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Turf Wars

By Becker-2004 ·
Hi all. I am a network admin that is mostly technically oriented and not that up with management practices. I have been managing my network and user base for many years.

I am in a situation where I am up against a more experience manager that has IT aspirations but not very technical. The manager can't setup a network share between 2 PC's - but the manager has plans of creating their very own ERP system that will be completely independent of the ERP already in place.

The manager wants to setup their own IT department that is directly digging into my job responsibilites. The manager has also been very successful in convincing decison makers that any new project and decison come from the manager without my consultation - any problems that arise from it i will have to fix.

I am stuck between a rock and a hard place - and am willing to continue doing my job, but i would like to make sure that accountability for bad decison making on the part of the manager remains in their court and they are held responsible.

how does one go about that in a professional manner?

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Sometimes it pays to record and escalate

by barrbe In reply to Turf Wars

You might want to look for a management mentor and try and learn the hierarchy of who to escalate your concerns to. If you have some great ideas for improvements, document them formally and send it to your boss with a copy to his boss. His boss will then either quietly monitor the situation or ask you for more information. Either way, your manager will have to act in some way on your suggestions.

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If you want to keep your job and can't beat them then join them.

by kensundstrom In reply to Turf Wars

It sounds like your boss has given up already. Also your boss is probably pumping out his/her resume. As soon as your boss is gone either you will be part of the new IT team or thrown out. I have been there a couple times in my 11 years in IT it's not fun. I have had bosses I would go the extra mile for replaced by an idiot I absolutely hated. The end result every time has been me getting a new job. I did give in the last time this happened, I became part of the new IT group and it paid off. I sucked it up and then waited when the dust settled I got in my two cents and got promoted and I got things done that I couldn't have under my old supervisor.

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Politics..ugh

by ARDOM In reply to If you want to keep your ...

This sounds so similar to a situation I went through last year. A new "financial genius" was hired by the company to cut costs in 6 call centers. He started by firing all consultant/contractors then tooted his horn about how much money he saved. That one didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out! Eventually the boy wonder shut down 3 of the 6 centers, including mine. I recently heard he's been let go. It was a pretty helpless feeling to see the train coming and not be able to jump off the tracks before getting run over. The saddest part was the number of really good people the company lost because wonder boy managed to convince the right people that his plan was the best. It's not always what you know or how good you are, it's all in the popularity contest that upper management has within their own ranks. Best of luck to you!

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Document, document, document

by mtufts In reply to Turf Wars

Make you sure you document everything that happens in that network--however small--in a file you keep with names, times, dates, and, if applicable, places. When you can provide a documented, chronological record, it will go a long way toward vindication (or damnation). Do NOT act like a fishwife!...

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Turf Wars - Suggestions

by MMM123 In reply to Turf Wars

I am assuming from past history that you have some examples where things have gone wrong in the past and know from a technical perspective what type of informaiton you need... such as requested response time or Service Level, number of users, technology planned and why, security level, implementation plan (high level ... will it be a single shot weekend implementation or a phased roll out will it include a pilot... etc.)

Once you have a standard list of 20-30 generic questions/information you need create a check list with room for answers and try to make as many of them from existing selection of choices. Then I would suggest to your boss that you introduce this into the other persons "New Process" in an effort to support their endeavors :)

This way you appear to be supportive have limited their technical impacts by creating multiple choice from the technology you support and if you update this on a go forward basis ... every month ... every quarter with new technology you support then this will not be out dated (protected excel spreadsheet would be good)

Also create an loop in point on your form/check list that if they are using new technology and it impacts the following that someone on your managers team needs to be invovled in the project initiation process to ensure you are involved when needed.

Good luck...

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Think Career and Not Just Job

by bhalverson In reply to Turf Wars - Suggestions

Becker, I hope you take MMM123's advice...

Basically, you can group your choice of response to this situation into

1. Fight the change, either overtly or covertly. This can result in you "keeping book" in hopes that when the axe falls, you will be able to prove some sort of wrongful dismissal...I don't know about you, but after leaving a job, spending the next 6 months or more fighting about the past can be a real downer.

2. Go with the change. Suck it up, Kiss a**, Play the office politics, work the system, etc. This is a soul-draining experience in my view, and takes a great deal of effort above and beyond the work at hand. If you were bent toward this type of thinking you wouldn't have started the discussion in the first place.

