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Overwhelming Bureaucracy in the IT Department?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the fight-the-inertia dept.

Businesses 591

Nedry57 asks: "I am in the somewhat unique position of being a technology worker, who lives outside of the IT department in my company (a very large organization in the US). By far, the biggest challenge I face is getting anything done due to the bureaucracy that exists, within IT. There are certain tasks (i.e. anything that happens in the data centers) that I don't have the access to do. Even a simple task, like installing more memory in a non-production server, can take nine months and massive mountains of paperwork (no exaggeration), thus costing many times more than it should. The lack of agility is maddening, because I know we are missing significant business opportunities. My management is extremely supportive and despite our excellent track record of success in creating robust/secure applications--our work has passed audit numerous times with flying colors--we get no support from IT. Even senior management can't break through the barrier. I am very interested in hearing the experiences Slashdot readers have had in similar situations." How do you get your technology work done, when your IT department is more hindrance than help?

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591 comments

IT (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14620800)

You don't. You fire them and outsource their jobs to India.

Re:IT (5, Insightful)

Fjan11 (649654) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620894)

I agree, let market economics do its work. Any outsourcing partner will be more than happy to upgrade your server in a matter of days. Of course outsourcing does land you with a whole new set of interesting problems (cost control!) but the net effect is positive on the whole. Flame me if you will, but there is a reason outsourcing is so popular with managers... most of the time you get a more responsive IT department for less money.

Re:IT (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14621090)

Remind me again how someone living in India is going to upgrade the installed RAM in a server located in the US?

Wouldn't it be a little expensive? Just think of all the plane tickets from & to India for each problem ticket this guy opens.

On one hand, if the IT department is genuinely sitting around with their thumbs up their ass, then fire them. Replace them with new workers, preferrably not from the old boys network that they were hired out of.

On the other hand, if the IT department isn't performing these upgrades because the company's high poobahs want their whiz-bang flat-screen gizmondo installed ASAP, damn the other tickets they have open, and the similar useless tasks - where IT is literally working their ass off but can't get to some tickets because of politically connected individuals are interjecting their useless projects into IT's workload - then the solution isn't to fire IT workers, it's to get IT more help. You can throw the workload of 10 people on 1 person, but they're unlikely to accomplish more than their workload - the absolute best you can hope for is for it to take 10 times as long to get through the same workload.

Re:IT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14621146)

One "pc jockey" can do that job for an entire IT department while at the same time the company has outsourced its 50 programmers for 150 Indian programmers at half the cost.

GNAA sux (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14620808)

just fyi

Take the rounded off cash.... (0)

d0nu7 (941456) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620810)

Simple, you just take the extra half a cent or so they round off with each transaction and put it into a bank account. Or just burn the building down. Either way works, well, maybe not for your question, but you won't have to deal with the bureaucracy.

How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14620815)

Say 5 Hail Marys and 7 Our Fathers.

No Exaggeration? (1, Insightful)

rco3 (198978) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620820)

Oh, now come on. I don't want to seem the pedant, but I believe that describing paperwork as "massive mountains" qualifies as exaggeration. Nine months, perhaps, may not be an exaggeration - but I'm seriously doubting that there is anything remotely resembling even a small hill.

OK, so I'm pedantic. Sue me.

Re:No Exaggeration? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14620877)

I think the word you're looking for is "spastic retard", not "pedant".

Re:No Exaggeration? (3, Insightful)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620902)

Where I work, it takes 6 months, minimum to get a server in a datacenter rack. Then the department pays in excess of $30,000 per server to "maintain" it.

IT departments run amok waste outrageous amounts of money. Those million dollar Oracle licenses and SANs have to be paid for somehow; and bueracracy helps cover up where the money is going.

Re:No Exaggeration? (4, Interesting)

iotashan (761097) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621068)

SBC corporate (now AT&T) is exactly like this. I was a contractor building an application in 3 months. IT said that it would take up to 12 months AFTER applying for a server in NEXT YEAR'S budget. That's right, it was going to take 16 months and several layers of approval. The VP of the entire division (only 1 person down from the CEO) couldn't bust through that red tape.

Now THAT was funny... 3 months later I had a working application sitting on a shared server, and I had to go. We had about 1 week's worth of data in there, but that was almost 100,000 rows in most tables.

Re:No Exaggeration? (1)

iotashan (761097) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621096)

Now that I think about it, they were considering putting all that non-customer data in a datacenter like Rackspace to get around the problem. What a joke!

Re:No Exaggeration? (4, Insightful)

Tuna_Shooter (591794) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621123)

Most of the Pharma data centers i've dealt with in the last 5 years are locked down VERY tight. They have to deal with 21 cfr part 11, Hippa, SOX and a list of others issues and as such sound EXACTLY like the situation you describe. Example, in order to upgrade from MSSQL 7.0 to MSSQL2000 on a Pharma house manufacturing server requires changes to the following: Changes to the original Validation Plan Detailed Design Specs Functional Requirements Specs IP's - Installation protocols OP's - Operational protocols QP's - Qualification protocols ALL of the above operations require testing-testing-testing, a multitude of meetings and of course approvals from God all along the way. Then QA-IT-Engineering has to oversee everything. Its a very cumbersome, expensive process. This is for your-our own good. I have seen manufacturing data corrupted if this process is not followed exactly. Remember this the next time you think about the consistancy of those pills you take.

Recognize those things you cannot change.... (3, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620824)

and leave!

Seriously, it seems that you have fought the good fight. Your managers ahve supported you, you have been at this for a long time, without effect. You now have a choice: accept that it probably won't change and that you can live with it, or leave.

Hear hear... (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620876)

I just left a company that was similar. I was a sys admin, and it was damn near impossible to do anything.

Once it gets to that point it most likely won't change, barring a CTO/CIO change.

It's infortunate, but that's how most companies operate. Top, down.

Re:Recognize those things you cannot change.... (1)

Kris_B_04 (883011) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621077)

That's where I seem to be at now....

Time to move on to better and greater things...

Kris

Re:Recognize those things you cannot change.... (4, Insightful)

rovingeyes (575063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621112)

Seriously, it seems that you have fought the good fight.

OK, by this point I have read TFA at least a few times and I still didn't find what was the good fight this guy fought. I mean he doesn't list any steps that he has taken to fight the IT department. He and his management are unhappy with the way IT department works. So just for argument sake, can I assume that you are making assumptions that may not be valid and drawing conclusions that are plain wrong?

I am not denying that this situations don't exist, but most people just whine about it, they don't do anything about it. For e.g. has this guy filed a formal written complaint to the upper management stating that the IT department is not co-operating? Has he tried forging some good rapport with the IT department? The only time any one remembers the IT department is when stuff don't work. Sometimes acknowledging that they are part of the company and their success may lead them to co-operate more. To support my argument read what the author states:

The lack of agility is maddening, because I know we are missing significant business opportunities. My management is extremely supportive and despite our excellent track record of success in creating robust/secure applications--our work has passed audit numerous times with flying colors--we get no support from IT.

