act as a team on my team.
TEAM! Team team team team team! I even love saying the word 'team'. You probably think that's a picture of my family, nyah-ah. It's The A-Team.

Re:step 1 (5, Funny)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651628)

In 1992 a mediocre COBOL unit was sent to prison by a civilian court for a fraud they implemented but were oblivious to. These men eventually escaped from minimum security house arrest to the Des Moines suburbs. Today, still ignored by the government, they survive as free lance consultants.
If you have a mainframe - if no one else bids on the job - and they are all you can afford - you can definitly hire: The C-Team.

Wildcard (2, Funny)

DrugCheese (266151) | more than 3 years ago | (#33650966)

Yeah I turned off all the environmental controls in the server room.

Wildcard, bitches! Yeeehaaw!!!

You sound like a retarded janitor (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651046)

Do you work in a bar in south Philly? How do you like your milk steak cooked, over hard with a side of jellybeans?

Hehe, man I love that show. :)

Re:You sound like a retarded janitor (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651532)

I'll take an order of your FINEST jellybeans, please.

Re:Wildcard (1)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651078)

EXACTLY! Why is there no love for the Physical Infrastructure folks? All that expensive gear and all the networking in the world ain't gonna help you when that nice, clean A/C voltage from the UPSs stops humming down to the L630s you're plugged into, or if the room should happen to reach about 100 degrees with about 80% Relative Humidity.

It's the A-ITeam (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#33650972)

"I pity the foo' who doesn't encrypt his wireless network with WPA2!"

Re:It's the A-ITeam (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651886)

"I pity the foo' who doesn't encrypt his wireless network with WPA2!"

"I pity the fool" wasn't a B.A. Baracus line. At least, I watched a bunch of the old shows and as far as I know he never said it. It was from Rocky 3. "I don't hate Balboa. I pity the fool."

Re:It's the A-ITeam (4, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 3 years ago | (#33652256)

I pity the foo who bar baz

It's a joke. (2, Interesting)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33650976)

The site hung up when I tried going to the third page, but what I read was a joke.

This article belongs on one of those Onion wanna-be sites.

Re:It's a joke. (3, Insightful)

Kalidor (94097) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651204)

You made it to the third page? The article lost me when they tried to get advice from effective team leads on someone from TCS. It would be so funny if I didn't have such sad vivid memories of the ineffective team leadership displayed every time a Morgan Stanley employee cuckolded any of the management / leads.

Re:It's a joke. (4, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651222)

Sure, you think it is a joke, but maybe they are just trying to hide from the federal government that is hunting them down for a crime they didn't commit!

I wonder what "The A Team" of IT would look like?

They would be unable or unwilling to kill any process, no matter how corrupt it had become.
They could build a Cray out of old disk drives and EISA cards, but if they tried to hack you they would accidentally hit the Pottery Barn right behind you.
Most of their proposed solutions would involve tossing someone or something onto or into something else.

Re:It's a joke. (5, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651458)

Yeah it was a load of crap, I skimmed it and saw this

Here the challenge is to find someone who mixes the requisite coding chops with a measure of humility, says Minco's Adriana Zona.

"You want the genius guys who aren't arrogant," she says. "They want to impress you, so they do in an hour what would take standard developers a week. But the most important thing is they don't challenge you. You don't even have to explain what you want or provide a document. They just complete the job."

Though extremely rare, the humble coding genius can be found via word of mouth, says Zona. She also weeds out the arrogant ones by asking prospective employees to rate their skills on a scale from 1 to 10.

"A good developer will never say 10," she says. "Technology changes so rapidly no one can possibly know everything. But the arrogant ones will. And a nonhumble developer will destroy your department."

A good developer doesn't need to "know everything", they just need to know how to use a reference manual and be able to adapt and learn. Sounds more like she just prefers people with no self confidence who are desperate to impress others to feel validated - people that she can order around.

