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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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You flamed Becker-2004

by ITisForME In reply to Well, excuse me.....!

Helping Becker-2004 is the objective. You however flamed Becker-2004 and gave ridicules advice so I felt compelled to correct the record. If you feel flamed by may response to your self professed grandiose knowledge of business and your belittlement of Becker-2004 then feel flamed. The basis for the flame you made was that Becker-2004 worked for the company and did not own it. Well the problem with that is none of the managers own the company either. So you served nothing other then to flame and belittle Becker-2004 and put Becker-2004 in his/her place a.k.a. you are just an employee shut up and do as you are told. Well so are all of the managers, so what? Does being a manager entitle someone to ruin a company? Does it entitle them to waste money, people and other resources? You mention that someone somewhere must have thought that this manager was worth something and that is how that person got to be a manager. Where do I begin with that one? I?ll do it this way. All the nut cases that became dictators became dictators because someone thought that they were worth something. Does that make the carnage they caused right? Does it make standing idly by and letting it happen right?

If you take your head out of the fortune 500 companies (been there did that) and join the real world, then you will find that computer users and their supervisors have an innate knack at assuming that the IT folks monitor every keystroke that is made therefor should automatically correct their mistakes and also have a complete understanding of every activity that is done on a computer. Therefor IT folks should make themselves indispensable and available to them at every whim. Making them read the manual and or cheat sheets (which IT must make for them), is just something that is unnecessary and controlling especially when it is the IT folks job to do that for them. They have no time to learn how to do their job on a computer and IT folks have nothing but time to help in their endeavors. This most especially applies to mutton head managers who waltz into a company and want to do things their way. The company existed before the new manager came (gee I wonder how) so perhaps this new manager might try and fit in. That is the situation Becker-2004 is in. The manager demands a new ERP system and the creation of a separate IT department to be formed around that which the new manager undoubtedly will control. Becker-2004 fears about the near certainty that as the new IT department grows, Becker-2004's IT department will shrink until all IT is controlled by this new manager. Becker-2004 also fears that this new manager will wreak havoc, waste money, people and other resources and fail do to the fact that this manager is basically clueless about the ways of IT. Becker-2004 feels that the new manger is doing nothing other then power grabbing. Certainly not all users and supervisors are a disruptive and counter productive drag on IT folks, however there are more then enough to make IT some folks feel that they are. Since both the new manager and Becker-2004 are just employees why should Becker-2004 be obligated to be relegated to a back seat and possibly oblivion?

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Okay, another track, please.

by GaijinIT In reply to You flamed Becker-2004

Okay 'mike1f' - an innocent question, if you please (no more fighting, okay? I can see I missed the mark and probably did Becker more harm than good, I was just voicing my own feelings in light of what I have experienced - that doesn't mean it is necessarily suited for everyone - your points are well taken).

I've been working in the IT management field outside of the States for quite a while, and I just read your 'I'll second that' comment, so I wnated to ask you a general question.

I can't help noticing that so many of the advice/answers seem to be like mass paranoia or warning Becker of impending evil plans. Have things really gotten that cut-throat in the US business world? I knew a few people who exhibited the inferred worst traits of this new manager with IT aspirations, but they were by far the minority.

So many replies are telling of how the same thing happened to them, etc., it seems things have really taken a turn for the worse. I am just old enough to have been put off by the rising yuppie class to respond by getting the **** out and going where your work can still be done in somewhat cooperative conditions, but it seems that is a thing of the past in the USA. Am I reading these responses wrong?

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Can I come to where you are?

by crawk In reply to Okay, another track, plea ...

Mhartley - you've given me a glimmer of hope! I'd bet a whole bunch of us haven't seen anything better than the business climate described in these posts for a very very long time in the U.S. Wherever you are - enjoy it! (I'm serious - no sarcasm intended.)

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paranoia? no....

by secure_lockdown In reply to Okay, another track, plea ...

actually - here is the real issue in my opinion.

more tech saavy positons are being created. everything from DBA's to CSO's to Business Analysts. All these people are skilled tech folk. Management is taking the stand that these tech folk understand what the "business" is all about a lot better than IT staff. Therefore it makes more sense for them to take on more IT related duties. because they are already "technical" there should is a very small learning curve involved.

what comes into question is managements ability to make those decisons based on the what information? project management states try to keep people who are on the same side involved in the project. in order to keep your project moving along, try to keep everyone involved happy or make sure you only have people that see eye to eye involved in the project. if a project manager is given the choice of playing politics or just excluding the "bad apple" - what will they do? chose the shortest path available to the sucess of their project.