So apparently according to him all the bad things that are happening in the company is due to the incompetence of IT and all the good things are happening because of his development team. Gimme a break!! That attitude (treating IT department like they are 3rd rate employees, a burden) is not going to get him or any body favors.

Suggestion to author: Try toning down your ego, treat IT department with respect, give them credit and appreciate their work. They are the ones who save your ass when you type "rm -rf /". And ocassionaly buy them beer and lunch and see those 9 months turn to 9 seconds!

Yes! (3, Interesting)

slashkitty (21637) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621161)

Man, I worked web development at a Bank that had so many levels of paperwork. The project I worked on was NOT related to handling money, it was just website stuff. Just to change on configuration value on a test (!) machine, I would have to fill out paperwork, get it signed by multiple people, attend a 1 hour meeting, and then pass off to engineering who would actually do the job (sometimes screwing it up)... What a mess.. Getting something on live, production servers was even worse! It would take me a year things that I had done in days in previous companies.

Now I run my own company with lots of production severs.. No paperwork required, and I've automated most stuff.

If you are stiffled, go out!

Buy In Or Bail Out (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14620834)

It's simple. Either you get the buy-in of upper management, CIO, CFO, CEO and effect a change in the present system or you bail out and get a job in another company. You and your immediate supervisor, obviously an inconsequential middle manager, will hold no sway and make no changes. All that you and he will do is rock the boat and develop a bad reputation in the company. Get upper management buy-in or bail out!

P.S. It sounds like you need to acquire funding for a development and testing lab that is not under IT however, do not expect to connect such a lab to IT's network.

Re:Buy In Or Bail Out (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14620949)

I've done that in research. We did all our own IT for 4 years, and regularly sent explicit debugging instructions and notices of disabled company wide services to IT. It came to a head when one of the senior employees started an IT committee meeting, the IT director showed up at them regularly, and every time he said "can't be done" I showed him my published notes or whitepapers on exactly how to do such services with no additional hardware.

He hated me, or should have, but eventually resigned and was replaced by a new head of IT with company agreement from the board of directors that it was time to enter at least the 1980's in the computing world, if not the 21st century. But to make such a person resign you have to get the failures on paper: record these failures, get them on paper, get the data collected, and present them on a regular basis to your supervisor and theirs as appropriate.

deal with it (1, Insightful)

TheRealBurKaZoiD (920500) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620840)

be grateful you have a job. it's obvious there is nothing you can do about it, so why are you sweating it? go with the flow and live a less-stressed existence. it's not worth creating ripples. the only people who judge you for your work aptitude are you and other men; no one else cares.

Re:deal with it (5, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621028)

be grateful you have a job. it's obvious there is nothing you can do about it, so why are you sweating it? go with the flow and live a less-stressed existence. it's not worth creating ripples. the only people who judge you for your work aptitude are you and other men; no one else cares.
Well all right! Way to spend your life being a doormat.

Sure -- if I can read between the lines of what you seem to be saying -- the chicks might not care if you're good at your work or not. But some of those mere "other men" you mention might also happen to sign your paychecks.

The guy was complaining that his company is missing significant business opportunities. Translation: The company is missing significant business opportunities that he could have been instrumental in acting upon. But he can't, because of IT bureaucracy.

OK, so it's not his fault -- but do you think that's going to matter next time he goes in for a raise or a promotion? They'll want to see all the forward-thinking plans he's executed on, and he's going to have nothing, because trying to do anything is like wading through mud.

Even worse, what happens when it's time to a round of layoffs? What justification will he have to keep his job then?

Maybe it's easy for you to just sit there and be grateful you have a job. If it is, it's probably because you've only had one or two entry-level jobs. For people who have had a job for a number of years, however, just having a job no longer seems like Goal #1. Those people start to have other ambitions -- like buying a house, for instance, or a new car, or providing for their families. Maybe you've put yourself through college. Have you put anybody else through college lately? Dads sometimes like to do those kinds of things. They're hard to do when you've spent the last five or ten years sitting at the same desk in the basement, just spinning your wheels.

But do you like your job? (1)

criznach (583777) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620848)

I guess it depends if you like your job or not. If you do, complain until it gets done, or until IT tells you it's impossible. If you don't, just sit back and wait for the IT department to do what you could have done yourself in 5 minutes.

It's all relative.... (3, Interesting)

TeleoMan (529859) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620853)

Depends where you work and what your company is doing. Are you working for Oracle or IBM or any huge mega-IT company? Then, of course, the Powers That Be need significant background work before something seemingly as mundane as adding memory to a machine can be green-lit. Do you work for a hospital's IT department? Or a finanacial institution? Then certainly significant safe-guards need to be in place before changes are made. But if you're working for a relatively small, non-IT company and you have to jump through rings of fire for changes to non-prod system I'd have to wonder what in the world is going on.

Get the work done. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14620858)

its easier to ask for forgiveness than permission

Root the servers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14621211)

I am in the same boat working in the HR department of an oil company.

My solution was to take what I needed.

Just write some little service and convince them it needs to run on one of the servers with Admin privilages. Leave a little backdoor for yourself that will allow you to execute arbitrary code.

Problem solved.

- Anonymous Coward

PS: HR trusts me to move tens of millions of payroll dollars around every week but the IT people required waaaaay to much "change management process" to alter a simple HTML page on a development web server for a deparmental intranet site. The only logical thing to do is gain remote control over the servers.

Not an IT-specific problem (5, Insightful)

sczimme (603413) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620859)


This is not an IT-specific problem: all functional areas in large organizations are vulnerable to this sort of bureaucratic barbed wire.

Even a simple task, like installing more memory in a non-production server, can take nine months and massive mountains of paperwork (no exaggeration), thus costing many times more than it should. The lack of agility is maddening, because I know we are missing significant business opportunities.

If you know that there are real costs associated with the lack of agility, you should a) document in detail the actual losses, b) present these figures calmly and respectfully, and c) gauge the reaction from senior management.

Work for Yourself (3, Interesting)

mysqlrocks (783488) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620864)

Get a new job working for yourself or a start-up. Large companies (like the one you are working for) tend to have a lot of bureaucracy. Smaller companies tend to have less bureaucracy. Not to say this has to always be the case, there are certainly exceptions. Good luck changing the IT culture. Once a corporation or a department develops a certain culture or way of operating it is usually very difficult to change. Sorry, this is probably not what you wanted to hear.

