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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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I bet this guy would welcome your help

by curtis_n94521 In reply to work with the experienced ...

If this new manager has been successful in getting your senior execs on board with his vision, my bet is he will recognize talent and welcome good people willing to help him out. But you will need to build the proper trust with him so he can learn to be open and rely upon the expertise I'm sure you can bring to the table. So try setting up a meeting with him. But before you do, talk to some of the folks he has on the ground. See what is being planned. Then prepare for the meeting with this manager and show him where you can help or what insights you have in relation to challenges and opportunities. Don't fall into the trap on telling him why xyz won't work. You must come from the perspective of what is needed to make xyz happen (which is how you document the realities, especially if what he wants to do is way out in left field). Be open, honest and yourself and I'm sure you'll do fine.

I say all this as it sounds like you already tried the escalation route and your existing boss doesn't want any part in it. That says a lot... either about your current boss or this new guy.

Good luck

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Check your employment contract

by JohnOfStony In reply to Turf Wars

Have you an employment contract? If so, check it for your responsibilities. If it is vague or your actual responsibilities don?t match those on the contract, explain the situation to your manager and ask for a new contract. Also explain that it is unreasonable to expect you to be responsible for a network over which you have no control and explain that you want that fact to be included in your contract. If you remain calm and unruffled during this discussion you will give your manager no excuse to lose his temper or fire you or generally get angry with you. If he does get angry, explain in a calm manner that you have many years worth of experience of their particular network and it would take many months for a newcomer to gain even a fraction of your knowledge. If your manager has any brains at all he may realise that this remark also applies to him!

Finally, keep a lookout for another job. I used to change jobs every 18 months or so, not quite out of choice but if things looked bad where I worked, I voted with my feet. I don?t know how much you are valued by the management but if they do value you as an employee, they won?t want to lose you and you may have more power than you realise. I don?t know how mobile you are or what the availability of employment in your field in your area is so my ?change your job? advice may not be easy to follow.

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sounds familiar

by mph@ew In reply to Turf Wars

Wow! Your story sounds soooo familiar. I am an enterprise admin working in a quite large IT department for a global corporation with several disparate application and technical groups. In our case, it is a director of one of these app groups that wants to "do it his way".

I do not know what advice to give you, but what you need most is backing from your management. After almost 10 years with this company, my manager, and VP above him, trust my judgement and always back me in my decisions, even if they may clash with this other director's ideas.

Keep management on your side by doing your job to the best of your abilities and knowing which battles to fight and when to back off. Keep what is best for the business in mind and you will always come out ahead.

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Multiple ERP systems?

by natem In reply to Turf Wars

Definitely get your boss involved. It sounds like your strongest objection available is the duplication of efforts that this manager is attempting to create. Multiple ERP systems will create a system with lots of duplicate data entry. Find and identify as many examples of this as you can. It will also take additional personell to maintain the system. Make sure the administrative and finance management know about the extra work involved for them and I think you might begin to gain some allies. Also, if management knows new personell will be needed to run and maintain the system they probably won't be as keen on giving in to creating another IT department. Find out what feature this guy expects to get out of the new ERP and if it's already available for the current. If it is I would be extremely suprised if it wouldn't be less expensive to upgrade your current ERP. I'd use constructive criticism, via email - report your findings so that it clearly explains the disadvantages of the new ERP being proposed. (and save all the emails)
-Good Luck,

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Don't get into a pissing contest - you'll lose

by SkipperUSN In reply to Turf Wars

OK - first off don't get into a pissing contest so he is playing in your sand box, be a team player. Approcah it as how is him having his own IT going to benefit the corporation or business.

As the bosses if your department is delivering less than expected - approach it on business terms - what is best for the business and corporation... Will the money be better spent - there or here?

You start a pissing contest - well you lost everything - let him start the contest - then approach every issue on business / cost terms and you'll win..

