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Thread: Do you ever feel like you're going no where with a project?

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    Overclocking Since 1988 nightkhaos's Avatar
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    Do you ever feel like you're going no where with a project?

    I, a lowly intern fresh out of the depths of University, have been tasked with helping with a time optimisation project at my work.

    My tools of choice (or rather, the choice I have made given the access rights I have) is Microsoft Visio, Lotus Notes and Microsoft Excel.

    However, I have been hitting road-block after road-block, sending requests here and there, requests for software, requests for clarification. I send an email out almost every five minutes with some request, clarification, explaination, etc. And thus far I feel like I have not achieved anything.

    It is very frustrating. Have any of you guys had any similar experiences?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spock
    I am not our father.

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    Formerly known as Andehh Andeh13's Avatar
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    Re: Do you ever feel like you're going no where with a project?

    Yep, I know how you feel mate. Im about to start my final year at University. Being a new father means my weekends will be spent with gf & daughter so i want to get a head start on the work. I have 2 months of fairly free time in which i could build a foundation, become familiar with the work & all round help myself out next year.....

    ....2 weeks later, 14 e-mails sent to 5 different lecturers and iv not had one reply. Totally taking the blinking cheese.

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    Anthropomorphic Personification shaithis's Avatar
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    Re: Do you ever feel like you're going no where with a project?

    Yup, always the same, plus I currently have the added bonus of job after job being off-shored to India, with sod-all being handed over properly and no one saying who now deals with x or y.

    Start escallating to team leaders/managers!
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    Jay
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    Re: Do you ever feel like you're going no where with a project?

    Yes, sort of anyway.

    I have had network projects held up by internal politics, lack of co-operation and people who think they are the big cheese etc. It gets very frustrating.
    □ΞVΞ□

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    Overclocking Since 1988 nightkhaos's Avatar
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    Re: Do you ever feel like you're going no where with a project?

    The worst situation I am in right now is a simple request for something to convert/view PCL files so we could get them into PDF format, as the current procedure requires us to scan the printed documents, a long process that results in bloated files often missing data.

    The system we use cannot output to PDF or Postscript, and the mechanism it uses to print prints directly off the server hosting it. (I also suggested something like CUPS-PDF be installed on the server, but that has been put on the backburner).

    Instead I was given another Windows Virtual PDF printer as a suggestion, and when I worked this out I was furious, did the person not read the query? Even if they didn't read supplimental information that lead to the query which was attached in the chain there was enough information in the query.

    The query clearly stated why we needed the program and what we needed it to do. The most annoying this is that I could fix this with one google search but the software has to be company approved.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spock
    I am not our father.

  6. #6
    bored out of my tiny mind malfunction's Avatar
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    Re: Do you ever feel like you're going no where with a project?

    Lotus Notes?

    I feel your pain...

    On a serious note you probably need to work out a simple way to state the problems you are facing and propose solutions to them and then arrange a face to face meeting (or a conf call if needs must) with a few key people to discuss your ideas - in fact it would probably be a good idea to run it past your line manager or someone else informally first given that you're newly qualified... I'd take the approach of "I'm finding this difficult because of X and I think it would be better to do Y - what do you think?". It's hard to say without knowing your background and position; personally I'd be happy for someone to be keen / proactive but be prepared to be shot down in flames if your ideas don't hold water and / or if someone else will feel they are losing face by being told how to do their job by the new guy. I don't mean prepare to fail - I just mean be prepared for the possibility that you'll get an adverse reaction and think about how you would handle it if you do - i.e. try not to take things too personally.

    Once you've garnered some support it will be easier to convince others that alternate actions are needed - i.e. your boss / the powers that be can't help you out unless they know about the issues and are far more likely to help you out if you come to the table with solutions and not just problems.

    </cliché mode>

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    Overclocking Since 1988 nightkhaos's Avatar
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    Re: Do you ever feel like you're going no where with a project?

    Quote Originally Posted by malfunction View Post
    Lotus Notes?
    I have no comment on the above issue.
    Quote Originally Posted by malfunction View Post
    I feel your pain...

    On a serious note you probably need to work out a simple way to state the problems you are facing and propose solutions to them and then arrange a face to face meeting (or a conf call if needs must) with a few key people to discuss your ideas - in fact it would probably be a good idea to run it past your line manager or someone else informally first given that you're newly qualified... I'd take the approach of "I'm finding this difficult because of X and I think it would be better to do Y - what do you think?". It's hard to say without knowing your background and position; personally I'd be happy for someone to be keen / proactive but be prepared to be shot down in flames if your ideas don't hold water and / or if someone else will feel they are losing face by being told how to do their job by the new guy. I don't mean prepare to fail - I just mean be prepared for the possibility that you'll get an adverse reaction and think about how you would handle it if you do - i.e. try not to take things too personally.