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management issues

by Becker-2004 In reply to You flamed Becker-2004

hi guys, i just recently noticed that this thread picked up responses, so have not had a chance to read all. but you two have make a hated debate. i think both of you make good points. there are a lot of good point made by many.

i think a big concern on my part is what is trying to say. we will get the heat for everything that goes wrong and everything that they don't like about whatever it is they are trying to do. they will not consult with us and they are going ahead full throttle with what they are doing.

i also think that the true measure of the success of an IT project is in the results. i don't think these people will stick around to see the results of what they are doing. guess who will get the "clean up" job? they will be long gone.

in the mean time, with regards to documentation.

they will make sure that everything that goes wrong and they don't like about the system gets documented as a problem current IT infrastructure can't fix or deal with. everything that went well gets documented as a wonderful job that all current project team (of which IT are not a part of becuase IT doesn't really understand the "their business" as well as the appointed project team members do!) members are doing.

i am prepared to live with the situation. but at the same token. i really thing that credit (or blame!) should get directed at where credit (or blame!) is due.

I am getting the impression that very smart and intelligect managers have realized that they can use IT as a sort of "rug" underneath which they can sweep away and hide the "dirt" they create.

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You need some objectivity ---- Are you up for it???

by sleepin'dawg In reply to management issues

You seem to have left out some crucial information
in your request for advice. How big is your company? How long have you been there? How long has your boss been there and how old is he? How long has the other manager been with the company and his age? Does the other manager make any valid
points in his arguments? Is your boss ambitious or
is he satisfied with the status quo? Are you over satisfied with the status quo? Can you honestly say your department is on the cutting edge and properly responsive to the needs of the users? Who established your present systems? Anyone current or were they inherited? From how long ago?
Are you loyal to your boss? Is this loyalty perhaps misguided? Are you afraid of the other manager because he is an unknown element? Are you afraid you and your skills are obsolete or are about to be come so? Why are you with that company
and why do you want/need to stay there? The really
big question her is, WHAT DO YOU WANT????? Not for the company, not for your department, not for your boss but you, WHAT DO YOU WANT - FROM YOUR
Answer that and the next question has to be, what are you prepared to do and how far will you go to achieve your goals??? Are you prepared to take the necessary steps to achieve your goals or have you already told yourself that it's too late, too hard or your too old, too busy, to get into this now? Are these questions too tough or personal for you? They shouldn't be because nobody will ask them of you but you should be asking them of
yourself IF and this is a big IF, you want to be and can be objective about yourself. The natural tendency is to allow one's self to grow overly comfortable in a satisfactory situation. Note, I said satisfactory not satisfying. We all have different ideas on what is saisfying and only you
can say what yours is. Comfort however, can lead to complacency and dull your sense of awareness to what is happening around you. How's your situational awareness??? Has your company peaked or is it entering the entropy stage? It doesn't have to be the whole company. It could be your division or your branch of it. Hopefully it isn't your department. It seems to me your slipping into a political situation wherein the other manager is ambitious and has set about empire building. Rightly or wrongly he has identified your department as a "soft" target. If he is right he is going to win regardless of his lack of technical knowledge. Technical knowledge can always be hired and good managers can be trained.
Great managers seem to be born with a management gene in their DNA but this doesn't mean they will be a winner everytime out of the gate. Remember Apple Computer. They brought in the guy who had lifted Pepsi to the point where the boss at Coke felt threatened enough to bring out a new formula. That was a mistake and the boss paid the
price by publicly falling on his sword. In the mean time the Pepsi guy was flying high and when Apple felt it was losing market share, around 18% at the time, so they kicked out Steve Jobs and brought in some frog from France and the Pepsi guy. Before they were finished they had Apple's market share down around 4% and it looked like Apple was about to go the way of Commodore and other early entries to the world of computers. Jobs was brought back, which must have been humbling for the people who had booted him. Jobs,
so far, has saved the company. It hasn't exactly regained its former glory but it is no longer circling the drain. Jobs is a great manager of a tech company the Pepsi guy is a grat manager of a soft drink or consumables company; they should each stick to what they're good at.
You are probably thinking all of this isn't answering your question or providing much in the way of advice but it does cut to the nitty gritty. Why and what are you afraid of with the other manager? You could end up further ahead with him than your present boss. If this guy is out to carve himself an empire make sure he is carving on his empire and not on you. You seem to want the status quo which, to me at least, the surest way to career stagnation and that could ultimately turn you into a sitting duck or target. Either can be fired - on. The moving or upwardly mobile target is much harder to hit. In case you are telling yourself it's too late or you're too old to learn new things let me use this occasion to remind you of Colonel Harland Sanders. He was 67 years old when he opened his first KFC restaurant so, as you can see, you're never too old or too late unless they keep throwing dirt on you. I know how I would answer this for myself but only you know what you want and know to what limits you will go. Neither I nor anyone else should or can answer that except yourself. My only advice is try and keep yourself
clean and above the fray but keep an eye out for what is best for you and go after it. Maybe you should be looking out to establish your own empire
and while your boss and the other manager battle it out you could come up the middle with a neat cost effective solution to everything. That would be my choice but what the **** everyone knows I'm
a low down mean and nasty SOB. Whatever, goodluck on whatever you decide.

