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Vicious cyle...

By Menace65 ·
I'm currently working on a project for which I need to perform certain security-related tasks. I joined a previously existing team that had been trained in these tasks (and were given no notice that I would be joining them). I was told in no uncertain terms by the members of this team that I would have limited access until I was trained. Fast forward 4 months, I have been able to take some training on the tasks at hand, and have been given *special* limited access to the system. I am given tasks to do by the team itself, which I am unable to perform due to these limitations. Have had many dicussions (arguments) with team members to give me more access so I can perform the tasks. Reponse is always "get the training". Their fear (which is unfounded) is that I would do *something* to break the system), which is ridiculous because I curently have more security access than they do in our other company systems again without formal training. From the perspective of getting training, I have given my boss, who has given his boss all the costs involved in this training, and due to the amount, it has been in limbo for these past months. So it has now turned into a vicious cycle of not being able to do this part of my job, because I don't have the access, because I don't have the training, so I can't have the access... It doesn't help that the lead person on this project, someone with whom I've worked for the last 2.5 years, thinks he's the end all and be all and can make all the decisions. My boss had a talk with him just this last week, but nothing has changed. I'm going to push for more access this coming week, and if it does not happen, I'm not certain what my next steps should be. It is well-known in my company that this guy I work with is problematic, he has no relationships with anyone, and is basically shunned by those he works closest with because of his attitude. It doesn't help that he's from another culture, and doesn't *get* the whole sharing of knowledge. Any ideas? Thanks.

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You must be a very tolerant chap

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Vicious cyle...

They give you a task, they won't give you the authority to do it. Your bosses give you to a team that does things they won't pay for the training you 'need' to do it. It has to be needed as they've given the team the authority to stop you from doing it.
There's no way to win piggie in the middle when you are the piggie. Stop playing. Get your bosses in a room with your team, say sort out WTF you want from me, then let me know. Go for a beer, and or start looking for a job with someone who doesn't have their head up their arse.
You don't seem to be the problem they do, identify that and let them sort it out.

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I would only add this one thing

by Tig2 In reply to You must be a very tolera ...

Start sending a weekly memo to the team lead, your boss, and any other impacted persons. Clearly identify what task have been completed, which tasks haven't and the rationale for that incompletion. Indicate what you ahve sked for in terms of required access and how far along you are in the path of getting that access.

If you are not able to validate activity for partso f your day, indicate what blocks of time have been given over to less critial tasks and why.

Only request additional access via documentable process- form, email, writing. Keep copies.

Each weekly report should contain an action plan for the next week. If the tasks on you action plan require someone else to do something for you first (i.e. grant access), identify it along with a completion requirement date.

Anyone asks you why you are taking this step, tell them it is so that you can communicate your activities to the team in general and your boss in particular.

When I list my activities, I bullet them with a red, yellow, or green bullet. Red, of course, meaning that the task could not be completed. If a reason for incompletion is known, present it along with pertinent history.

With this tool, no one can complain about your productivity. And it will quickly help to clarify the root cause of the problem.

Good Luck!

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Play the Newbie Card

by Wayne M. In reply to Vicious cyle...

One way to try to build the team's confidence in you would be to work with someone on a task. Find the most approachable person on the team and ask him to help you on one of your tasks or ask to help him on one of his tasks.

Do not be afraid to do any of the "grunt" work and make sure to do it well. Show the person that you are willing to work as a team member. This will also let this person see, first hand, how work restrictions are preventing your from doing your job. Try to create a buzz about yourself, "You know, 'M' is working his @ss off, but we don't give him the access he needs to do the job."

Working on a team is as much about psychology as technical skills, and some teams are harder to break into than others. The newcomer is always at a disadvantage, because anything short of perfection is viewed as a failure, and perfection is only grudgingly accepted as "adequate." Try to find ways to work one on one with various team members so that they can get to know you and your skills first hand. Set a time limit, however. If things are not improving in about 2 months, it's time to move on and look for an internal transfer or a new external job.

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Consequences?

by Maevinn In reply to Vicious cyle...

The boss knows you can't do the job without the training and won't pony up for the training. As long as your boss knows this, it's officially not your problem. Tracking the progress of getting you the training, yes. Worrying about the work you can't do? Nope. Make sure the boss really does understand this, and that there won't be negative consequences--and then get on with the rest of your job.

Oh--and as for asking the team to violate thier security policy--don't. Security policies are in place for reasons other than to keep you from playing with their toys. Violating them puts everyone and the entire project at risk; sure, you wouldn't intentionally do anything wrong--that's why it's called an accident! This is protecting YOU more than it is them.

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Resources to do the job

by IBM5081 In reply to Consequences?

Excellent recommendation. There is a connecting link that is needed:

Team denies access due to lack of training. Does management concur that no further access is to be given until training is successfully accomplished? The boss must agree that some work cannot be assigned to this person due to lack of training which is controlled by management.

It could turn out that the untrained person is unfairly designated as a slacker without this connection.

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Right hook

by pgr7 In reply to Vicious cyle...

just give him a right hook, you'll probably get promoted and if you don't, all the other employees will take you out to celebrate

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Sigh

by jkulrikson In reply to Vicious cyle...

If you're such an IT Security Guru, why don't you grant yourself access without, "The Team." You DO know how to do that, don't you? It's your JOB, after all, right? No? How do you ever expect to recover from an intrusion by someone who DOES? Could this, perhaps, be the actual test?

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Play Diplomat

by vince In reply to Vicious cyle...

If you feel strongly that your situation hinders the abillity of the company to be profiteable then you have a strong case!
Identify the decision makers in IT and Management, sit down together, and discuss the solution.

I had a very similar problem and not till i basically told the IT Leader he was a prick and discussed the problems with management did I get it resolved.

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There are several things you can do

by turnier In reply to Vicious cyle...

1) Documenting the "catch-22" reasons why you could not perform assigned tasks is good (it is in fact a very good work practice to always keep a journal/log of your tasks).
2) As for the training, instead of submitting everything needed and the (apparently prohibitive) cost, see if you can break it up into some manageable increments. Submit the first set and hopefully they will allow it. Start the training and start the process for the next set. Hopefully you'll be fully "up to snuff" before they know it.
3) Start looking for another placement or job. It sounds like you are entagled in multiple layers of incompetency which will probably cause you further (probably never ending) agravations and headaches.

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...CAN'T FIGHT AN ARMY WITHOUT AN ARMY.

by maris63w In reply to Vicious cyle...

I have been where you are now...I tried everything and my boss was an Executive Officer who tried to make them give me access, but they had a Director who didn't want to do it and he was coniving enough to keep the IT VP misled with his own reasons. I stuck it out for more than a few years, but eventually my position was erased and I found myself on the streets. I tried backdoors, as one person explained, I tried diplomacy, I tried hard work and logical reports, I tried helping others to the point of doing all of their work...in short I tried everything everyone else has suggested on this posting, but I was never ever given access to do the things I needed to do to do my job. You have a choice, ride it out as long as you can until you get boosted, or ride it out while you look for another postion. One way or the other, you will eventually not be there. These type of individuals and the company they work in are usually the whole reason a company is in trouble and doesn't face it until the company has been drained of all real producers and real profit. I would have told you the same thing when I was struggling by the way, so I know how upsetting and difficult it is to face the fact that you can't fight an army with an army.

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