Modern Middle Manager
Primarily my musings on the practical application of technology and management principles at a financial services company.
What Wastes My Time

Monday, April 26, 2004  

Most of my time lately is spent in meetings and attempting to address initiatives for the year. Big things, things like accepting wire transactions via web services, processing and filing escrow income tax forms electronically, selecting new applications and platforms for our banking services offerings, updating our DR site and plan, performing a systems needs analysis for our investments department, placating senior management with Blackberry, upgrading our customer relationship management software, training the new software developer, various infrastructure upgrades and preparing for a surprise regulatory audit. All very necessary things.

However, there is a list of amazingly trivial manure that my department gets saddled with. As I gaze towards the heavens of our initiatives, my department slogs through the muck of inconvenience:

1. Upgrading our color copier and color printers in the field. Why is my department responsible for the copiers? For the same reason that I have the stamp and binding machines in my budget -- because they use electricity.

2. Wipe-my-behind requests along the lines of either, "How do I create a three-page color brochure so I can make a bulletin for my local church/Partylite gathering/12-step program?" or "Why can't you help me configure my home modem to dial into your Citrix server using this modem I got five years ago?"

3. Meetings with other departments. I used to have regular meetings with several different departments, but realized what a waste of time they were when I'd ask them what major issues they had with the systems and got responses ranging from, "My mouse is sticking, can you fix it?" to "The imaging system didn't work two months ago." Are you kidding me? Here's a tip to would-be managers -- if you can, meet with other department heads in a casual environment, preferably one-on-one if you want information. Their staff will drive you nuts with absolutely ignorant requests and they'll let it go on forever.

4. Requests to fix home PC's, install creative memories bookmaking software, instant messaging, etc. The answer is still, "No."

5. My personal favorite -- explaining for the umpteenth time that we're not like company XYZ you used to work at, so get used to things being different. What you're not telling us is that it used to take 20 days for you to get anything you requested, minimum, and you worked on a mainframe system when you didn't have your assistant doing your work. So shut up and enjoy Windows.

Rant done. Just a lot of stupid in the air today. Hope I don't catch it.

posted by Henry Jenkins | 4/26/2004 06:34:00 PM

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