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by bgora In reply to Turf Wars

Try to get your boss involved and point out to him that if you look good then he looks good and vice versa. Then try to get the managment to buy into a Managment by Objectives program where everyone can see what everyone else is trying to accomplish. This should force people to converse with the system administrator when they are have to think their plans through to implementation and funding by the management staff.

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by IS Girl In reply to Turf Wars

You said two things in your original post that struck me as the heart of the situation:

1) I have been managing my network and user base for many years.

2)An technically inept Manager plans to create their very own ERP system that will be completely independent of the ERP already in place.

Is it possible that this Manager is involved heavily in the ERP system - not from a technical standpoint, but from a user standpoint? Does his dept somehow depend on the ERP system to be productive? Has he expressed dissatisfaction with the current ERP system?

This sounds to me like a situation where a new ERP system is coming and this Manager is pushing the project - probably because he believes the new system is better than the old one.

Sometimes IT gets stuck in thinking that they should have the final say in every decision made that involves hardware and software. However, salespeople selling systems often go to the department head that can cost justify an upgrade or will see the benefit from a new system.

I work in an industry where our salesmen work with Dept. Managers about a software/hardware solution. It's not until the sale is made that the IT people are involved in the process - unless I am consulted and promptly draw them into the process. In my opinion, it's easier to get some input from IT upfront and get their enthusiastic cooperation than to try to work around them when the time comes to implement the new system....but you'd be surprised how often it goes the other way.

I say..hang in there. You will find that you are involved with the new ERP sysem when the time comes to roll it out. This Manager doesn't want to run the IT dept - he's just trying to do a better job running his dept.

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Doing your job is not 'Playing the game'

by GaijinIT In reply to

I have worked in information systems from transmission to IT management and then as a business manager for the past 25 years, both in the US and (currently in Tokyo) as an international IT consultant. I certainly don't have all the answers, but I have some, having been 'in the biz' for a while.
I noticed that in your original posting you only expressed your dissatisfaction with what you perceive as someone entering your 'personal area'. Do you own the company, or just work there?
As an IT manager, you should concentrate on one task - keep the network running at peak efficiency to provide the rest of the company the information they need to take care of business. That's it. If you don't understand this, you are in the wrong career.
Let the business managers manage the business, and as the IT manager, take care of the IT systems. You are working in a SERVICE area. If this guy needs his own IT system, then he probably has a good reason for it. Have you asked him? I read several postings recommending that you sound out the senior manager with IT aspirations and find out why he wants to do this. You may be surprised that he has valid reasons for it beyond enhancing his own sense of importance.
IT management is more than just being aware of all the latest hardware and software and keeping your certs up to date, it is also listening to your users and finding out if you are meeting their expectations or if there is any room for improvement in added services, security, etc.
Sound the guy out, and if his idea looks contrary to your company's goals, make note of it, document anything that affects your own network, and keep it to yourself, only to be used in self-defense if HE starts the finger-pointing when it all crashes and burns. But don't take your concerns to management - it's just not your decision.
If he is, as you said, a manager with a lot of experience, then he did not get there by only kissing up to the right people. Somewhere, to someone, he has demonstrated an ability to know what he is doing, so why don't you try to find out what he's planning and benefit from it instead of getting into a confrontation with him?
Are you 100% sure that there are no shortcomings in your own IT management practices or systems? Have you asked anyone except your own staff or yourself this question? If you haven't, then you are just as guilty of arrogance as you assume this experienced manager is demonstrating.
As difficult as it is for the business managers to market products/services in these hyper-competitive days of downsizing and cost-cutting, having people complain about 'defending their own turf' causes unecessary problems by wasting management's time and (sorry) is immature and unrealistic. If this guy's idea is a waste of company resources, then it will be noticed and he will get the heat. If not, it's not your problem, so don't worry about it, as long as he doesn't get you involved.
Be part of the solution, and show you wnat to be part of your company's team - it will pay off. Or are you in it only for the personal gratification? If so, then you would be better off starting your own company - but as long as you are working for someone else, make sure you are providing everything that you can. That's what working for a living is all about.
Document the processes, poll your users, and make sure your staff is up to date. Don't document for later revenge, you won't get any satisfaction from that no matter how many lawyers you hire, all you will do is help make your lawyers' Mercedes payments.
But the documentation will come in handy if you decide to pack it in and find a new job. Then when someone bothers you again, you can start all over again. And again..... Look for satisfaction in your private life, your job is only that - just a job, a way to support you and your loved ones' life style in security. Do the 9 to 5 and keep the rest of the day for yourself - like they say, you only get one go-around, enjoy it all you can, don't waste time worrying about things you can't control. Don't try to - your blood pressure will thank you.
Sorry if I sound too harsh, but remember - "You can't fight city hall", and "You can't please everybody". It might not be satisfying, but it is realistic.
Good luck!

