Catch Me If You Can. Director Version

    "Catch Me If You Can". This is the name of the film by Steven Spielberg. I looked interesting. But it’s not true, although it is based on real events.

    In fact, “catch me if you can” is such a game. I see this game every day, and even participate in it. And I feel about the same as the hero of the Spielberg movie - the one whom Tom Hanks plays. I feel like an idiot. A helpless idiot who is deceived by looking into his eyes every day. I have power, but all I can do with it is fire. Although, this does not help - a new employee arrives, and the game starts again.

    Perhaps you heard such a beautiful saying: if you invited a qualified specialist to work, then you need to do what he says, and not tell him what to do. Have you tried to do what these skilled professionals say? I tried. And I will say bluntly: this is complete nonsense.

    The other day I kicked out the next CIO. Following him, for some unknown reason, my only programmer broke and went to Moscow, although I recently raised his salary. Well, to hell with him, with the programmer. He used to be a good, valuable, helpful, interesting, inspired - the same qualified employee who he wanted to listen to and do as he says. And then, like everyone else, he began to play the game "catch me if you can."

    What kind of game is this? You call it “work”, “fulfillment of one’s duties”, “maintaining the operability of the IT infrastructure”, “enterprise automation”, “web application development”, etc. Your only goal in this game is not to be caught.

    Depending on your position in the hierarchy, either your boss, or director, or colleagues, or internal customers, or external clients, or the hell knows who else should catch you. In a decent factory, there is always someone to run from.

    Sometimes you join teams and run all together, including - the boss and his subordinates can run, for example, from the director. In books, this is called “grassroots solidarity,” and is referred to as one of the important features of Russian people in the context of managing them. If managers joined the team, then it turns out, rather, “mutual responsibility”. The essence is the same.

    So, here the IT director came to me - the one whom I kicked out the other day. Summary - download. The experience is incredible. The level of understanding of the business is no worse than mine. Putting a business development strategy into an IT strategy for him is like two fingers. So, what is next?

    Then, as a decent idiot, I follow the recommendations of smart people who say that you need to listen to a qualified specialist. I also listened. It was just like that - he came to work, I called him to my place, he came, sat down and ... Is silent. A minute, two, five, ten. And I'm sitting and listening. At the interview, he seems to have mentioned such a trait as “proactivity”.

    Okay, maybe I didn’t understand what proactivity is when I read books. I could not stand it, I say - well, come on, dude! Finally, a person appeared in our company who can solve business problems using IT (when I said this, for some reason he was a little hunched over). And again silence. And I'm sitting and listening. Silence.

    And then the game began. What phrase do you think? Of course, with "I first need to deal with the situation, to understand the problems." Great move, it always starts like this. No, you don’t think, I’m not an idiot who believes that he could give suggestions on the first day. I just know exactly what will happen next.

    Then he went to delve into. Day, week, month. I think - well, that's it, I delved into it. I am calling again. I'm sitting in silence. And he is silent. I can’t stand it - I ask again: what can be improved? What business tasks can be solved with the help of IT? Come on, I'm ready, I want, I will support you!

    Do you know what he answered? It is necessary, he says, to introduce a task management system. No, maybe I don’t understand what, but why does every new CIO start with the introduction of some new system for managing tasks, projects, incidents, or something like that?

    I am an old, sick person living in a small town, working as a hired director of a factory. I am very far from IT. But over the years of work, I remembered a few strange words for me. Listen to this: Waterfall, Spiral, Kanban, Scrum, Jira, Trello, 1C: Document Management, Aitil and Itilium (brothers?), Microsoft Project, Tasks in Outlook, Directum, Bitrix24, Corporate Portal, Yandex Tracker, metrics, ALS, time and time a market. I didn’t just remember these words - I used these systems, delved into these techniques as I could. All this nonsense was dragged to me by IT directors.

