Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Is there really a difference...?

Between working for the state, and being in a mental institution run by the state?

I have an internal customer with no concept of how long things take; anything you could ask of an IT shop should take as long as microwave popcorn. Today, it was decided that the best way to manage their expectations is to keep track of the time we spend working on their requests.

::scratches head::

If you think it takes 5 minutes to do something, but it actually takes five hours, and I tell you that I've spent an hour working on your problem, am I managing your expectations?

Oh. Then let's start using this project tracking system we have to have them enter their requests. Red tape will make them understand how long it should take.

I've been interacting with the customers on a daily basis for the past two weeks on an asinine request they made. The request had a hard deadline, and I had exactly enough hours between when it was received and when it was due to get it done, and I was told to make it happen. I had several hours into the project before the customer completely changed it. The change didn't make the task any easier or harder, but it meant scrapping the work I'd done up to that point and starting fresh. In the mean time, they made several other requests that "should only take a few minutes".

I am only alloted 6 hours a week for their project and 32 hours a week for my other major project. Almost every week, I'm told to drop one and spend 100% of my time on the other. Sometimes this is implicit ("It will take me 120 hours to do that and it needs to be done in three weeks." "Then do it."), and sometimes explicitly ("This is your top priority, focus all your time on this").

Today, after I sent the customer several updates on their tasks (which they acknowledged), they fired an email off to my boss's-boss's-boss telling him that I wasn't working on their project and why didn't they have any access to me. I just spent 90 minutes going through my notes and emails from last week to get the real tally: 32.5 hours.


The worst part: my Commonwealth-issued apathy suppositories aren't even working anymore. I fucking hate it here. Hate hate hate.

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