Good developers will require specs and explanations otherwise they will probably waste a lot of time barking up the wrong tree. I certainly have made incorrect assumptions in the past about the direction a project will be heading or how the end user will be wanting to use things, so now I make sure to discuss issues where there is any doubt.

It's also great to have a specs document to refer back to if someone comes to you and says "where is [feature]" or "we need this feature!". I try to be accommodating, but it's really not a great idea to be adding features in halfway through the first implementation of a project. Any new features can be added into version two. Or if the "new feature" turns out to be an essential oversight, you may have to rethink the whole project from scratch.. but if they didn't put it in the original specs, it's their own fault.

Trained Monkeys (2, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | more than 3 years ago | (#33652026)

Notice that each position called for people with very explicit experience.

This illustrates very nicely what I am finding in the job market: No one seems to want people with lots of diverse experience who are flexible and adaptable. Instead, they want trained monkeys that have years and years of experience in one thing.

Thinking for yourself is verboten. Just take the specs and churn out code, or diagrams, etc.

I think this is just asking for trouble, especially in smaller companies. How many trained monkeys can also install and configure a database, then design and create the tables? Not many. So you need to bring in a DBA trained monkey. And monkeys that can actually talk to the users are exceedingly rare.

While trained monkeys have their place, I think they need too much supervision. If they get out of their monkey experience, they are lost and grind to a halt.

Re:It's a joke. (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#33652440)

But the most important thing is they don't challenge you. You don't even have to explain what you want or provide a document. They just complete the job

Yeah this line just blew my mind. "So, in addition to being an awesome coder you need a developer who is psychic? Because that's the only way you're going to get the product you want without providing any specs." What a moron. Also, if you're not providing them the least amount of guidance, of course they're not going to challenge you. You're effectively letting them write whatever strikes their fancy and implement it without any controls. Sounds like a dream job to me (at least until the boss comes back and say it's all wrong and you need to fix it (still without guidance) by Monday).

To be fair, while most of the article was drek, this was by far the worst section. Most of it was merely useless, rather than counterproductive.

Welcome to the IDG Family of products my friend. (1)

mb12036 (516109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33652198)

This article is also listed as "breaking news" by the IDG Family of Products. Thanks to IDG, we have a source for much-needed technical journalism. Recent hits:

  1. The Web Is Dead, Long Live the Cloud [cio.com]
  2. Why You Don't Need a Cloud Strategy [cio.com]
  3. 10 Signs You're A Social Media Adict [cio.com]
  4. 10 Warning Signs Your IT Career Is In Trouble [cio.com] (See #3)

How could anyone function without this kind of probing, thoughtful analysis!?!

Calling in the IT team? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33650994)

What exactly would i need these guys to do?

We actually are forming a serious IT A-Team... (2, Informative)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651916)

Basically, it's problem resolution.

Most people are used to takign tickets, they take a ticket and they fix an incedent. Sometimes an incident is just stupid user error, sometimes it's a config error.

However, every now and then, there is some ghost error that you can't replicate, but exists intermittently on an enterprise scale. The "A-Team" where we work is supossed to be an advanced troubleshooting team, who's other duties are re-allocated so they can focus entirely on one issue.

These aren't your stnd network and desktop geeks. This is the best person from every IT team. A PM, a network guru, a server guy, an analyst, an app admin, a developer or two, and a super user or two (for out of the box ideas). You switch roles, exchange ideas, and generally dig deep until you either find the problem or reach the back of the CIO's teeth.

Re:We actually are forming a serious IT A-Team... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33652164)

And from that team you generally receive rules and regulations that keep things in check; they also analyze recurring expensive problems and devise long-term solutions to those problems. In doing so they become experienced in the finer details of design and you rely on them to design networks for your company.

Don't forget the hardware guru's in the mix; being able to sniff down a system flipping bits or a transformer tossing out badly regulated power and replace a $50 part is sometimes worth the chalk.