That inertia exists only with help (3, Insightful)

fair_n_hite_451 (712393) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620866)

Somewhere in the senior echelons of your organization exists a guy. This guy (likely at the CIO level or higher) is either willfully ignorant of the nature of the IS organization which reports up to him, or he's actively encouraging the situation.
 
If it's the former, you need to find out who it is that's allowing the inefficient environment to foster and take steps (and obviously "you" aren't the answer, but one of his peers or superiors is) to educate him on how things could improve.
 
If it's the latter, and he's actively promoting that method of interaction because it keeps their costs down, or reduces headcount, or whatever AND if he has the buy-in of his peers and immediate superior, you're screwed. I suggest looking to outsource your department's IT requirements to a 3rd party if you can't bring them into your own group.

Conflicting Goals (5, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620870)

Progress and stability are often conflicting goals. IT departments generally prefer stability, and that's why your deployments have probably been so stable and passed so many audits. Developers, of course, are charged with driving progress.

The real answer if you need flexibility with regards to "non-production stuff" is to not let IT have anything to do with it at all. Create a separate sub-net if you have to to keep the non-production machines off the IT network, and a firewall between your network and theirs to prevent any viruses, or other effects, from leaking from your net to theirs (this may require having to VPN through it just to work with these machines, c'est la vie). Keep the machines in a different room than the official server room. Maintain them all 100% yourself. Then do what you need to. Anything less and you're asking IT to aid in your development, a task they're probably not equipped to do while maintaining stability.

It's not uncommon for companies to have a "developer", "staging", and "live" system setup that are all completely independent, with some established mechanism and metrics to push products from one level to the next.

Re:Conflicting Goals (5, Insightful)

Xzzy (111297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621117)

Create a separate sub-net if you have to to keep the non-production machines off the IT network, and a firewall between your network and theirs to prevent any viruses, or other effects, from leaking from your net to theirs

Just take special care to educate everyone using the private network that it's not supported by the IT department, and questions regarding such are likely to be met with quite a bit of hostility. I work on the other side of the fence from the story submitter, and the general feeling is that even the technologiclly minded developers don't know diddly about maintaining a stable server. People are generally encouraged to set up their own work environment, but as soon as root access is given out it's made clear that it is no longer our (that is, IT's) problem.

More importantly, after a couple years of running a private network, never ever consider passing off the burden of maintaining the rickety development system that is suddenly 24x7 critical to IT. Those kinds of moves are exactly the kind that destroy IT's willingness to accomodate user requests.

Re:Conflicting Goals (1)

Organic_Info (208739) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621191)

I was going post at the top level but the above comment sums up what I was going to say.

Having been through some business training recently you have to ask what is your IT departments mandate/goals and are they in line with the rest of the company or your department. Its can be quite illuminating that when you drill down to the core purpose of some departments you can find that they are not supposed to do what you/everybody expects.

You should try it with your own job roles and departments, examine the work that is performed keep asking why you do it and eventually you get to the core reason (I forget what the name for the methodology is called). If you have a job role or department mandate there can be quite a gulf when compared.

Perhaps you should try (4, Funny)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620872)

Moving to another company besides Microsoft?

Re:Perhaps you should try (1)

pl1ght (836951) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620885)

Goes to show how ignorant people who always say what you say are. It has more to do with being publically listed with the SEC. Sarbanes-Oxley. Do a little reading on it. Linux or MS it wouldnt make a difference. Geeze kids. BTW, id like to personally thank Enron for making our lives that much harder.

Re:Perhaps you should try (1)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621066)

Well, I was attempting to be funny and evidently failing. I actually am familiar with Sarbanes-Oxley [com.com], which focuses on retention of data (e.g. e-mail and business records). I don't think it applies to adding hardware to servers.

I work for a large healthcare organization, dealing with HIPPA regulations and the like. That doesn't seem to stop our network team from tossing in new hardware left and right. Shucks, we had a brief downtime for one of our servers and within a couple weeks they were ordering hardware to set up a cluster. It sounds more like a staffing and culture issue than anything else.

Re:Perhaps you should try (3, Informative)

pl1ght (836951) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621101)

Apparently you are NOT familiar with Sarbanes-Oxley. In a nutshell its about accountability. Adding hardware/software/configuration changes to any server etc that falls under critical apps, development, financial information, etc etc etc, needs to have a request approved by the said "business owner"(dept head) of that particular systems use. I suppose how critical your systems are depends on your companys business, but I work for a very large retail chain and most of our systems have some sort of "sensitive" info on them that require a recorded history when any change needs to be made and who approved the change.

Re:Perhaps you should try (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621210)

Sox is really a lot more

It has slowed IT productivity down by a factor of 8x.

Projects that would take 40 hours in 2001 take 8 weeks today because of accountability issues, paperwork, and required meetings.

We've had the work done and waited 4-5 weeks for the paperwork to reach the right state before we could even check the code in to the production codebase.

It's truly insane.

Recently, it was going to take us about 5 weeks (with maybe 40 hours of actual human time) to make a 5 minute change to an html help file in production (we had to do all ourchange stuff then we had to meet with IBM to do all their change stuff and schedule a day for the change and a 2 week regression test to be sure the bloody html file wouldn't break anything). At about 10 days into it, management came to their senses and said "Do it!"- we still did all the paperwork (SOX don't you know) but it saved us 3 weeks turnaround.

you need more meetings (5, Funny)

juan2074 (312848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620874)

Management can keep holding long meetings to find out why work is not getting done.

I worked for the government... (2, Interesting)

lbrandy (923907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620890)

... and with a subject like that.. you aren't going to here what you expect:

The military (USAF) had a very good IT setup (overall) that was basically setup the way you'd set up a good memory architecture.. you have a hierarchy of IT with the most used/essentialy tasks able to be done close to where they requests come from, and build upwards and outwards. Those local people were "fired" (in the government people don't actually get fired, but moved) if they didn't perform, and they were basically giving the keys to their kingdom. In the grand-scheme of things, it actually ran pretty effeciently, and we were never waiting on IT for more than a day, except in the most extreme cases.

That being said, the military has a pretty large vested interest in people being able to work and use their computers (ie, the cost of failure can be scrubbed missions which equates to huge amounts of money down the drain) so things tended to Darwin into a workable system. It sounds like your company's IT organization is just immature or flat-out poor (I don't mean in money... althought that could explain poor quality, also), and the powers that be don't seem interested in fixing it.

Re:I worked for the government... (1)

smallferret (946526) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621050)

I too worked for the government. The National Park Service, to be exact, and we were not nearly so lucky. We had our internet access cut off for a few months by that federal judge for security breaches. We had the blaster worm take down the entire park (one of the top-5 most visited). In the summer of 2004. And we were down for three weeks. Requests to install software were still not fulfilled after 6 months, when my job ended. (just trying to upgrade one computer to the standard version of Office) I ended up doing what a few other people suggested above--I just built a network to do what I needed to do, and we had to dial in to access the main network. What an ugly mess.

