we shall see

Apr. 29th, 2009 10:24 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
[personal profile] spiffikins
So, after half a week of awkward conversations, boss finally came over today and said "let's take a walk".

We wandered over to the coffee shop and made light conversation about random things, until he finally said "sooo...things aren't good"

Long conversation, not, as usual, one that solved any immediate problems. He did confirm what I've been thinking, which is that the plan for moving all our hosted servers into the domain of an external service provider, while attractive, is much too large of an investment for us to make right now - we'd be going from $48k a year to host the servers, to $45k up front, plus nearly 40k per *month* to host...it's a huge number, comes with a 2 year commitment, and we can't really justify it based on our customer base right now. He's not tossing it completely out the window, and wants to revisit the concept in a year or so.

Meanwhile, we have to find a new plan. He did agree to hire an IT person to take on the day to day management of the hardware and hosted facility, including 24/7 on call stuff that I've been doing for years and years. Our goal is to find someone who knows more than me (shouldn't be hard!). So I have to write up and post the job description.

I did manage to convey some of my biggest issues - when I brought up the current crisis which really brought all of my pain to a head and caused my breakdown last week, he said that he and the CEO are stuck in some ways because we can't fix all the problems immediately. I *totally* understand - it's obvious - we don't have enough people and time and money - but I pointed out that it puts me in the completely unfair situation of having the customer call me weekly to say "it's still broken, and it's critical to us, why hasn't this been dealt with" - when I *cannot* get anything done about it. I think the word I used was "exhausting" to continuously have to try (and fail) to escalate a major problem from one of our largest customers to the CEO and CFO of the company and not have it either fixed, or removed from being my responsibility. He did agree that exhausting was probably the perfect word, and that it's not fair to me.

By the end of the conversation, he is going to talk to the other manager-level people and make it clear that when it comes to support issues, the support staff are going to be given instructions to ask *other* people first, and not always come to me for assistance - and those other people are going to be told to provide that assistance, even if it would be *easier* to ask spiffikins.

The next release, I'm going to walk minion #1 through building the release package and databases and explain what the concept is, and let her figure it out.

It's actually quite funny - nobody realizes that when engineering and QA say "build 40 is the release" - what needs to be done to make it available to customers. I'm the only person who has done it, and nobody told me what needed doing - I make it up every time, and so far nobody has complained and said "no that's not right" so I keep doing what I *think* we need...and it's all in my head, and it's not particularly well defined.

Actually, a good chunk of my job is like that - "here's the goal, get us there" - like - "we want to start using drupal for our web page and documentation - go set that up" or "we need to be able to ship software to customers - figure that out" or "we need to be able to convert customers from one kind of database to another"

Today we interviewed 2 engineers - I was late but came in for the group interview - my goal was to mostly just sit and listen, not because I particularly have a say in the hiring, but also because I like to see how interviews are conducted so I can learn how to do my own hiring. Both times, the VP of Engineering introduced me as the "Software Operations Manager who is our DBA and basically is the person who gets things done around here" - which I found kind of interesting - especially since over the past year I feel more like the person who keeps having to say "I can't get that done, I don't have time".

I'm planning on taking Friday off, but that means I need to get a whole bunch of stuff accomplished tomorrow, and so far my day looks like a mess...so we'll see.
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