Sys admin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33651014)

What is it about the position that attracts such deluded juveniles douches? It's a joke? You know, jokes are supposed to be funny?!

Re:Sys admin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33651808)

So it's kind of difficult to call someone a "juvenile douche" with a straight face.

Hint: if you're calling someone a douche, you're the juvenile one.

Re:Sys admin (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651910)

Hint: if you're calling someone a douche, you're the juvenile one.

I know you are but what am I?

How about ditching the silly names (2, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651058)

If you take someone on your team because he's an "uber hacker" or a "Sherpa" then you are spending too much time diddling and playing WoW. Get a good team of professionals with complimentary skills, but don't give them stupid handles.

Re:How about ditching the silly names (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651176)

You're just jealous I'm an uber hacker and I have more epics than you. Also, Gothmolly is a great handle, you should insist everyone call you that.

The guys in sneakers are more like a real team to (3, Insightful)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651096)

The guys in sneakers are more like a real team to base things off of.

Prefer to be like Batman (4, Insightful)

dcollins (135727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651134)

Always have a backup plan.

Re:Prefer to be like Batman (1)

McNihil (612243) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651300)

and a plan C, D, E, F..... Z. One can not have enough backup plans.

Re:Prefer to be like Batman (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651360)

Yeah, it's recursive.

Re:Prefer to be like Batman (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651898)

and a plan C, D, E, F..... Z. One can not have enough backup plans.

Accounting for what can/will likely go wrong is a great idea, a backup plan will save you a lot of time, money and headaches under those circumstances, but when you start thinking about everything that might go wrong you run into diminishing returns pretty quickly.

For example, my backup plan for my car is my bike, my backup plan for my bike is walking and my backup plan for walking is calling a taxi. Sure I might benefit from a canoe if the road ever washes out or an alternate exit from my yard if a tree falls on my driveway but those are unlikely scenarios that are best left to be dealt with if and when they come up; worrying about them beforehand just creates extra stress.

Re:Prefer to be like Batman (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 3 years ago | (#33652488)

You'll never be Batman with an attitude like that!

Re:Prefer to be like Batman (2, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651940)

... and a backout plan ... just in case.

Re:Prefer to be like Batman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33652056)

Also, some kind of Test environment. And if you have coders, a development Environ for them to destroy at will.

Ugh.. (2, Insightful)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651156)

What a horrible idea. Not trying to emasculate nerds here, but I think it's pretty safe to say that the "A-Team" embodies a certain degree of testosterone-fueled machismo that just doesn't really work when you're trying to debug 30,000 lines of code by noon on a green screen.

Re:Ugh.. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651226)

Computers aren't threatened by knives or guns.

Now, a degausser...THAT'LL get 'em to sit straight and fly right!

Re:Ugh.. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651860)

Now, a degausser...THAT'LL get 'em to sit straight and fly right!

You should ask your employer to wander into the 21st Century. LCDs are the way to go and no degausser PTSD.

Now, if you really meant an EMP gun ... then I'd agree with you.

Re:Ugh.. (1)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651238)

Then fill out an incident report specifying what happened in language appropriate to pointy hair, including the requested power point presentation on how to better schedule unscheduled outages... These being the Geek skills that get the promotions..

Re:Ugh.. (1)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651392)

CxO's did not get there because of their decision making abilities, they got to where they were by DOING stuff. Even if the stuff is fluff.

Having an A-Team makes it look like you are doing stuff.

Re:Ugh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33651470)

I certainly feel sort-of like a member of a special ops team when me and my colleagues arrive at 0300 to rescue a downed mission-critical system. ... then again, it could be the parachute-drop on the way to the data-center...

Re:Ugh.. (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651896)

Well, I was* going to be the ladies' man...

Hey, I can dream, can't I?