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Get off the soap box

by ITisForME In reply to Doing your job is not 'Pl ...

If you really knew anything about business you would think twice about offering such sarcastic dribble and then just not do it. I have worked for over twenty years in IT at several levels and in several different business environments. In every case that I have experienced and in fact in every case of all the other IT folks whom I have met over the years have expressed to me. The IT folks are asked and expected to be all knowing about all user needs and occupations. This means that somehow we are to be all knowing about every occupation that the company has and every user need. We are expected to tell the users everything while not sticking our nose in their business by telling them everything that they need to know to perform their job on a computer. Most IT folks get very confused about this and tend to get very frustrated by it. We are expected to just take over and do everything for others and at the same time they want to control over what we do with out having a clue about that which either can be or needs to be done. This wont work and always ends in a squabble.

It?s the old ?You IT folks just do as you are told and stop trying to run everything, you just do the computer stuff?. Mean while the folks who take that position refuse to go half way because they don?t have a clue about how system works and can?t make the necessary decisions that directly pertain to their part of the job. So IT must do it all while taking the grief from folks who refuse to roll up their sleeves and work with IT on the project. Then they put the blame on IT for everything they don?t like while being convinced that they are keeping their hands clean. Those who can do, just as long as someone doesn?t get in the way. We also will hold your hand and spoon feed you as you try to adapt to the system all the while being told how bad we are. When others go to potty on us we will even clean them up and change their diaper. We will do it all with a big smile on our face that smile is right below the nose we can?t keep out of the others business. Gee you don?t know how to do accounting on a computer? It?s done on a computer, I thought you knew everything about computers. Isn?t that part of your job to know how to do it? That is life in IT.

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Well, excuse me.....!

by GaijinIT In reply to Get off the soap box

I know this forum is supposed to be about helping Becker, but you took it upon yourself to flame me, so I think some self defense is appropriate.

My sarcasm was to try and get Becker to face the realities of his situation. And if you have tolerated whiny-butt people coming to you asking you to show them how to use a spreadsheet and you complied, then you have been wasting your time too.

Unless it's a really small company, couldn't you refer them to the training department? If you don't have one, then organize one (if you have time-if you don't, let management know about the problem and hire someone to organize one, or do it on a part time/outsourced consutlation/basis as needed).

Maybe I've been lucky, but the companies I have worked for (admittedly most of them pretty big with many departments) have clearly defined job performance descriptions, and I have never faced being held accountable for "holding someone by the hand" when it was not part of my job to do so. If it was in my job description, then of course I would have to see to it, otherwise, no way. But don't just leave them hanging, it's obvious they need help from somewhere.

When you manage an IT department for 500 to a thousand engineers and executives, you can't be expected to know everyone's job and show them the best way to do it. That's THEIR job.

If your users can't tell you what information they need to have (not specific data formats, just the type of info) and what they intend to do with it (so you know what format is best for them), then they don't have any idea what they are doing in their jobs either.

If that's the case, then make up a questionnaire, solicit information on a regular basis and analyze it to help you provide the best service for your users.

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