IMO... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14620893)

I work in the I.T. department for a decently sized company, also based in the U.S. My understanding is that a fair amount of the time upper management, and so on, expects I.T. to be able to solve problems on a whim. Now, I will admit, waiting several months for a RAM upgrade is in fact pretty rediculas. Problems like that do not need to exist in a corporation. I am of the opinion that your technology department simply isn't working together well enough, and might be lacking motivation. If you get the right workers, with the right manager, in the right environment with the correct amount of motivation, your technology department will be one step ahead of the companies needs. A good IT department seeks improvements to the already existing network. A bad IT department sits around waiting to be told what to do by upper management, or waiting for something to break. What kind of people are you employing? Smart ones, no doubt... But motivated ones? I could be way off, for all I know you have the best IT staff in the world and it's the process of communication and work that is clogging things up. Maybe it is something different still. Personally, from experience, I would point more towards the people who work for you, with you, and what they aren't being offered to do a better job. :)

I understand - sort of (2, Insightful)

wetfeetl33t (935949) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620899)

I've worked in similiar situations, except from the opposite side (the bureaucratic IT department). I recall having many employees outside the IT department being technically competent, who should have been allowed to work as they see fit, as though they were actually part of the IT dept. (assuming they just communicate with them) The issue was that we had to cover ourselves - ie, if we were responsible for something, then we sure as heck didn't want anyone, technically competent or otherwise, touching it. Efficient? no. It was just the way it had to be for us to feel like we were doing our jobs.

IT is subject to the red tape too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14620901)

You'd be surprised how difficult it is in the IT dept. to get anything done. We slow people down because the beauracracy slows us down. It takes that 9 months just for us to get management or a customer to agree to a change window that causes a 1 minute outage to the network. Than fda or security regulations require us to document everything in triplicate and have 49 people sign off on it and than video record ourselves doing it to prove that it wasn't a hacker doing the change. *ok the video and 49 people are a bit of an exageration, but you get the point.

Move to IT (3, Insightful)

gstevens (209321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620905)

It sounds like the bureaucracy is going to be tough to change. However, is it possible to get your group moved *inside* of IT so you can get the job done? It might require less work to do this and still let you get your job done.

It sounds silly, but if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

We guard you while you sleep. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14620907)

Look, the people you are after are the people you depend on. We install your memory, we code your apps. We run the internets, we guard you while you sleep. Do not... fuck with us.

Dear IT Professional: (5, Funny)

path_man (610677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620919)

Dear IT Professional:

Please don't change anything about the way your IT organization does business. We love the way you and your team fail to communicate; the way mindless mandates from on-high drive pointless initatives; the way the latest technology trend shifts focus from project to project like the attention span of a two-year-old.

Especially don't pay any attention to streamlining the use of hardware and software investments that you've already made. You and your team need MORE MORE MORE to get this project wrapped up on time. Have you upgraded to the newest rev of our software? Can't you just taste the new-and-improved speed of our lastest hardware?

In summary, we love the way your IT organization is today, and wouldn't change a single thing.

Yours Truly, Your software & hardware vendors

They DENY you for a reason (4, Insightful)

MagikSlinger (259969) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620921)

"Our SAMBA connection is broken. Something changed over the weekend."
"Nothing changed over the weekend."
"You sure about it? Why does the AD server report it's running Server 2003 now?"
"Oh that? We tried to implement Windows Server 2003 to replace our AD server, but we backed it out."
*boggle*

That conversation was with our IT dept. In any controlled environment, things should be thought out, documented and multiple sanity checks performed. Even a dev system can impact a production system if they run on the same segment.

Now, having said that, our IT dept tends to mindlessly enforce rules without thinking about them and getting them to wake up to new technologies (e.g., SOAP, web apps) is like trying to bring around a corpse with smelling salts.

A good IT department should make sure things happen in a controlled and documented way, but should also make it as painless as possible to follow the rules. They should be proactive so if you come to them with something new you want to implement. Not only will they know what you're talking about, but have already prepared a white paper of preferred architecture for performance & security.

A really good IT department brings something to the table.

Business Cases (3, Informative)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620925)

At a very well-known, well-funded, academic institute, I had to write a formal business case to submit to not one but TWO directors to justify why I needed an extra 512MB in my laptop...despite the fact that it would at worst be about fifty bucks and, regardless, it was a FREE upgrade. A "business case." Honestly. I didn't have to write a !#%ing "business case" for the laptop itself! The amount of time spent biatching over that $0.00 basically could have paid for the whole g.d. machine, gig included.

Middle management as a disease (2, Informative)

AERUN - Prime (951310) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620927)

You do the best you can. If you care enough about the job to stay, I would make sure that senior management knows where the bottle-neck is. When giving status reports diplomatically remind people that "Item X,Y and Z" are not released due to delays in IT. I feel for you, my company was infected by middle management about 8 months ago, now releases that took me 30 seconds (literally I timed it) now take 2 weeks at the minimum.

Sounds like a victim of.. (0, Redundant)

xot (663131) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620929)

BOFH!

For those who dont know what im talking about can read .. the bofh archives [theregister.co.uk].

Re:Sounds like a victim of.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14621094)

Are you kidding? Everyone knows BOFH.

Its even on the slashdot registration page.

Marketing Dweeb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14620931)

The lack of agility is maddening, because I know we are missing significant business opportunities.

"Business Opportunities" -- this ain't no technology worker.

unique (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14620939)

>Nedry57 asks: "I am in the somewhat unique position of being a technology worker, >who lives outside of the IT department in my company (a very large organization >in the US).

There is no such thing as "somewhat unique" it is either unique, or not unique. Please learn to use English.

Ignore the IT department (1)

KillerBeeze (756541) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620941)

Ignore them setup a lab in your work area for business development, then tell them hands off. Maybe they will get jealous.

But seriously it sound like your IT management needs a shakeup. Firing a few people now and then can also lead to improved performance.

lol

Someone has to keep the bigger picture in mind (4, Insightful)

millisa (151093) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620943)

First off, 9 months seems excessive. Very little should take longer than a business quarter.

However, in my experience every person outside of IT and security groups has this mindset that IT groups hinder them for no real reason.

I do not doubt there is bureacracy that slows every company's process. However, the fact that you want a change made to one system now doesn't change that these IT people are responsible for the effects any change might have on an entire organization. I don't know how many times I hear "But all I want is X". And that person requesting 'X' doesn't realize that 'X' has these 3 possible security issues associated with it. Maybe it won't effect his server even if it is exploited, but that risk has to be evaluated, approved and lord knows what else.