In 1977 a crack commando unit in Berkely... (1)

SoupIsGood Food (1179) | more than 3 years ago | (#33652122)

You need to meet more Unix and Mainframe admins, who are either Howling Mad Murdoch or B.A. Barrackus types - the folks who handle the really, really big boxes in the datacenter the boss won't let you breathe on. The two archetypes break down like this:

1) If they can't OS it, patch it, conf it for the network, install software for it and get users authenticating on it, you need to be terrified of it, 'cuz it's not of this earth. Favorite hobbies include comparing stats of completely incomparable systems and freaking out the guy in the next cube. Never met a piece of hardware they didn't like, and they usually name it after someone who has a restraining order out against them.

2) The vendor's tech support calls them for help. Seen every problem imaginable, and can throw it helluva far. Pities the foo who can't fine tune their system for optimal performance at heavy load, at two in the morning, in the rain, upside down, while attacked by bats. Favorite hobbies include reading old versions of the product manual, and writing angry letters to the vendor about spelling mistakes in their release notes. Doesn't really like people or other living organisms.

A team.. dreaming? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33651188)

Wake up bozos. Wake up.

No matter how Elite your A team prides itself to be, the management will replace it with a team of newbies from India/Brazil/Vietnam in a flash.

A-team for crack assignments it seems. You are a replaceable commodity, no matter how elite. And management does not see 'A'-ness. It sees the product of 'ability and cost, and that can be equal for any number of teams of varying abilities.

Re:A team.. dreaming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33651520)

You sound like a newbie from India/Brazil/Vietnam, the way you confuse product and quotient.

Unless you actually meant they'll settle for less ability if it costs more, which only applies at the end of the year, when burning through your budget so you don't get cut.

This is how they see you, IT grunts (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651218)

That's why you should read this. Not because it provides useful information to people on the tech team, but because people in the business of managing IT departments really take this stuff seriously. They will try to shoehorn the people they have into the stereotypes, archetypes, and roles they know about, and once they've assigned you to a part, you're going to be doing that part until you leave or the show ends. And if you don't fit one of the parts, they're going to consider you useless.

This sort of thing is especially true for managers who didn't work their way up through the ranks, so they're now faced with a bunch of geeks who are exacting, relentlessly uncovering BS, demand facts and figures, and speak in a jargon they can't understand. It can also be a big issue for the CTO, because even if the CTO is someone who does understand the geeks, the CEO doesn't and often demands that the CTO make the geeks follow a plan they can understand.

Re:This is how they see you, IT grunts (2, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651576)

F'N A when you're right ....

The other thing is if you don't fit into those pidgeon holes, they won't even hire you and just say "you don't have the skills" or "you don't fit in" and then bitch and moan as to why they can't get "qualified" people.

Re:This is how they see you, IT grunts (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651662)

I find this is true, but only to a point. If the "IT grunt" is smart, and a good communicator they should be able to convincingly argue for a position that isn't an exact fit into one of the stereotypes or archetypes. They should be able to show a good business case for their position such that the manager can understand why their IT grunt is useful in more than one way. Naturally, it helps to have a manager who isn't just a walking suit.

Re:This is how they see you, IT grunts (1, Insightful)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651676)

Challenge: Spin this into a useful observation, if you can.

It's one thing to say 'management sucks, I need my blankie', but it's quite another to scout the lay of the land and pick your way safely through it.

Which are you, former or latter? Which are you encouraging with the tone of your post?

Think about it. Particularly in an economy where being disgruntled isn't exactly an advantage... :)

Re:This is how they see you, IT grunts (2, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651928)

The observation is easy: If you want to change your professional role significantly, expect to change companies.

And it's not simply "management sucks", it's that management doesn't understand you, so they're doing their best to muddle through, and they seize on information like this because it's all they have, and once they think they understand you they're probably going to keep that understanding of you. They don't have a lot of time to spend understanding each employee, so once they think they've figured you out they aren't going to try to repeat the effort.

