Against all reason

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for thumb_chapman_pincher.gifIt’s amazing how outdated attitudes resist all evidence and reason. Or as a manager of mine said after we had set up full VPN access to the full suite of business application, ‘Never underestimate the forces of reaction.’                                 

For workers who can operate independently, telecommuting makes sense. It saves huge sums in terms of fuel prices and commuting time. Yet many managers cling to the notion that an employee who is not in the office is not working making it difficult to be judged on the quality of work rather than the quantity of office time.

The trouble is that senior managers live in rarified air; or inhabit and area ‘above the cloud line’ as another exec put it. Like the gods of Mt Olympus they are inured to the fates of mere mortals and have no interest in sparing employees the wear and tear of travel.

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This problem is just one component of the larger problem of IT management having become a self-sustaining bureaucracy. Insecure managers cling to what little relevance they have left by "managing up" - spending more time *appearing* to their bosses like they are in control instead of acknowledging that they are often not smarter than those they supervise (i.e. those with real technical expertise). My favorite boondoggle is "Change Control" that requires managers to "Approve" even trivial actions that they cannot hope to understand enough (too technical) to evaluate. Certainly it's a good idea to create an audit trail of anything done to your IT environment, but many/most changes don't merit all that approval overhead. What's really sad is when the change control process does require pointless approval steps but then doesn't produce the usable audit trail that would allow later analysis and troubleshooting. THEN you know it's just a sham.