The fact is, every change *must* go through a certain amount of bureacracy to make sure all that it could effect have taken the appropriate level of responsibility.

My best advice is work through your own internal processes to see if turnaround time can be expedited. Maybe all they need is a motivated developer type with your skills to assist in making their change control system better. Or maybe there are things you don't see. Don't assume IT folk are just pushing your stuff back because they don't like you (though that could be a factor). If you can get a 'champion' type in your IT group that can help you get your stuff moved through the most efficiently.

But in the end, it is not up to you to decide what priority your request is given over someone else's. Even a simple request should be evaluated properly and must be given priority that is likely outside the IT drone's choice... Maybe your manager/director type needs to champion your projects to get them pushed through with greater priority . ..don't assume the issue is on the IT side I guess is the gist of it.

Oh, and Bill said he didn't wanna give you your ram because you ate his pudding cup.

Bullshit (0, Flamebait)

pinkythecat (879883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620946)

"I know we are missing significant business opportunities."

Really, how?

That nine month memory install causea a "significant: loss? Either you work for children or you are a child.

Welcome to IT (1, Insightful)

Doctor_D (6980) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620954)

Seems like most IT Depts have one problem or another. Sometimes there's no structure to be able to get things done. Sometimes the management doesn't care, and hence can't get approval to get anything done. Or management cares too much, and you're spinning your wheels in meetings for most of the shift and can't get anything done.

Personally I'm considering getting out of the field. I love technology, I love playing with multi-million dollar servers, I enjoy helping users out of a problem (as long as they're reasonable about their problem. If they're not reasonable, they find the BOFH in me.) But the endless rat race in the IT field definatley wears on ya.

Look... it's like this (0, Troll)

ellem (147712) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620955)

Us IT types have no real control over anything in the human realm because we are socially awkward and ill prepared to mete out our skill. To make good on our high school threats of revenge we muct abuse Users. Thusly we must make them grovel to us for our massive IT arcana!

Get a voice modulator and call as a girl - that will assure a quick resolution at all times!

How I got off the ground (1)

oaksong (894169) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620975)

Been there. Done that. I went to the CEO of the company the day I left and had a heart to heart for an hour. I was able to do this 'cause I'd known him since I was in my early teens. His wife happened to be one of my mother's best friends. Six months later he fired the head of IT. So it's really a matter of who you know.
I can't begin to tell you how many times I've fought this battle in both the public and private sector. Your best resource is your audit track record. You have to find a diplomatic way of putting a squeeze on them.
If you've got an internal billing situation for IT support, you need to find out how to cut the bill from them. This will pressure them to provide services. If the amount is to small to jump there radar you're pretty much SOL.
Alternatively, ignore them. Get your own budget from your own operation and freeze them out, pretty much the same as outsourcing to India. This will also get the attention of your mamouth companies budget office. If you can prove savings, it'll give you some more leverage against the IT rascals.
Go dumpster diving around their office after hours and see if you can find some malfeasance. Report it to the company auditors. Take over the IT dept. Man the barracades and raise the flags. It's a shooting war!!!

"We're Not Freaking NASA" (5, Interesting)

Chagatai (524580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620984)

I worked for a meat producer, with a staff of 60 IT folks for a company of 20,000. At the time, I was a real security nut and wanted to improve the company as much as possible. I was there for about a month when I spoke with one of the IT directors about the company's security policy. His response? "There is no security policy."

He and others in the IT department tried doggedly to get security noticed, only to be shot down by executive management. To paraphrase the CFO and strip out the gratutious profanity, "We're a meat company. We turn happy cows into happy steaks and happy pigs into happy bacon. We're not freaking NASA. We don't need to worry about our computers like Lockheed Martin does."

Several months later a virus hits the company and the phone system, which includes all sales offices, dies. I rush and get the tools to remove the virus in every hand possible.

Ultimately, as I was leaving the company, they finally hired a security manager. This was only because of Sarbanes-Oxley, and that person was given the role of a paper tiger--no authority to change things to be more secure, but a perfect picture for blame should something go awry.

When I left, I entered another office with other politics, but it is nowhere as bad as it was there.

I've always hated this concept... (1, Informative)

numbski (515011) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620985)

...but in some places it actually works.

It is easier to beg forgiveness than it is to ask permission. Do what needs to be done, apologize later.

Just don't screw something else up in the process. :\

Dammit, Already! (4, Funny)

errxn (108621) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620991)

I get on /. to try and escape this crap for a few minutes! Thanks a bunch!

Break Off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14620992)

So get your servers out of the data center and support your own stuff if it's that important to you. When central IT says "no", find a way to get it done. The people who make a difference don't play by all the rules; sometimes the system that finds itself being used throughout the institution is the one that was started from a machine under somebody's desk. Just as users find a way to force the information they need into systems that were poorly developed and don't offer what they need, IT professionals need to find a way to make things work. Do you really think the people who wrote the rules expect them to be followed to the letter? I suspect that 90% of the time, they don't...and if yours does, feel free to find another employer that actually fosters productivity and efficiency.

Local Outsourcing (1)

ZeroConcept (196261) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620997)

- Look for an external company that is dedicated IT support outsourcing (local, so they can be on site if needed).
- Invite them and ask them for a proposal to replace your current IT dept in some functions (make sure to get respose times and costs).
- Show them to senior management, an ask internal IT to make a counter offer.

IT needs to start treating you like a customer, not like a problem that needs to be dealt with.

It's all about the benjamins (1)

z3r0w8 (664036) | more than 8 years ago | (#14620998)

Having been engaged several times to improve data center and IT processes and procedures on several occassions and by a few very large organizations, it has been my experience that the best method to effect change is to show losses in dollars (or whatever) because of the process. You pointed out losses to business opportunities. This is a perfect example of showing that the process is keeping the company from making more money. That is the bottome line (no pun intended).

You should also note that along with the dollars we could have made, the additional risks will also have to be calculated. You could lose revenue based on what incompetent boob you sent to down the server to put in memory. As always, upper management will not only want the potential revenues gains but also what are the risks involved in pusing faster or changing the process.

l8r, z3r0

in answer to your question... (3, Funny)

know1 (854868) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621003)

what was your username again? *clickety click*

Re:in answer to your question... (1)

javaxman (705658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621179)

what was your username again? *clickety click*

har har.

All these other guys think they're so funny, but that was the comment that actually made me laugh out loud... even if it's perfectly lifted from the BOFH stories, it's, well... perfect...

I do my best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14621006)

I work and attend a university where the guys in IT simply don't know how to do their jobs. The worst part is when you ask them to do something they know how to do that makes sense or is a great idea, they wait for you to leave the school or work to get you fired (recently happened to my supervisor) before implementing the idea so they can have credit for it. The "Helpdesk" refuses to help anyone with questions about non-school equipment, so in my free time, I go help students with computer problems. I'm known as the guy who's good with computers. All I can say is after attending this long and working student positions in various departments around the school, I'm glad this is my final semester. I'm moving on to bigger things.