Re:This is how they see you, IT grunts (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33652190)

And when you switch, how do you know that the new management hasn't also read this same article? Or otherwise developed similar ideas?

Re:This is how they see you, IT grunts (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#33652326)

They don't know you yet, so you can present yourself as fitting into the role you want rather than the role you had. You'll still get shoehorned, but you'll get shoehorned differently.

Re:This is how they see you, IT grunts (1)

The Wild Norseman (1404891) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651834)

That's why you should read this. Not because it provides useful information to people on the tech team, but because people in the business of managing IT departments really take this stuff seriously. They will try to shoehorn the people they have into the stereotypes, archetypes, and roles they know about, and once they've assigned you to a part, you're going to be doing that part until you leave or the show ends. And if you don't fit one of the parts, they're going to consider you useless.

Seriously, I'm gonna forward this article to my boss and his boss so they can read it and then they'll truly understand why I've been calling myself the Magnum P.I. of the IT industry! I wonder what other 80's television tropes I can draw upon to secure myself a job for life...

Re:This is how they see you, IT grunts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33652300)

You sound really, really bitter. Let's see if you can understand what I just heard:

We are all special. Yep, not a one alike. Our personality and quirks are necessary for our job. Nobody can do it like we can. As such, we demand that you prove to us exactly why we should do a task or follow a guideline. Don't worry that we don't have a clue about bringing teams together or what constraints you may be under that we are not aware of; surely, if we are not aware, it is not important. We demand that you prove we are to do our job. If we don't like it, we will bitch all day and night about it and find any inconsistency to throw it in your face. Although you think of us as nothing more than nerdy kids at gamestop babbling over some douchy animation and speaking klingon, we know that our ability to speak in ways you can't understand makes us superior.

Yeppers, you'll never make the A-Team because you're nothing but an A-Hole.

captcha:systemic

The IT Crowd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33652412)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0487831/

Someone found their 'Hackers' DVD... (1)

gimmebeer (1648629) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651296)

This is 'how to hack the gibson' all over again. Crash and Burn 4evr!!!1!

Mister T? (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651304)

I won't be on an A Team unless they let me be Mister T.

Re:Mister T? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651704)

The sad thing is, my IT team already has an 'enforcer', but we're never allowed to let him off the chain. Doesn't fit the culture.

But I could easily imagine the gains from letting him tell some of these folks what he really thinks about them. I mean, they can tell by the 'are you completely stupid' look that crosses his face, but to allow him to actually SAY it would be most useful, I would think.

But again, sadly, it doesn't fit in around here, and it only serves to get him in trouble.

Re:Mister T? (0, Redundant)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651772)

Ah pity da foo.

ridiculous (4, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651344)

you know this entire article is ridiculous because it's full of stupid shit like this:

You don't even have to explain what you want or provide a document. They just complete the job."

.

The entire article is written as if by somebody who just watched 'Charlies Angels', 'Swordfish', 'True Lies' and 'The Core' and decided to write about this subject as if those movies actually represent reality.

Re:ridiculous (1)

RedK (112790) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651790)

Actually, I think he was watching "The A-Team". Hence the name of the article. What did you expect going in when the very title draws a parallel to a series about a team who "gets the job done, no questions asked" ?

Wha?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33652276)

Those documentaries are not real?!? I feel my reality slowly melting...melting...

Re:ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33652424)

The entire article is written as if by somebody who just watched 'Charlies Angels', 'Swordfish', 'True Lies' and 'The Core' and decided to write about this subject as if those movies actually represent reality.

Hang on, hang on.

Are you telling me Swordfish wasn't real?

Re:ridiculous (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#33652468)

Yeah, it was real. I always get a blowjob from a hot blond chick while coding. Unfortunately the gun is also real, I managed to avoid the bullet for now, but tomorrow they want me to break into NSA in under 3 minutes. Of-course there will be 2 chicks this time, so I agreed. Wish me luck.