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Well, Excuse me

by jrowe In reply to Well, excuse me.....!

First off, I say that I respect your ideas and congratulate you on being employed by companies large and profitable enough to have a training department. Unfortunately, the reality is that IT now has to take up the training slack of a department that was dissolved due to lack of funds. We are the first group where funds and people are dispensable. That is the reality. I feel extremely bad for Becker. We are always coming up against someone who thinks he knows better than the IT department. And its always become a disaster when outside plans are implemented without the aid of IT. And we are expected to know everyone's job. We are to be all-seeing, all powerful and know it all. We are to provide training because there isn't any training available at my company. So all I've got to say to you is that you have been extremely lucky to work where you work.

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All always define the project scope

by frederic_abergel In reply to Turf Wars


I have the same problem to some extent. I am CIO of an academic hospital and dealing with clinicians can be difficult in the same way you expressed. I found that making every project clear at the beginning has been the best and most consistant approach. For every project submitted by a clinician, we now have a standard project definition template that defines the project objectives (both business and technical), the project risks (this is where you put your concerns), the project assumptions (very important for you), the project deliverables, every parties responsibilities (very very important) and if you can a kind of SLA where you specify a level of service if certain technical and/or business conditions are met. For every project, I must sign the document as well as the sponsor. Even though this document does not prevent all the problems, it does give a clear message to the other party that you're serious in this and that you are willing to guarantee quality but only to the point you can predict the environment. Believe me, this changes quite a few things in any kind of relationship!

Hope this helps.

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Email to decision makers

by j_shamon In reply to Turf Wars

First I would discuss your concerns with this Manager, but be prepared to backup your concerns with what can potentially happen if the project is not thoroughly thought out. Where can money be lost if this fails or is not thought out logically? What benefits is it going to bring your company and how?

Next I would send an email, (the words you use are very important in the way you express yourself) to him/her and copy the appropriate decision makers expressing your insight into the possible problems that can and probably will occure, (try to be as positive as possible, highlighting the benifits about this project if there are any) Be as diplomatic as possible shifting the accoutability to this ambitious non technical Manager. Make it absolutly clear that if the proper people are not consulted and they jump into this big IT project without getting insight from the IT folks, then they're the ones who will have to clean it up.

Next I would save both a digital and hard copy of your email just in case you need it in the future.

*note* this is just my opinion and it may not work out to your benifit if you take my advise. Just an outside opinion that has no knowledge of your place of work or the people there. In the end it's you that has to face this challange.

Kind regards,

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There is something missing here.......

by sleepin'dawg In reply to Turf Wars

It is difficult to offer advice based on such scant information. What is the size of the company and what type i.e.: service or manufacturing? A manager is referred to in one case in the singular and then in the plural; why? Doesn't the manager referred to, have a boss? Is the manager referred to, on the same responsibility level? Could it be that this manager is on a higher level and is trying to increase his empire or fiefdom? These questions need answers if an intelligent assessment of the situation is to be made and a proper answer formulated; anything else may offer moral support but little of actual value. One thing one should keep in mind is nothing will be gained by creating enemies through confrontational tactics. Keep your eyes and ears open to see what senior management has in mind and if there are any personal contacts on this level perhaps they can be addressed, informally, to see which way the wind is blowing through the senior management suites.

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