    Once you've garnered some support it will be easier to convince others that alternate actions are needed - i.e. your boss / the powers that be can't help you out unless they know about the issues and are far more likely to help you out if you come to the table with solutions and not just problems.

    </cliché mode>
    I know, I have been doing this for two weeks now, I'm getting really good in forming my queries in such a way that I look like a confused young puppy dog that needs a help instead of the, what I'm feeling, "are you guys completely incompetent, how hard is it to get a PCL converter/viewer" mails I usually write, and then send straight to the trash can. Apparently my trash can is having a emotional crisis which results in me having to use the KillNotes.exe every once and a while.

    For example, I didn't say "I was thinking about this problem and I decided to do a quick google search and the second result down was the program I was looking for..." instead I said "I was thinking about the problem to see if I could investiage the issue and I found this program that fits my requirements..."

    However, apart from the frustrations it's actually a really fun job.
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    i7 (Bloomfield) Overclocking Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Spock
    I am not our father.

  8. #8
    0iD
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    Re: Do you ever feel like you're going no where with a project?

    Quote Originally Posted by nightkhaos View Post
    The query clearly stated why we needed the program and what we needed it to do. The most annoying this is that I could fix this with one google search but the software has to be company approved.
    Ah, such is the way of the corporation, if it's not on the approved software/vendors list, you stand absolutely no chance of getting it. I have felt that particular frustration many many times.
    [
    Quote Originally Posted by Blitzen
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  9. #9
    Overclocking Since 1988 nightkhaos's Avatar
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    Re: Do you ever feel like you're going no where with a project?

    Quote Originally Posted by 0iD View Post
    Ah, such is the way of the corporation, if it's not on the approved software/vendors list, you stand absolutely no chance of getting it.
    Not entirely accurate. I could remove some key linked librarys and configuration files, and thus after a long support call end up with local adminstrative rights, then install the program manually, but that wouldn't help me role it out to all the people who require it.

    When I migrated machines some of the DLLs and configuration files got muddled for some reason, something to do with the roaming profile, so they had to give me Local Adminstator rights as they remoted in so that they could fix the issues.

    ...on a minor note why do I still have Local Adminstrator rights?

    Must...resist...desire...to...install...Google Chrome.
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    i7 (Bloomfield) Overclocking Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Spock
    I am not our father.

  10. #10
    Seething Cauldron of Hatred TheAnimus's Avatar
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    Re: Do you ever feel like you're going no where with a project?

    its fun dealing with large companies and their IT policies, even more fun when your one of the devs, and to get something rolled out to someone who is sitting 3 meters from you, you have to get approvial via frankfurt, even for a bugfix. That normally took 3 days.

    After a little over a year i quit and went to a smaller company, life was much easier for a short spell.
    throw new ArgumentException (String, String, Exception)

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    Overclocking Since 1988 nightkhaos's Avatar
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    Re: Do you ever feel like you're going no where with a project?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheAnimus View Post
    its fun dealing with large companies and their IT policies, even more fun when your one of the devs, and to get something rolled out to someone who is sitting 3 meters from you, you have to get approvial via frankfurt, even for a bugfix. That normally took 3 days.

    After a little over a year i quit and went to a smaller company, life was much easier for a short spell.
    Paris for me. I feel your pain. I have reported the Local Adminstator Rights "problem" no less than 3 times to the relevent people, and it still hasn't been fixed. I'm not gonna report it again. It is useful to diagnose problems before I revert to calling IT support...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spock
    I am not our father.

  12. #12
    Seething Cauldron of Hatred TheAnimus's Avatar
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    Re: Do you ever feel like you're going no where with a project?

    Ensure you cover your arse, there is a lot of blame laid at the feet of people who are more privledged users than they should have been.

    The funny thing is you do learn a lot quite quickly, and after a while all the insaintity starts to make sense, you can see how its all cheaper in the long run, and limited by the fact you just can't simply get enough good compitent staff.

    Its one of the reasons MS does so well in the buisness space, and faces no real threat from linux, they don't provide enough management tools, and a one brand, one vendor agrement responsable face!
    throw new ArgumentException (String, String, Exception)

  13. #13
    Overclocking Since 1988 nightkhaos's Avatar
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    Re: Do you ever feel like you're going no where with a project?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheAnimus View Post
    Ensure you cover your arse, there is a lot of blame laid at the feet of people who are more privledged users than they should have been.
    I did report it 3 times, so if it does come up in future, I have my arse covered. I'm not using it for anything anyway, apart from KillNotes.exe, but I think that works on user-level permissions anyway, and is an authorised program. (I found it in the Notes directory in my HDD).

    Quote Originally Posted by TheAnimus View Post
    The funny thing is you do learn a lot quite quickly, and after a while all the insaintity starts to make sense, you can see how its all cheaper in the long run, and limited by the fact you just can't simply get enough good compitent staff.