    Remember the movie "Office Romance"? Each new boss begins by repairing his own office. And each new CIO begins with the introduction of a new system for managing tasks, projects and interactions. I have a suspicion that they do not know how to do anything else. And, yes, they can - most of them are former system administrators, they can buy new servers (getting kickbacks from sellers), update the network map and shake the cartridge when the stripes appear.

    I was lucky - there is no need to implement a corporate information system, for a long time my programmer coped with this. Otherwise, each new CIO would offer automation to start, would call an integrator, they would ruin everything for my money, and in the end they would still have to hire a programmer, and CIOs should be kicked out so that he would look for another patient, he would get a salary from him , and rollbacks from integrators, server providers and everything.

    Okay, distracted. I know for sure (now) that the introduction of any kind of task management system does not help the business in any way. The one I control did not help. Just the tasks that need to be done periodically migrate from one system to another. When transferring tasks, they receive indulgence - expired, by a wave of a magic wand, cease to be such. As I was told, you cannot add a task with a due date that has already been released.

    Together with the tasks, the CIO receives indulgence. Firstly, during the introduction of the new system, you can’t touch it - he’s damn busy. Secondly, he has old tasks, but with new deadlines. Thirdly, “they all need to be updated.” And we are starting an express survey, interviewing business users, prioritizing projects, finding resources, coordinating budgets, etc. All that we went through many times.

    So the CIO can last a whole year. And you won’t catch him, he’s busy. He has a task.

    Then the operation begins. And everything returns to square one. Some projects are being implemented. Some tasks are being solved. Some kind of functionality appears. And from a business point of view, nothing is changing. No, I'm lying - IT costs are rising.

    There were so many overdue tasks, so many remained. Nobody needs automation, which does not automate anything, is becoming more and more. Then it still needs to be updated, and some refactoring done, sometimes reengineering. Well, they say that when I lose my temper and ask when business problems will begin to be solved.

    Maybe you explain to me a fool? Why, for example, automate the work of an accountant? Here are five accountants. They have been sitting for a long time. Even when the self-written system was, they sat. And they coped with all their work. They did all the necessary operations, closed, handed over reports, helped optimize taxation. Worked from 8 to 17.

    But we automated their work. We bought a modern information system, moved to it, trained accountants, started working. They again do their job. They do all the necessary operations, close, submit reports, help optimize taxation. Work from 8 to 17.

    Suddenly, out of nowhere, there are tasks for the automation of accounting. Then they need to finish something, there is some kind of piece of paper, here somewhere something is not filled out. Okay, IT does - or they call themselves external integrators. What is the result? You understand that. Accountants are still doing their job. They do all the necessary operations, close, submit reports, help optimize taxation. They work from 8 to 17. Yes, and there are still five accountants.

    What is the point then? Can you explain? From a business perspective, the only thing that happened is that I spent money on automation. Everything, nothing more. There are no less people, which means costs have not been reduced. They did not undertake any additional work. The speed of input and processing operations has not changed. Nothing has changed, only the picture on the screen. And the money, as they say, is paid.

    When the last CIO also suggested introducing a new task management system, I sighed heavily and, as politely as I could, explained to him my attitude to such projects. But he managed to surprise me - he said that all previous CIOs deceived me. I was not surprised by this - everyone before him watered the crap of their predecessors, solemnly throwing their systems and introducing their own.

    This one suggested creating the system by ourselves. Like, the main problem of purchased systems and services is poor customization (here, another word in my vocabulary). It is necessary to adapt to these systems, change their processes, sacrifice something, put up with shortcomings. And we will make the system ourselves, according to our requirements, and everything will take off. I thought and agreed.

    What is the result? In general, I suspect that he did not develop the system, but stole it somewhere - it painfully quickly appeared. Presented to me, and showed a key advantage - we, he says, will rank the tasks in terms of usefulness for business. Damn, I was delighted! Finally, a man has appeared who understands what I need!

    But the joy was short-lived - about five minutes. Until we sat down with him this very usefulness to determine. Do you know what that looks like? To be honest, I thought that there would be some kind of point-and-factor assessment, we will introduce a bunch of parameters, including implementation costs, and the system will count us something. I heard about this at one of the conferences. What about us?