Be nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14621009)

In all seriousness the trick is to become friends with someone in IT, as many people as possible. Take smoke breaks with them, take them out to lunch for no reason, whatever. DON'T get mad or try to challenge them. They have the admin passwords, and you don't, and it will always be that way -- but beneath all those official policies are a million case-by-case decisions that get made depending on how somebody feels that day.

Get to the "root" of the matter (1)

PinkPanther (42194) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621013)

Find the grunts at the bottom of the IT organization...the ones who actually do the work.

Once you have the contact, you need to work them. Make them realize you aren't a moron (i.e. a typical customer of theirs), and that you are willing to help them out where you can. I often offer to help out with simple s/w upgrades or to go answer some end-user's question about MS-Office or whatever.

You likely have to put up with their blabbering about their views of the OS/editor/language wars, or other geekout topics, but the idea is to keep them as a friend. Ping them from time to time asking about their kids, or their whacked out computer, or their modded coffee machine or whatever it is they are in to.

Also make them realize that you realize there's a bureaucracy that needs to be worked within. Offer to open support tickets for any work they are doing for you "outside of the loop" to make sure they get credit for the work. Also put in their name for "star performer" awards or whatever type of reward system your company may have.

pp.

Get on your knees and take a shot in the mouth... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14621016)

About this time last year I was working for a large US govt and State subsidised hospital in the deep south. I won't mention the name of this place...http://www.umc.edu/ [umc.edu] But said location was the biggest single waste of taxpayer money I've ever seen in my life. Ever.

I think you work there too.

I spent 8 months building a J2EE application stack, framework, data aggregation, system integration, etc. The darn thing can easily change the way that hospital runs, as it aggregates data from all their major systems into a coheasive, normalized, well formed data base with a clear, orthogonal object model on top of it. We used it to write a "system critical" application. It was beautiful.

Then it came time to pony up cash for the hardware and software to run all this. This place will drop -millions- on an IBM mainframe and _really_shitty_ HR software and consultants to make it work, but they would barely budge in making a major infrastructure and integration investment, when the entire campus was clamouring for it. The place is now able to deliver highly integrated, damn slick applications (thanks to me and my two cohorts who worked on it) but they dont -- because of the bureaucracy.

They also treat their employees like shit.

Never the less, after negotiating prices with vendors, we got the total cost for hardware / software to under $60k, (nearly 1/3rd the list prices for the software/services!!) and I was still walking around the office literally saying, "How many dicks do I have to suck to get $60k of funding around here?"

No kidding, I said it, out loud, repeatedly. At that point, I was actually -trying- to get fired. I knew the place was a hell hole, even if I did learn a ton, and really enjoy most of the work.

Eventually, we managed to get our funding without having to "take one for the team." And yes, I did in fact tell my coworkers that if it would let me get some goddamn work done, "I'll happily take a shot or two in the mouth if it means we won't have to put up with this bullshit for another three months."

Oh, and once we did get hardware, it took EIGHT MONTHS for the admins to get a STABLE INSTALL OF REDHAT AS on it.

NO KIDDING. EIGHT FUCKING MONTHS. I had to reinstall our software stack FOUR times because they were SO INCOMPETANT at INSTALLING A FSCKING OS. GAH!!!

(Ed Anderson, you're not incompetant, but you've become totally complacent. Thanks for at least trying for a while.)

However, David Massey, Mike Smith, Jerra Anderson, you should all be fired for being stupid fscks. Oh, and Steve Roberts, don't forget to say a prayer of that coffee that you charge your subordinates to drink, even though according to the CIO, "there's money in the personell budget I can't spend because I have no where to put it." Meanwhile, they want to pay Sr. Application developers 36k/yr to live in that shithole of town. Guh.

So glad I'm out of there.

Re:Get on your knees and take a shot in the mouth. (1)

pinkythecat (879883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621109)

"Get on your knees and take a shot in the mouth."

Why you already have?

Mice buzz word usage! You are the man!

Improved POI, data integration, seamless user interface, data aggregation.

Jackoff.

Task Tracking (1)

BlackMagi (605036) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621017)

In cases like this, where a problem is more groupwise than individual, it can be hard to solve. The situation is that the I.T. dept do not feel accountable, and prefer to pursue their own goals and practises, whatever they may be. The best solution is new blood in the I.T. dept, preferably lots of it. If that can't be achieved, a hard line from management can help. Sometimes, even that's not enough. If the dept are still (somewhat) fulfilling their function, then it's hard to edge them out based on simple frustration. They just fall back on "we do what we can/should", which is exactly what they want. I often deal with this kind of problem, and it's incredibly frustrating. As I have no real power in my org, I mostly have to just live with it, and do the best for myself. But if you have the backing, shining a light on the problem (preferably a light which reflects things in dollar terms, an unusual piece of the EM spectrum), may help. Alternatively, there's the "just do it" approach. Buy a development server, do whatever the hell you want without asking, and wait for them to start screaming when the most important systems start to move outside their sphere of control. Wag the dog a bit. Cheers, -MP

You never leave it... (1)

thb3 (19142) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621040)

Just realize that you never leave high school. There are still clics, there are still popular people, jocks, nerds etc... The sooner you realize this the sooner you realize it is hopeless. :)

Don't even get us started. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14621041)

--The Slashdot Community

Risk and Age (2, Insightful)

TedTschopp (244839) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621053)

I think the most important thing to remeber about Large Companies is that most large companies are old companies.

Most Old Companies are very slow. They are slow becuase they have learned a lot of very painful lessons over the many years. They purposfully slow things down to insure that all the old lessons and painful experiences are taken into account.

The way this is done is through paperwork, meetings, agreements, etc... Think of it as the company is protecting itself from the stupid decisions of the past.

Don't underestimate a bribe (2, Interesting)

Thauma (35771) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621058)

Make friends with somebody in IT, grease the proverbial wheels. A case of beer can do wonders for motivation.

How do you get work done? You don't! (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621063)

Very seriously, you don't get your work done. There is no sense in covering up for other's incompetence by being super-competant yourself. They call that co-dependant facilitating.

Don't! When management complains about productivity, calmly give them detailed chapter and verse written during your "on call" downtime. Then management can make informed decisions. Which they cannot if you keep covering for IT.

Brother (1)

crstophr (529410) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621086)

I'm with you. I'm a UNIX admin in a really big company now. The smaller comany I was in was recently purchased by said big company. It's been like swimming though syrup trying to get things done anymore.

One way to make things happen fast is to say that NOT doing X will incure a risk to the company. You say, we need RAM this week or production app X may break. Every day send out an email to the effect of "6 days until system failure..." The countdown of doom.