I quit reading (2, Insightful)

codepunk (167897) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651386)

I quit reading as soon as I ran into the comments by the VP of Tata Consulting. The article pretty much lost any sort of credibility right at that point.

Re:I quit reading (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651592)

Tata Consulting ....

I will not make joke using Indian stereotypes.
I will not make joke using Indian stereotypes.
I will not make joke using Indian stereotypes.
I will not make joke using Indian stereotypes.
I will not make joke using Indian stereotypes.
I will not make joke using Indian stereotypes. ..... 100 times more ...
I will not make joke using Indian stereotypes.

No one's willing to pay the bill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33651390)

A-Teams are rare.

Some point I would like to say (I will stick to development as it is my area of interest. I think it applies to others as well though)

1- No one is willing to pay an A team. Why pay for an A team if you can pay an outsourcing company half the price for a less than half production?
2- Do you think an arrogant coder ruin you department? Of course not... he will ask for lots of money. That's why humble ones are asked for.

Turning in my slashdot card (1)

Ummon (15714) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651416)

Wow, when did this site become news for middle management? Sadly off to reddit. Kbythx, Ummon.

Re:Turning in my slashdot card (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651742)

Wow, when did this site become news for middle management? Sadly off to reddit. Kbythx, Ummon.

Well, how many years has slashdot been around? Are they just supposed to shed those of us that got promoted a time or two? Or does it physically pain the rest of us too much to see a few articles on this kind of a topic?

Besides, the wise employee would look to this as a list of things to underscore at their next performance evaluation. Find something that you kind of already do and do-the-hell out of it for the ninety days leading up to it...

Collect Call from Hollywood (1)

koterica (981373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651434)

Michael Chriton, is that you?

Very unrealistic (4, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651492)

In my understanding, an "A-Team" isn't something that gets created by management, it's a group of people who happen to work together so well that they keep sticking together, because it works great for them. I don't think that's something you can build to a formula. At most you can try to find such a group in a large organization.

And of course, they have the most unrealistic requirements for the developer:

"You want the genius guys who aren't arrogant," she says. "They want to impress you, so they do in an hour what would take standard developers a week. But the most important thing is they don't challenge you. You don't even have to explain what you want or provide a document. They just complete the job."

Just how is something supposed to get coded, if nobody explains what should it be? That kind of thing only works for independent coders who already know what they want to do, and community open source projects where nobody tells you what to do, you just do it, and if it's good it gets merged. But that's a very un-business-like development model.

Re:Very unrealistic (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651822)

You don't even have to explain what you want or provide a document. They just complete the job."

Just how is something supposed to get coded, if nobody explains what should it be? That kind of thing only works for independent coders who already know what they want to do, and community open source projects where nobody tells you what to do, you just do it, and if it's good it gets merged. But that's a very un-business-like development model.

We have one of those here - probably two, actually. They only politely listen to your ideas as to how it should function. They're looking for the end product, mostly, and are otherwise waiting for the meeting to end. Then they go back to their desks and draw on what they've already done in the past. They hammer it out 'their way' in short order, produce the result, and move on to the next project. A lot of these requests are so routine to these developers that planning it would readily take more time than doing it.

But again, they know their stuff (particularly their flavor of that stuff), they know the business, and they've been doing basically the same things for years and years.

But it makes perfect sense to them. (2, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 3 years ago | (#33652100)

Just how is something supposed to get coded, if nobody explains what should it be?

They don't want to have to explain because they don't KNOW what they want.

They only know the end result that they want. Success and fame and more money.

Translating that into real-world products is beyond them. So they want people who can do that for them. They want magic. They want people who can read their minds, predict the future and turn out world changing products ... and then give all the credit to their "manager".

Why would someone like that work for a manager like that?

Everyone would like to have Superman working for them. Or a whole team of Superman.

But why would Superman need YOU?