3. Do your job with the attitude and the quality of professional that extends beyond whichever organization you are currently working within. The advice in MMM123's response is in line with this type of thinking. Go beyond the confines of the situation and look at the organization as a whole. If there are going to be new initiatives, what questions need to be asked and answered at the beginning, before implementation? How do you ensure that this intiative helps the business meet its stated goals? What stakeholders need to be on board and invested in the outcome? What information does the IT department need to support these intiatives and technologies? Ask these questions in the presence of others than just the new manager present. Remember, this is not "sucking it up", because your intention is not to fit into the organization and its politik, it is to influence the organization positively while you are there. The goal is not to "make nice", but to be respected for your abilities. (The people that respect you can also be good references later on, BTW). This new guy isn't going to be your friend, and I wouldn't encourage you to pretend that he is, however, that doesn't mean he will not respect your abilities, should you have a higher interest in mind.

This approach of "taking the high road" as some call it, or it could be called "career thinking", rather than "job thinking." In this age, jobs will come and go, but those abilities that set you apart from the crowd will be tremendous assets in your career wherever you happen to be. In addition, you will be able to say, "I made the best effort I could at the time for the good of the organization", and then move on when the time comes. You can then apply and refine those same skills of approaching situations from a proactive, objective, broad perspective to another organization, and even outside of strict IT work. Following MMM123's advice, you may chose to develop a New Technology Initiative document, among others, that are part of your arsenal of tools as you go from organization to organization. That's were your work will come in.

New behaviors may also feel strange at first, so you may find yourself falling into the other two types of approaches while you are still at this organization, if those have been your typical responses in the past. Remember, you are building a career, not just trying to keep a job.

Good Luck.

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I have been through a simular problem.

by brp In reply to Turf Wars - Suggestions

It seems that certain managers are not capible of proper impact analisys of new projects. One of the biggest constraints is time. Do you have enough time to do impact anlisys on the project.

User training is another problem if an old system gets replaced. Explain that the project will require time to smooth out the "teething problems" and give a plan on how to avoid certain problems, giving deadlines (break the project into smaller projects.

You have been in support for a while and sometimes being in support you must take management decisions. What is the best for the company, not you. List contraints, benifits and forseen problems in the order management will like. Do not give negative input, this will only make the manager upset and he will make the rest of the descision makers look at you as though you are not there to better the company.

Ensure you have documentation on the problems you foresee and make sure you have a meeting with the decision makers so they are aware of the possible cost implications, and better cost effective solutions. Be nice to the guy, you do not want to get under anyones skin.

Good Lick

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Document what you need to, but work with him...

by Cindy in FL In reply to Turf Wars

Remember, if the new guy is bringing in work, then that is not bad for you. Besides, the more IT responsibilities he attempts to take on, the more likely you will be to be working for him than your current boss. Do not burn bridges. So... work with him. You are on the same team, really. Remember your obligation is to the company: your job is to keep the network up, moving, viable. He's a new player adding work to the your environment. That's not bad, that's just how it is. If your boss is not jumping all over him, then it's not that far out of process for him to make changes. Do your best to mitigate any negative impacts, either by jumping on them right away, or by catching them ahead of time with a change process.

In either case, don't play the turf war, you will lose. Being seen as a team player is infinitely more valuable in the long run than hanging on to your turf, and eventually sets you up as the one who keeps on top of things and keeps the network moving as it should, regardless of who is throwing changes at you. A much better reputation to have.

If you haven't already, institute a change control process. It won't look like you're picking on his implementations if you institute change control across the board, and it will make you look like a forward thinking team player.

By the way, document, document, document. Keep a problem log or something; a steno pad, I don't care, just something. If you need to be able to show that any problems were beyond your control, you will need both a change control process to show how you try and head off problems, but you will also need documentation as to what you did, and how you handled problems when they did arise. Gotta CYA. Always. I don't care how good your boss is.

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Best answer so far!

by GovTech In reply to Document what you need to ...

Cindy has coverd all bases with her response and is 100 percent correct. You still have to work with this guy so... do it! Proper documentation will CYA and allow you to take on more work as the network administrator, which is not a bad thing.

A change control documentation process will allow you to still maintain control over the network and by working with this non-tech manager you may be able to make positive "suggestions" that will keep your system from being compromised or damaged.

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work with the experienced manager

by Michael@FriarTuck In reply to Turf Wars

find a chance to talk to the manager who is giving you problem. tell him indirectly that you can help him look good in front of his boss, but he would have to cover your back as well.

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