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Boss who is really, really naive

By chrispy1 ·
HELP!! My boss is 24 years old, and very, very inexperienced in the management field (I work in telecom). She's asking me to do some things which I disagree with concerning the databases for which I am administrator (giving people permissions that they don't really need, doing analysis differently from what I've found to be most accurate, etc.) I've tried breaking down every issue with the pros/cons of each situation, I've tried explaining to her about the integrity of the database being compromised, etc. etc. etc. - all to no avail - she still wants me to, in the latest instance, provide one particular member of our group with full permissions to one of my databases. This database was written in Clipper in 1986 - yeah, yeah - laugh all you want, I know. However, because I need to keep a very close eye on the indexes and the various tables, every person that I provide this level of access to (there's currently 5) causes me more potential problems. OK, I'm rambling - 2 coffees and a can of coke in under an hour, and I'm frustrated. Does anybody have any ideas how to deal with a boss that doesn't understand, but is making decisions that directly affect you?

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You've done your job

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Boss who is really, reall ...

She's making decisions which is definite plus point in my experience.
Do what she says you'll either be diagnosed with paranoia , or another decision will be made.

Against all my advice I was told to join up two networks. A week later the other network was using HP's find all our printers on the network gizmo and dropped an entire manufacturing plant. I didn't know that particular problem would occur, I just knew there could be problems and that they were potentially expensive. That one certainly was.
People mainly learn from their own screw-ups.

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by chrispy1 In reply to You've done your job

OK, well any screw ups in my department won't cause a huge kerfuffle like yours, just put about 60 people off-line for a couple of hours...
Thanks for your advice. Being the only ISIT guy in a group of 45 people, I get lonely for fellow Geeks every once in a while, and find solace in TR's community...

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Be Careful

by Mart1n In reply to Ouch...

I have had similar problems. You need to cover your backside. When things go wrong the expert always gets some blame and is seen as failing to communicate the risks. The manager is never expected to understand such technical issues and will swerve the blame on to you.

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A Bit Pessimistic, Mart1n?

by FirstPeter In reply to Be Careful

Perhaps I'm just lucky, but I've never had a manager claim ignorance and point blame back on me when things go wrong. The manager has ultimate responsibility for what happens, plain and simple. Or should, anyway. If the fingers are being pointed at others then you've got a dysfunctional system you have to deal with.

My advice would be to make sure you've documented (e-mail is good) your concerns and then proceed. Really the situation isn't for this particular instance (it's not a "CYA" thing), but more for future reference. If something does go wrong then the next time you offer your two cents you have something solid to back it up on. Not to rub in your manager's face but simply to say, ultimately, "you can trust me - I know this database/network/system/etc."

The bottom line is that your boss told you to do something. Right, wrong, or otherwise your boss is the one who is on the line. You've explained why you don't believe it's the best move, but your manager (should, anyway) has a higher-level picture and has ultimate responsibility for that decision.

Good luck!

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CYA Baby!!!

by SFC Byte In reply to A Bit Pessimistic, Mart1n ...

Where I work if you don't CYA you will be eaten alive. Keep emails, memos for record, notes on a cocktail napkin, whatever it takes.

Time and time again our managers will try to blame the technician for something that is really a fault in the process..i.e. management procedures.

Quick case in point. I arrived at a company that had no images for anything. Over 500 users! So I created multiple images and then requested that our Computer Continuity Board (all managers, one tech) thoroughly evalute these images prior to deployment. They had one meeting and spent 2 hours arguing about wether the default games should be removed or left. That was it. I have since grudgingly been directed to deploy the images. Guess what? There are some problems with the image. Who were the managers trying to blame? Me. My defense was a massive, time consuming, pain in the butt paper trail that pointed right back to the CCB. Silence filled the room...tears filled my eyes because it is all so sad and unnnecessary.

BLUF: The world is not filled with teamwork orientated management. A lot of them will do anything to keep their jobs including make you lose yours through their incompetence and irresponsibility. Analyze the group dynamic and make decisions based on that.

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If she's not a technical manager

by DMambo In reply to Ouch...

you could be in for a lot of trouble, now and until she learns when she's going to get burned. Document, man! We use a form here for permission changes. It's a result of SOX compliance, but I've come to rely on it to pull my a$$ out of the fire when necessary. Also, back-up daily, even to CD if necessary.

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Do what your boss says

by jck In reply to Boss who is really, reall ...

But, get it in writing. Get an email from her, hard print that sucker, and reply to her with your concerns and CC yourself and print. If she still tells you to do it, then print that email and do it.

When/If it crashes, then you have your arse covered when the hammer comes down from the upper management, and you can show that you objected to it but were ordered to do what you said would cause issues.

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For once, I agree

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Do what your boss says

I'm not usually big on CYA, but this is one case where I agree. We require formal notification before extending (or restricting) access to shared directories or databases. Each shared resource is assigned an owner, usually the person who requested it's creation. That person's written or e-mailed permission is required before altering resource access.

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Thanks all....

by chrispy1 In reply to Do what your boss says

You've put my mind at ease. I think I was a little um, perturbed/stressed as I saw the consequences of this decision (me having more work) and knew that the solution was relatively easy. Have a coffee on me!

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Correct, but insufficient

by amcol In reply to Do what your boss says

Documentation works both ways. Definitely get any orders you disagree with in writing from your boss (and be careful how you go about that, you run huge political risks depending on how you ask), but also document in return all the reasons (professionally stated, and in terms of demonstrable facts only) why you believe the mandated course of action is not in the best interests of the organization.

When the proverbial hits the fan you can't simply whip out a written manifesto from your boss and say "I was just following orders". You have to be able to document that you expressed your reservations and were overruled.

Good luck, you're going to need it. This is a bad situation with no obvious resolution. My advice is to consider moving on.

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