What do you think of your IT department? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33651534)

To be honest, in most every company that I have worked, the IT department seems unwilling to do anything outside of their box.
There are many things an IT department could do to create a better environment, but often there is no real motivation (internal or external) to do so.

Windows OS installation and maintenance gets top priority. Linux and MAC support is usually little to none. Even if the main development environment is Linux. Even if development devices are non-windows and could use support from IT for services like email.
I can guess to the reason for this. Linux users are assumed to be smart enough to fix it themselves. MAC users are also assumed to be self sufficient (and perhaps OSX requires less IT support). Windows requires constant security updates, but is there another specific reason why Windows is given such priority?

What does everyone else think of their IT department?

Re:What do you think of your IT department? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651722)

Having worked in IT, the problems rest with the technologically-inept managers. For one thing, budgeting. Why, oh why do they base the IT budget on what they spent in previous years? I can't tell you how many IT places crippled do to weird budgeting. Yes, just because we had to spend $100,000 last year when we bought all new servers and replaced half the workstations doesn't mean we are spending $100,000 this year. Or no, we spent only $15,000 last year but we need new servers and its time to replace a lot of workstations.

Windows gets priority because management likes to send us IT people to all kinds of Windows-based conferences so half the people in IT only know Windows. Management also likes to use "buzzwords" wanting us to use the "next big" (Windows-based) thing rather than develop a real solution using OSS technologies.

Almost all the problems that IT has, are problems management has given to us, and until we get some IT people in management, it is going to remain that way.

Re:What do you think of your IT department? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651890)

Windows requires constant security updates, but is there another specific reason why Windows is given such priority?

In our environment, three basic reasons:

A) Internet Explorer - it's actually specified by the vendor as the only supported browser to interface with their products.

B) Office - and in particular Word, Excel, and Outlook.

C) Active Directory Authentication - ala 'Single Sign-On'

Yes there are 'ways' to get the above on other platforms, but why? At least 'why, on boxes outside of expert hands'?

I can see it now... (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651572)

I can just see it:

In the year 2000, a 'leet' admin team was sent to the breadlines by the dot-com bust because of a business plan they weren't allowed to see. These men promptly escaped from a Geek Squad Double Agency into the Information Technology underground. Today, still owing taxes to the government, they survive as admins of fortune. If you have a problem...if no one else can help...and if you can find them...maybe you can hire...The A-Team

Hey, maybe I can someone to make this into a show!

Six Pages? (1)

alphax45 (675119) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651610)

Why is this on six pages? Fail!

A more realistic IT crew (5, Funny)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651614)

We have Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in Windows support. Bert and Ernie (both guys are gay) in the Mac Support dept and then Gonzo and Beaker in Unix/Linux systems department (one of them doubles as Oracle admin). They just hired a new IT manager, promoted from HR, who looks and acts a lot like Miss Piggy.

Re:A more realistic IT crew (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33651858)

We have Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in Windows support. Bert and Ernie (both guys are gay) in the Mac Support dept and then Gonzo and Beaker in Unix/Linux systems department (one of them doubles as Oracle admin). They just hired a new IT manager, promoted from HR, who looks and acts a lot like Miss Piggy.

And where does Animal fit in in all of this?

Re:A more realistic IT crew (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33652208)

"And where does Animal fit in in all of this?"

That's what she said.

Dreamjob (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33651670)

I call dibs on the midnight toker...

Intrinsically unstable (3, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651846)

Your first hurdle is trying to reign in those egos. Once geeks get above a certain level of (in their own minds, at least) elitism they tend to presume that everyone around them is an idiot. Put two of these people together and tantrums are far more common than any actual progress. Next up is the politics. Who works for whom? Does the network geek take orders from the database wizard? Can the storage guy tell the hairy-arsed windows hacker what needs to be done? Even if you can walk the tightrope of keeping everyone calm - there will almost certainly be tears before bedtime when it's time to apportion the recognition (or blame).