    Its one of the reasons MS does so well in the buisness space, and faces no real threat from linux, they don't provide enough management tools, and a one brand, one vendor agrement responsable face!
    And in the meantime I am just summing up an email chain so long that if printed I could probably lay a paper trail from here to London, which also at some point managed to get split into two different chains for some reason I can't seem to work out...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spock
    I am not our father.

  14. #14
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    Re: Do you ever feel like you're going no where with a project?

    Quote Originally Posted by nightkhaos View Post
    I'm getting really good in forming my queries in such a way that I look like a confused young puppy dog that needs a help instead of the, what I'm feeling, "are you guys completely incompetent, how hard is it to get a PCL converter/viewer" mails I usually write, and then send straight to the trash can. Apparently my trash can is having a emotional crisis which results in me having to use the KillNotes.exe every once and a while.

    For example, I didn't say "I was thinking about this problem and I decided to do a quick google search and the second result down was the program I was looking for..." instead I said "I was thinking about the problem to see if I could investiage the issue and I found this program that fits my requirements..."

    However, apart from the frustrations it's actually a really fun job.
    Well be thankful for the later; give it a decade or so and I'm sure you'll never used the words "fun" and "job" in a non sarcastic sentence. FWIW I once worked on a project where one of the supposedly technical members of staff - with a self proclaimed 10 years of unix experience (whatever that means) - went off on a rant about the fact that we wanted him to start making fundamental changes to the core product. The change in question was effectively to add "cd bin" to the top of a startup script. The same person also raised a top priority issue in our ticketing / support system to ask what the "undocumented script" "deleteOldLogs.sh" did. Upon opening the script I found 5 lines of comments describing what the 'code' did and how you might want to change it to suit your environment and 1 line of 'code' - a unix find command - that deleted anything in the logs directory that was more than 7 days old.


  15. #15
    Overclocking Since 1988 nightkhaos's Avatar
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    Re: Do you ever feel like you're going no where with a project?

    Quote Originally Posted by malfunction View Post
    Well be thankful for the later; give it a decade or so and I'm sure you'll never used the words "fun" and "job" in a non sarcastic sentence. FWIW I once worked on a project where one of the supposedly technical members of staff - with a self proclaimed 10 years of unix experience (whatever that means) - went off on a rant about the fact that we wanted him to start making fundamental changes to the core product. The change in question was effectively to add "cd bin" to the top of a startup script. The same person also raised a top priority issue in our ticketing / support system to ask what the "undocumented script" "deleteOldLogs.sh" did. Upon opening the script I found 5 lines of comments describing what the 'code' did and how you might want to change it to suit your environment and 1 line of 'code' - a unix find command - that deleted anything in the logs directory that was more than 7 days old.

    Did he even read the name of the file, let alone open it?

    The reason I find it fun is because what I am doing is quite rewarding, it's teaching me programming techniques, althrough said problems are wrote in VBA in Excel, that doesn't negate the expereince.

    For example, I just found a fundemental problem with one of my scripts that under certein circumstances would result something being divided by zero, and thus an overflow would occur.

    It's teaching me what assumptions I need to make about my data, and althrough the code I am writing right now I'll be the first to admit is messy, and probably not all that good, that is the only way to learn. I do feel sorry for the poor soul who one day needs to adapt my code for another purpose, but that is the perials of Ad-Hoc projects, you don't have time to do it properly. You only have time to do it right.

    This means stuff, like testing, that most developers experience with their projects, I do not have time for. My projects need to be deployed, and tested, on production data, and if something goes wrong, I need to drop everything and fix it then and there otherwise we won't deliever to our clients that day.
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    Re: Do you ever feel like you're going no where with a project?

    Quote Originally Posted by nightkhaos View Post
    Did he even read the name of the file, let alone open it?
    Unfortunately I'm quite sure he read both the name and contents of the file and in fact had gone looking for something like it so that he could be a PITA.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightkhaos View Post
    The reason I find it fun is because what I am doing is quite rewarding, it's teaching me programming techniques, althrough said problems are wrote in VBA in Excel, that doesn't negate the expereince.

    For example, I just found a fundemental problem with one of my scripts that under certein circumstances would result something being divided by zero, and thus an overflow would occur.

    It's teaching me what assumptions I need to make about my data, and althrough the code I am writing right now I'll be the first to admit is messy, and probably not all that good, that is the only way to learn. I do feel sorry for the poor soul who one day needs to adapt my code for another purpose, but that is the perials of Ad-Hoc projects, you don't have time to do it properly. You only have time to do it right.

    This means stuff, like testing, that most developers experience with their projects, I do not have time for. My projects need to be deployed, and tested, on production data, and if something goes wrong, I need to drop everything and fix it then and there otherwise we won't deliever to our clients that day.
    I miss my days as a full time developer - it was the only IT job I've had that I ever felt true job satisfaction in. If you're an all windows shop I'd probably recommend looking at .net instead of VBA if it's at all possible (I'm guessing not but thought it was worth a comment anyway).

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