I volunteered to assist with an office becoming more technology based, and so a month ago I put together a proposal on how to do this on a black box of an office.
Let’s take a moment and look at that. I volunteered to do something and was asked for a proposal on something I had no access to. Clearly, the first thing one has to do is see what is there, what goes in and what comes out. As a bonus, I do know that the whole thing has never been backed up before, so there’s stray unbacked data on at least 3 computers that I know of that can be in varying levels of organization, possibly using different software packages, etc, etc.
Thus, I put together a proposal and sent it in on January 6th, 2023, with an explanation of that, which would have to be done after everything was backed up. Start? Immediate, upon approval, estimated 40 hours total. It’s not a big office, and I live nearby.
Now, of course, with these projects everyone wants to run before they crawl. They have these grandiose designs of what the future office will do, and that’s healthy. However, when building that castle in the sky, one needs to first put the basics in place. Like backups, and knowing what information you have to manage – otherwise you’re not necessarily creating something efficient. You could well be creating more work, or more complexity, neither of which is the point of technology.
On the 26th of January, I was asked to attend a meeting at 8:30 pm, and while later than I liked, I went. Suddenly I was staring at a ticket system getting demonstrated and I was sincerely puzzled. While the future may hold a ticketing system for the office, the person they think will be managing the tickets isn’t the subject matter expert who will need to actually manage the tickets. Specialized knowledge would be required for that. Meanwhile, the system is still not backed up 20 days after the proposal was sent in. Not only were they putting the cart before the horse, they were adding a second cart.
I said as much, and it didn’t seem that well received despite dipping it in as much sugar as I could find. I’m volunteering, after all, and I can always walk out when I don’t like things. It’s better to know such things up front. And 2 weeks later – nothing. It came to mind this morning over coffee.
Everyone wants to innovate, to do something cool, but to do the cool things you have to get the basics done. You don’t just throw technology at a problem until you have actually defined the problem, and you most certainly can’t innovate your way out of a paper bag unless you understand the problem, it’s context, and how flexible the present technology being used is.
I do hope that I have time to deal with it should they want to do things properly, and if they don’t, I will not lose sleep over it. I have other things to do, and it’s not like it’s something that pays even as they mention to me that they’re willing to pay someone to do stuff that I might suggest.
Basics. The junior people fly at opportunities to use the latest hammers on the things they think are nails. The senior people want to assess things since they have more than hammers in their toolbox.
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