Finally, people with bleeding edge skills need to continually push the limits in order to keep those skills sharp. Does your organisation have enough crises happening frequently enough to stop these people getting bored? (If so, please tell me the organisation's name - I'll sell my stock immediately, at any price). Shorthand secretaries used to often leave jobs where they felt their abilities weren't being used - in the fear that they'd get rusty and their speeds would drop. Real geeks tend to be attracted by the next sparkly, shiny opportunity much more than staying put in one single job for long periods of time.

I cant see this sort of team being a practical proposition - except in the movies.

At a certain point, everyone else is an idiot. (2, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 3 years ago | (#33652196)

Once geeks get above a certain level of (in their own minds, at least) elitism they tend to presume that everyone around them is an idiot.

Think back to your school years. You progress through 12 years of school or whatever. Now compare yourself to someone who's repeated the 3rd grade over and over while you've been moving on.

In most of the sciences (yes, we're talking about computer science) there are a few people who know a LOT and LOT of people know very little.

If you keep learning, you WILL leave more and more people behind you.

Now, how do you feel when you're working extra weekends because those people who decided NOT to continue learning have broken something and YOU are the only one with the knowledge to fix it?

First rule of forming an A-Team of IT... (4, Funny)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 3 years ago | (#33651964)

First rule of making a team of this kind: You don't need a demolitions expert.

I know, you'd think any kind of team like this would need a demo man, but in fact, at least 80% of the time, high explosives are not the correct answer to your IT woes. This is the voice of experience talking.

Re:First rule of forming an A-Team of IT... (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33652052)

Sounds like someone didn't use enough high explosives!

Re:First rule of forming an A-Team of IT... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33652456)

oh, their gonna have to glue you back together... IN HELL!

From may hours of playing Team Fortress 2, I can tell you that you ALWAYS need a demoman. This is the voice of experience talking.

Whaa? (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#33652000)

If I get hired into one of these, will I have to get a mohawk? Because, you see, with my pattern baldness, it will end up looking like some strange japanese samauri thing, and I have serious problems talking without syncing with my lips.

More formulaic drivel. (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33652168)

"You can't tell the business side an idea is nonsense if they're the ones who came up with it," she says

If you can't then:

  1. you lack the necessary credentials in their eyes. Your team is not even the "B" team;
  2. you lack integrity in your teams eyes. They will not back you up, and with reason.

"It's not a good idea to piss off someone who can have you declared dead on every computer system on the planet," says Kadrich. "You're looking for people with the ability to break into systems and do things to people but who choose to use their powers for justice."

Again, this is just stupid. Fire that person, and fire the person who hired them. Most project fail because of people conflicts and poor communications, not technical skills.

"A lot of guys who know security really well can make something so secure nobody else can use it," he says. "You need somebody who knows where to draw the line."

If you can't follow what they've done, you are not fit to lead, and you've already let the whole ball of wax get even more out of control.

You want someone who's always trying out new things, that superuser who knows more about Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace

MySpace? Are you for real? MySpace? Oh, silly me - it's Troll Tuesday. "new things", "superuser" and "MySpace" are only found together on Troll Tuesday in this universe.

OT in a big way (3, Informative)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#33652328)

But, I watched Breakfast at Tiffany's a few years back with George Peppard as the male lead. He has one of the epically greatest monologues at the end. Kind of a shame that he'll be more remembered for the A-Team than that performance.

Ban smoking on the premises (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33652352)

Ban smoking both inside and out.
There's no sense in solving one problem while creating more. Craving for nicotine is also a distraction and smoke breaks are an unfair luxury to nonsmokers, not to mention nonsmokers bear a disproportionate burden of healthcare costs for smokers.

Roy Trenneman: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33652408)

Have you tried turning it off and on again?

Mr. T (1)

juan2074 (312848) | more than 3 years ago | (#33652442)

Mr. T just threatens users not to do any stupid shit.
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