Tuesday, June 23, 2009


During the actual project, things worked differently.
When a server was out of compliance, I fixed it. I worked odd hours and flung patches and settings and generally did things.
Now that the project is complete, our day-to-day activities are being forced into the framework of a procedure. Previously, this procedure was something I'd heard about from time to time. Whispers in darkened hallways spoke of paper trails and action items. They sent shivers along my spine, but passed quickly, dispelled by coffee.
When the process of putting our work into these procedures began, I was content to watch in silence. I hoped (in hindsight, foolishly) that my job would be the same except that I would need to supply back-dated paperwork about everything anyone noticed.
I have been more wrong, but not often.
After the official kick-off meeting celebrating our successful conversion to procedure, I found out that I was in charge of it. This is the penance for not paying attention, internets. Responsibility.
And with great responsibility comes great pain.
I got notified that some of the servers in my care needed a software update.
According to process, I told an analyst that a patch was required. I picked a date for completion (at random, to be honest) and waited.
Someone found testers. Some of these testers were pissed that I requested a patch. They said it would break the application they built and that they wouldn't allow it.
I'm responsible, right?
These people use my servers for their crappy application which a patch might break.
According to process, now I have to fill out a ton of extra paperwork about how we will not be deploying the required update since it will break someone else's crappy application.
And my "bad" numbers go up and stay up.
I have to attend extra meetings and submit to auditor interviews and waste a ton of time justifying their issue since we have their software on my server.
That is the procedure.
The procedure is not telling the developer that he has until my randomly selected original completion date to get his bug-riddled, unsupportable, ancient and slow application off my servers or that I would enjoy breaking them with my patch, apparently.
Action items for today include wedging a line entry for "threats" into our procedure documentation.

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