Another is to use process management judo. Attach your need to the success of a project, make installation of that RAM a line item in MS Project. Then just sit back and let the project manager drive. When he asks about that item you say, "I have been unable to get a response from IT on that. Oh my, I hope it doesn't hold up our project." The project manager will go nuts.

Learn to use your bosses to your advantage. You boss calls there boss and things will happen.

Remember that in IT you're dealing with a bunch of geeks. Aspergers syndrome, mild Autism in individuals is par for the course. Learn to recognize those people (hint, they're the ones with all the talent and strange personality quirks). The communication skills of those folks can be terrible. Get over that and make a friend that can be a resource for you in the future.

Everyone is accountable for their actions. It is OK to call the boss of group or person in question and politely say, "Hi, I put in this request some time ago and haven't heard anything back, can you help me figure out where this got dropped?" No manager wants his team to be percieved as dropping important tasks.

Finally, be sure you're not asking for things you have no authority to ask for. If you're asking that company money be spent then you should have written approval. If you're one of those people who constantly insists they need things that cost money or require major time commitments from others then they are right to ignore you without an approved project and management buyoff.

--Chris

Self-preservation (1)

ewg (158266) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621087)

Sometimes it's self-preservation on the part of the bureaucrats.

I've started insisting on emailed instructions and approvals from my boss and other internal clients, for protection when controversy erupts. Managers tell me we have a small, friendly company, but it doesn't feel that way when the CEO calls a meeting on five minutes notice, requiring the presence of everyone between him and me, to discuss something I did based only on someone's verbal approval.

Make It Happen (5, Interesting)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621089)

Some number of years ago, I found myself in charge of a private infrastructure. We had maybe 50 servers and 400 users exchanging sensitive information completely seperate from the main, public network.

Because of the percived importance of uptime on this network, everything required mountians of paperwork. Installing and removing nodes from the domain required three administrators, setting up a new machine required a month on a private VLAN being monitored by a sniffer, memory and hard drives were obselete before they got to the customer.

Anyone who ever worked around an UPS knows how they die. They give plenty of warning. Having an UPS fail is a rediculous way to lose your backbone infrastructure.

My predicessor had done a wonderful job of installing an UPS for every router and switch in the datacenter. Problem is, both power supplies in the routers and switches were connected to the same UPS. In cases where an UPS was about to fail, he unplugged the UPS from the wall and plugged it into, you guessed it, another UPS.

He didn't do it out of ineptitude; it was done because the only option was to clash heads with the IT overlords. They would require studies about how many UPSs failed and if it failed before the MTBF, they'd want us to try and recover money from the manufacturer. They'd want contractors to come in and examine the UPS to bid on a UPS monitor and replacement contract.

In short, asking the overlords was like asking to be turked by a syphalitic bear.

So, some BOFH, overwhelmed by the prospect of repairing the power system, chose another path. He walked over to a failing UPS and simply turned it off. He was the only one with the access to turn it back on, so he had no reason to worry.

Within two hours, all in-progress meetings were cancled. The Supreme Overlords demanded from on high that this lowly tech was to get a blank check and a blank trouble ticket (approved by the Supreme Overlords) to do whatever he needed to do to prevent that from ever happening agian.

Electricians installed two seperate power feeds into every rack.

Each power supply got a seperate UPS.

Old equipment was updated.

Everything was strawberry fields and unicorn giggles after that for the infrastructure department.

Now, to answer your question: You have something that someone wants. Hold it hostage till you get what you need.

Sounds like the management don't trust you (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621092)

I've seen situations like this in organisations I've contracted at. It seems that when "the management" loses confidence in the IT people they increase the amount of oversight and planning associated with any new task. This is to prevent problems from occurring, as they may have in the past. Or at least to act as a CYA for the decision makers. You have these options:
- leave
- go with the flow. Find alternative outlets for your energy outside of work
- fight the system
- ignore the system and JFDI

Get a senior manager onside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14621105)

Our small web development company was recently bought by a multinational firm that was not IT based. As a small company we had complete control over hosting, what applications were installed and types of production and development servers. When we still maintain control over the hosting side the internal IT department has control over our development machines and local laptops. One of the ways of getting around problems is that several very senior managers are on our side and understand the problems we face. If we experience any delays (like a day, not nine months) we have someone very senior to speak to the IT department. Any delays would be unacceptable to us and affect our profitability. It's in the companies interest to get us what we want.

Welcome to the real world. (1)

javaxman (705658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621108)

I'm sure there will be plenty of comments like mine, but... welcome to the real world.

First off, your position is not unique at all. Perhaps it's unusual in your *exact* location/department, but rest assured you're not the first tech worker outside of IT.

Secondly, this is really your boss' problem. If they're supportive - great! Have them find a way to cut you a check, pass you some cash out of petty cash, bill their company credit card, whatever it takes for you to have a couple of piddly sticks of RAM shipped to your mail drop so you can pop it into your server. Then, have them duke it out with any BOFH ( and their bastard boss ) when they get pissed off about you doing their job for them.

If they don't or "can't" do that, they're not as supportive as you think, nor do they have the clout that you think.

Honestly, I've seen this type of problem many times before at many different companies, and it boils down to one thing: your poor overworked, underpaid staff down in IT already have their hands more than full trying to keep things going, and they've been burned more times and in more ways than you could ever imagine. They're busy trying to keep production servers running, and you're bothering them with a request for a non-production machine that seems to be doing just fine ? Your request, if valid, is so far down the food chain, might as well just say no to it. You might stand a better chance of getting a whole new machine ( configured to your specs as much as possible ) rather than having a part of it replaced or upgraded.

In fact, ordering a new machine is what I would indeed recommend, if you've tried just asking for more RAM _and_ asking your boss to authorize the purchase and do-it-yourself.

I would also recommend looking into the possiblity that your division/group/you/whatever could have a small set of machines and possibly even test network entirely outside of the realm of responsibility of the IT department. I once worked on a development team where making that move was the best thing we ever did for our own productivity and sanity. We couldn't ask the IT department for help, but... we didn't need it, having their involvement just got in the way. To our surprise, the IT folks loved the idea, too, as long as we kept the networks separate... which wasn't as much of a pain as you'd think. We still had our "main" machines on the corporate network, where we'd get mail and interface with marketing's Exchange-server-based crap, er I mean meeting schedules and such, but a large percentage of development work and all testing was done on the test network. Our group picked up a bit of a budget for equipment, and that was it.

I'm sure some corporate policy might prevent such a move, and I'm afraid that you could end up in a situation where, without some real leadership from someone above you in the company, nothing is going to happen. In that case, I'd have to recommend just doing your best, documenting the refusal of others to help out, and looking for a smarter company to work for if possible.