    And we, damn it, in each task there is a field - "Usefulness for business." And in it you can select a value from the list: “very useful”, “useful”, “no way”, “harmful”, “very harmful”. All! This is the "ranking of tasks in terms of usefulness for business"! You simply choose utility from five options, and all, Karl!

    Of course, I restrained myself not to laugh. Well, I say, who will determine the usefulness of the task for the business? You say! The director will determine! Yes, your foot ... Remember, huh? Do what qualified people say.

    Okay, I’ll try. We look at the first task - to automate the work of the Quality Control Department, a list of requirements is attached. Hmm ... How to evaluate the usefulness of this task for business? I asked myself this question. I thought a little - I do not know.

    I’m asking the CIO - maybe you know how solving this problem will affect the business? But he plays the game well, you won’t catch him. He begins to bustle, talking about speeding up operations, transparency of accounting, traceability of parties ... Stop, I say. What is the business of speeding up operations? Will OTK be able to transfer to a shorter working day? Dismiss one of them? Additional duties to hang?

    No, I didn’t catch it. He says let's call a business user. Head of Quality Control Department, Kolya. He, interestingly, knows that he is a business user? And it became interesting to me, although the CIO probably thought that I would jump off, put it off, and forget. No, he called Kolya, he came running.

    I ask Kolya - your task? He looks, scratches his turnips, says - probably. Not himself wrote, one of his people. How, I ask, dear business user, will the solution of this problem affect the business? But Kolya has been in the game for a long time; you won’t spend him on the chaff. I don’t know, he says, these are your business, IT and business, my business is small.

    I do not give up - you see, I say, it is necessary to appropriate utility to the task. Kolya is not lost - cancel her to hell, he says, and so we will live. Kolya is like this - where you sit down, you get down. Well, he adds that he has urgent matters there, he must flee. I do not let go - it's interesting.

    If the task is canceled, then automation is not needed. Well, who is against it. And how, I ask, Kolya, can you help our business? Kohl, well done - I say, what, I’m working badly, or what? Why do I have a complaint?

    God forbid, Kolya, what a claim! But we have a business here, and it is faced with the task of increasing profits. There is always such a task. Sometimes, I will not hide, the profit must be increased to zero. I see that Kolya was nervous. Okay, I decided to smooth the situation.

    I turned immediately to both - guys, I say, here you are - representatives of different worlds, qualified specialists in their field. One checks the pieces of iron, the other conquers virtual worlds. Both are managers. So, not naive schoolgirls, you understand everything. Business needs to increase profits. Such a task. Only employees, such as you, can solve it.

    And so I set you a business task - to increase profits. Well, give your suggestions!
    The guys frowned, became thoughtful, but soon blurted out, almost at the same time - they had to force sellers to sell more! Then the profit will grow! Well done ...

    No, I say, so any fool would say. You think of me how to increase profits with the help of your departments, your knowledge and skills, your experience. What can be done at the Quality Control Department for profit to grow. Well, and accordingly, in IT.

    They are silent. Kolya frowns more and more. He doesn’t stand it, he says - this is, you set a task for me, I will complete it. Well, such that I understand what needs to be done. And it turns out, as in a fairy tale - go there, I don’t know where ...

    And then it dawned on me! I understand the essence of this game! That's why I can never catch anyone! I was so happy that I let go of the gentlemen of the managers - said that I would think about the tasks for them.
    Task! Task! Task! The most important thing in this game is the task! This is a totem, immunity, a reservation from any troubles! The main thing is that you have a task!

    As long as you have a task, nothing can be done with you. When you do not have a task, you are almost on the block - after all, you get paid just like that. Nothing puts pressure on the psyche like the absence of a task at work. Especially if the lack of a task is obvious.

    If there is no problem, it must be obtained at any cost. To find among colleagues, in other divisions, to come up with yourself, in the end. Especially IT experts are guilty of this.

