There are some folk who don't see the gem inside my rough exterior who might consider me a hot head. To which I say a hearty "bite me". But let this opinion be a caution that within this blog may lurk items of a venting nature or perhaps those which might be considered a rant. So be it. Proceed with caution. You have been warned.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Corporate Befuddlement

Today I am sitting in front of a computer screen doing nothing productive at time and a half.

Basically I am being paid to be the human equivalent of a Prozac tablet. Huge code rollout for the software I use last night and today testing is going on on the west coast which started at 4 AM PST and will go on until every possible scenario is tested. What no one has bothered to figure out is that testing every possible scenario would take days. Bear in mind that before this code rollout went live testing on a duplicate of the live environment went on for six weeks. So would common sense not dictate that testing on the live environment only be necessary for each component to be called and not every possible combination? Of course it would. So I think we can safely assume that there is no common sense at work in this particularly dysfunctional corporate world. As the day wears on and the zombificated testers work on into the night will anyone realize that six weeks of testing cannot be duplicated in a single weekend? I'm not holding my breath.

What makes this particularly galling is that I have had to postpone a holiday vacation with my extended family by one day so that I can come into the office and stare at the wall. My presence here is needed because the company I work for practices management by fear. Since they hire middle management not for their knowledge of the work that will be done by their employees but by their longevity and ability to avoid offending anyone higher up the ladder. Thus IT departments find themselves run by people with no knowledge of the technology used by the employees they manage. Consequently on a day like today people are called to sit in their cubes and rot "just in case". In other words because management is terrified someone will ask them a question they cannot answer. For instance "Hey why aren't the names fitting in the fields on the form?" Instead of being able to say "Because the server monkeys didn't load the correct fonts." management needs galley slaves tied to their benches who can spit out the answer. Note that this does not require the galley slave to actually haul on the oars (touch any code) it merely requires them to provide an statement that any moderately functional member of the department considers common knowledge.

The system works perfectly. Not only does the manager not have to know what's going on, the system of mandated overtime (a characteristic I have always considered as indicative of a sweat shop) insures that the manager will never have to learn it. Thus the presence of the code jockeys in the cubes allays the fear that a manager might be exposed as knowing nothing about their department.

I give you one guess as to which industry can afford to waste money in this manner.