Consider the low memory condition of the server a "stress test" for your software... and keep asking, making sure that everyone sees your request as *necessary*. If the request sounds like "this works, but it's work better if...", then the extra memory isn't really *necessary*, is it ?

Take ownership (0, Troll)

Arandir (19206) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621118)

It sounds like your management needs to take ownership if their department computer. In far too many companies IT goons act like they own they place. Here's news to them, they're employees just like everyone else.

So take control of your own computers. Put them behind a department firewall. Put big stickers on them saying "Not IT Controlled" or "Keep your hands off!" Then if you need some more RAM, all you need to do is to go down to the store and buy some. If you need a department webpage, go buy a cheap eMachine and slap on Debian. Of course, you will need your own guy in the department to manage all of this stuff, but surely that's cheaper than sitting on your butts for nine months waiting for RAM.

It goes without saying that all ordinary desktops should still be IT controlled. Why waste your time on this penny ante stuff. But keep your servers, development workstations, and special systems your own.

answer is easy (1)

mixmasta (36673) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621125)

do it yourself.

Yes, if the IT dept is so difficult, start your own with your own machines and staff. Keep it discreet, obviously. Get your work done, and don't go shooting your mouth off about it.

It's like the aold coding adage... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14621154)

90% of the code is for when the user does something wrong. Likewise, 90% of your time, once you get beyond any entry-level position, is doing political shit to get the real 10% of the work (i.e., the coding) accomplished.

Sit back, read the Art of War and stuff like that, and realize that you're getting paid to do this stuff.

IT acts like like any help support (0, Troll)

Via_Patrino (702161) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621165)

IT acts like any help support, they don't want to solve your problem they just want to add a "change request" to their productive level, so they lie, pretend to solve your problem, give you partial solutions and procastinate the "hard" ones (anything that takes more than one minute).

That happens more when there's staff deficit but has a lot to do with moral (you may call it culture) too.

Reality is the best reward (2, Insightful)

metamatic (202216) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621168)

Meticulously document how much of a barrier the IT department is to productivity, and why you don't get things done. Keep a record of every e-mail, and make sure all communication is at least repeated in summary by e-mail, so you have proof. Present the evidence to senior management when they ask why things haven't happened.

Ultimately if the management chain doesn't see it as a problem, then it's not. Or rather, it's not a problem you will ever be able to do anything about. So once you have that documentary proof, by all means sit and read Slashdot or twiddle your thumbs while you wait for IT to do their jobs. Or even better, use the time to experiment, learn, and gain skills.

Because we know what we're doing, and you don't (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14621189)

It often comes about that some business unit thinks that they can perform IT functions better/faster/cheaper by hiring a few people and make an end-run around the IT department. And they can...for awhile. And then something comes up that their junior admin can't handle, and they call IT. Or it turned out that they don't do backups, or RAID, or whatever, and they lose all their data.
IT is bureaucratic. Its because we know what we're doing, and you don't. We've made all the mistakes already. When you come to us thinking you know what to do, we create roadblocks to make you give up and go away. Then we just do it the right way. And that takes time and money.
To get the type of reliability businesses have come to expect is hard, and expensive. You can't see the difference between a white-box server and a brand name, but we can. You can't understand why we can't just use a perl script to run backups.
If we let you have your way, you'd buy a couple of memory modules at compUSA, walk up to the server, and drop them in. Why is that a problem?
    1. How reliable is the memory? Is it warrantied?
    2. Do the timings match the memory already there?
    3. Does is have the proper error checking?
    4. Did you use an anti-static wrist strap?
    5. Did you tell the other people who use the server that it was going to be down (you did turn it off first, didn't you?)
    6. What if it fails to reboot. Are you going to fix it?
    7. Does the OS support that much memory?
    8. Did you introduce any bugs by the change you made?

I could go on and on. The bottom line is, a multi-user server requires complex management, and skilled administration. That is what we train to do. So let us do our jobs.

Cozy up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14621213)

I was in a similar situation at my last job, and this wasn't even a big company. The solution turned out to be pretty easy though. Cozy up with the guys/gals in IT Dept. Scratch their backs a bit, and they'll scratch yours when you need it. It's amazing how far simply being nice and friendly, and offering a very easy helping hand occasionally can get you. If you work IT too, you know the kinds of things they'd appreciated.

No, it doesn't fix the problem over all, but it'll fix YOUR problem, and if that's tons easier, then why not?

The EA Way (1)

nevek (196925) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621218)

At EA we were working with internal websites and opera.

A website developer came down to test it on one of our pc's. With 256mb of ram it took Opera about ~90 Minutes to properly load.

He turned off the computer went upstairs and within 5 minutes had 1gb of ram in that PC. Booted it back up opera took about 5-8 seconds. And that was just for a 10 minute task.

Efficient, and the way it should be done. An employees salary - Time wasted ratio is way more expensive than the cost of memory or "The right tool for the job"

Treat it like a bureaucracy and... (1)

Dragoonkain (704719) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621221)

It will always stay that way. I Have found that if you personalize yourself (even being outside the company) you will come out with 100% better results

Take the IT Manager to lunch. Can't take him? Take the guy under him, and familiarize yourself with him more. The more personal you can get with other people in the company, the more less of a 'bureaucracy' it seems. The more people you know, and the more you touch base, the more they may be willing to help you without the mountain of paperwork (perhaps the IT managers assistant asking the IT manager to get a direct approval from upper upper management for upgrades). Sometimes you have to actually treat the bureaucractic people who work there like real people, not just from a corporate view to where your thinking (oh, well i just submit this paper and wait for my upgrades to happen).. Sometimes you have to push for things in a friendly manner.

please type the word in this image: Converse

The DC is not your playground (4, Insightful)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 8 years ago | (#14621227)

Interesting comments...

I've been in IT for close to twenty years in a couple small startups to some multi-nationals and in my own consulting business. One thing that lots of IT folks lose sight of is that IT is first a support organization within the larger organization. If the larger organization is sufficiently forward thinking, then they can (arrg, PHB-speak) *leverage* IT to be more competitive. But IT folks still have to make sure the website is up, the file server is accessible, users can login, etc., *before* you start thinking about the add-ons.

If the business doesn't want to spend money on the servers, then document what the consequences and benefits are for their decision. Don't just write that they'll have slower machines, but play Devil's Advocate and write up the business case for not adding memory.

Or, figure some way to optimize your resources so that less memory is required. This can be as simple as turning off services, or as complex as setting memory and processor caps within the virtual partition. And if you've tried all these and you're just short of memory, let them know.

In my consulting business my first goal is to keep my customers' infrastructure running. Next is to save them money versus some other consultant. Sometimes they need to spend money up front to save more down the road. Let them know if this is the case.
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