    And it makes no difference whether the task is useful to the business or not. And if someone will excite on this subject (like me, for example) - we add him the field “Usefulness for business”, let him rank. After all, it doesn’t matter to a person which task to perform first and which second. The main thing is that there are tasks, and there are many of them.

    Because of tasks, I sometimes feel superfluous in the company. Literally, as a visitor, some schoolboy on an excursion. You’ll go into any office, especially in the office, ask anyone - are you busy? Oh yeah! He will say. Incredibly busy!

    With what? Then he begins to list, and you stand and feel how your ears are fading. What nonsense will not tell! Provision of information, coordination of the information provided, verification of the coordination of the information provided, analysis of the information provided, approval of the analysis of the information provided, verification of the analysis of the information provided.

    It sometimes seems like you opened your intestines, I apologize, and was horrified. You thought that it works like a clock, and there - worms swarm. You ask them - hey guys, what are you doing here? Here they tell about the same.

    The company lives some kind of its own life, the devil knows where all these connections, processes, tasks come from. In most cases, it’s impossible to even find out who came up with these tasks, why they should be done, and why.

    And the most filthy - you will not catch anyone. Well, I’ll find some dumb task. I’ll tell a man not to deal with this nonsense anymore. What will happen, what do you think? Nothing. Canceled a task? I will make another!

    Few people have the patience to delve into this mess of tasks for a long time. And the employees know this. The director will come, the director will rummage, the director will leave. But the tasks will remain, and always will be. Dumb, meaningless, useless tasks. And the game.

    I don’t know what to do, to be honest. Any idiot, as well as Kolya and the CIO, will say - to increase profits, you need to increase sales and reduce costs. Someone, perhaps, will drag in the increase in production volumes. And that’s it. These are all the levers that we have.

    Attempts to decompose these levers will lead to nothing. Well, yes, someone will again propose to print on drafts to reduce costs. And turn off the monitors at night to save electricity. All. They scrape together ideas for a hundred thousand savings a month, and they run to execute - they have tasks.

    And do not care for everyone, everyone has a task. And raising profits is the director’s task. And the director does not know IT. The director does not really know the finances. The subtleties of accounting do not understand. Production understands worse than the head of the workshop. But the director must give each of them a task.

    In the director’s wording (“increase profits”) the task is not good. Everyone needs an explanation - exactly how they can increase profits. Okay, at least no one except IT asks for a technical task.

    What am I supposed to do? How can I write a task in terms that I don’t understand? Try, on occasion, to tell the surgeon where you can make the incision, what scalpel to use, what to do if the blood rushes, and what thread to sew you on. It is about the same difficult for me to set a task in IT.

    I can’t do that. And I continue to set the task as I understand it. And I just can’t catch anyone. Everyone has a task. And mine is not good. And the production is bad, and there is no time for it, and in general - this is not a task. It is necessary to smart, at least.

    We have to fire. That is all I can. And no analysts will help - I tried. They are the same mediocrity, dreaming of a TASK. They come and lay out their goods like gypsies. This is CBT, this is ISO, this is Lean, this is - what the hell knows what. Choose, pay, and we will implement it. What you choose will be the CHALLENGE.

    When implemented, will receive the calculation and leave. They solved the problem. His own. What did they achieve. And no one will decide mine. We must somehow get out of it ourselves. As always.

    Okay, enough, something was different. I know you do not care. And you do not agree with me. Yes, and I do not need your consent - you are also in the game, you have tasks. I'm even afraid to ask which, from whom, and what for.

    We must move on. I dismissed the CIOs. I thought I could get along with one programmer - why would he need a layer in the form of an IT director? But the guy dumped in Moscow. I will look for another.

    This still weirdo doesn’t go out of his head like his ... Ah, King. Strange nickname. Tomorrow's meeting, but I have no idea who he is or what he needs. He says that it’s in my interests. I’m going to, really.

    Maybe he will set me a task. I’ll play too.

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