Thursday, April 09, 2009

Another Training Session

Yesterday afternoon my whole team trudged up the hill to the tower building to meet with someone from another team to discuss the anti-virus product.
I thought the point was to go over our recommended settings and exclusion lists. There are directories which should not be included in virus scanning. They either change too often or they are set up in a way which is self-isolating and having a scanner constantly try and fail to scan them is a terrible drain on system resources.
We did not have this discussion at all.
The problem with dealing with people from other technical teams here is that the seem to assume that their team is the only technical team, so they tend to speak too slowly for me to remain conscious.
The whole ninety minutes could have been saved had the guy sent an email which said:

Go to this directory, install the application, you have read access only but you can look at how everything is set up and email me if you have questions.

Instead, we got walked through mapping a network drive and installing an application.
At one point, I had to stab myself in the palm with a pen to keep from saying,"Wait! We accept the license agreement? Is that true everywhere? Is that why, in the past decade, I've never ever been able to install a piece of software at home or at work?"
This was a knowledgeable guy, but he didn't bother learning about his audience before talking to them.
I regularly get called to speak to other groups about whatever the hell it is that I do all day.
I always start with a quick check for their technical proficiency so I know how to go about explaining things.
I do this by lying.
At the beginning of my speech, I throw out some falsehood as fact. When discussing printing for remote users I like to go with,"All print jobs are converted to PDFs by the software, copied to our PrintSecure holding facilities in Bangalore, then transcribed line-by-line into a printer driver language compatible with the printer model on the user's desk."
This is nothing like what happens. "PrintSecure" doesn't exist, nor does any facility in Bangalore which my company has dealings with.
If the audience calls me on it I laugh, explain why I lied, and proceed to speak "Geek" with them. Surprisingly, knowing they have passed some bizarre screening seems to make them happy, which is just the kind of audience you want when you are explaining why you aren't going to help them.
If they do not react at all to my lie, or nod knowingly at one another as though they had engineered the real-time driver creation print solution themselves, I'm free to spend the rest of the hour saying whatever the hell I want, spinning our environment into a unicorn-powered magical wonder network. I still get to tell them why our group won't be helping them, but instead of the actual technical reason I get to tell them it is because we can't get budget approval for the gold-plated rocket pony I want.
Ideally, this will someday result in a signed purchase request making it through various layers of management and the eventual delivery of my rocket pony.

Anyway, apparently if you want software to install, you need to accept the license agreement. I honestly hope that helps someone, though I doubt it will come as news to anyone reading this blog.

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