I am frustrated

What to do

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23 Replies - 3356 Views - Last Post: 07 August 2010 - 02:43 PM

#1 vbnet9  Icon User is offline

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I am frustrated

Posted 02 August 2010 - 04:22 PM

I am the Lab Assistant for the Learning Center at my college. I fix the computer issues, help students with questions and other tasks. There are almost 100 computers that will be monitored in Fall, over half that are not visible from the front desk. The student work studies there can't help most students since they can't see them.

I wrote software to message all logged in computers, monitor who is logged in for how long, and display a "help" button on each computer so students can request help from the main desk. It is all controlled by a nice program at the desk with the layout of the computers and all the info in one place.

The director, my boss, liked the idea and told me to do it. I got it mostly done to her surprise very quickly. When talking to the CIS dept, she was told no they wouldn't let it go on the computers. Thats it. Just a no. They won't consider it, look at it, talk to me or anything. This will make the center much more efficient and a better experience for everyone. They will, however, install a program from some company that doesn't do half the stuff we wanted for the lab.

I am very mad they won't ever look at it or talk to me. No reason or anything. They just assume the worst. If I was a company and sold it to them they'd install it is how it looks to me. In house software would get fixed quicker and be much easier to use as it is customized.


What should I do?? It is not about money or anything, and really it is more work for me to get it finished, but I am so unhappy that they won't even give me a chance!

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Replies To: I am frustrated

#2 NeoTifa  Icon User is offline

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Re: I am frustrated

Posted 02 August 2010 - 04:50 PM

I'd kick them in the nuts.

But seriously that sucks.

This post has been edited by NeoTifa: 02 August 2010 - 04:50 PM

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#3 Oler1s  Icon User is offline

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Re: I am frustrated

Posted 02 August 2010 - 04:56 PM

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What should I do??


1. Be ready to accept that for various reasons, a solution from you is not acceptable.

2. Find the right person to talk to. Low level workers are not it. They get handed down orders, and that's it. Find out who was in charge or who had influence in making decision. That's who you contact.

3. Frame your argument from a business perspective, not a technical one. Obvious issues are saving money, but other concerns are dependency on software. Examples of concerns: training, maintenance of software, future improvements, CYA mentality, where there's a big name and not a noname random persons's work, etc.. What happens if they fire you? You need to explain how their dependency on your software will not be a problem then.

Business arguments. Technical argument can be summed very quickly. Also, propose compromise ideas like user testing. Test your software on limited computers with limited people, and get feedback. If they allow this, and you get positive results....
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#4 vbnet9  Icon User is offline

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Re: I am frustrated

Posted 02 August 2010 - 05:35 PM

Thanks Oler1s. That is much better then kicking someone in the nuts. I was going to give up, but it sounds like there is still a chance as you say. I need to get prepared to answer those questions !
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#5 Lemur  Icon User is offline

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Re: I am frustrated

Posted 02 August 2010 - 05:42 PM

Bark up the food chain, find the people not just in charge of the technical sector but the people that are even above them. It can be easier sometimes if you can convince them (which will be notably easier than convincing a smug techie, trust me...) because they tend to be more open to things that look cool to them. If you can make it look good, it does the job, and has some flare to it (as much as you may hate adding extras if it gets you a few more seconds it's worth it) you'll have a better shot.

It's slightly cheap to go that way but if you can get hookups higher than the people giving you problems chances are high that you'll win out. It all comes out to who you know, not what you know, a rather harsh reality to face sometimes but you have to do what you have to do to get things done.
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#6 Brewer  Icon User is offline

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Re: I am frustrated

Posted 02 August 2010 - 07:17 PM

You have already answered your question. Present it in a very professional manner. Make a website for your product. Give the company a background. Send an e-mail to the right people informing them of the software.

If all goes well then you will get what you want.
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#7 no2pencil  Icon User is online

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Re: I am frustrated

Posted 02 August 2010 - 07:20 PM

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View Postvbnet9, on 02 August 2010 - 05:22 PM, said:

What should I do??

I would leave it at 'no'. If you push the issue & then there is a security breach, you'll be the 1st one blamed. & if you think convincing them of 'yes' is difficult, it's going to be even more difficult to prove your code is secure.

Just use the code as an example in your portfolio, & leave it at that. Pushing the issues is only going to leave to bad things, including you having to support the software.
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#8 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: I am frustrated

Posted 02 August 2010 - 08:20 PM

It also can't hurt to find an advocate. Ideally, it will be someone with some technical and a lot of influence. Someone like a well-respected professor in the CS department. If not someone technical, then someone with enough influence to get people to listen.

I gotta strongly agree with Oler1s about the arguments. Talking technical will sound like you're talking down to them just to put on a light show for them to say yes. Even if they are merited. Talk only about results, benefits, and other business stuff that the decision makers will appreciate/understand.

On no2pencil's point, keep this in mind: programming is like having sex; one mistake and you end up supporting it for the rest of your life. Once you go down that road, you are uttelry screwed unless you find a new job. And even then, the university will be after you to support your software.
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#9 Sethro117  Icon User is offline

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Re: I am frustrated

Posted 03 August 2010 - 01:20 AM

I've been asked to do work by the company I work for. From applications to better equip our helpdesk to programs for Account Management that would save close to 15k each quarter, thats $60,000 a year. Yet, I've been told no, these applications cant go up because they require hosting and global company resources. I'm only authorized to work with WalMarts contract and those resources that come with it.

Had I went through the proper channels and done it, it probably would have went through. However, more opportunities have come about because my name got out there and our Software Engineering people now know me. So even if you were told no once, someone out there knows you're able to program and maybe that will open a door for you.

Our CEO Bill Nuti said, "It's better to start a Continuous Improvement task and be told no down the road, then to just sit by and watch a problem develop and do nothing about it." So I live by that now.
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#10 motcom  Icon User is offline

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Re: I am frustrated

Posted 03 August 2010 - 05:57 AM

just remember, you wrote it so no matter what and if it does not get approved, you still learned from it and i am sure it must have been a fun project to do? judging from the image you posted in your other thread.

I often get requests to add stuff to my projects and you sit back and think, what in goodnes name will this addon acheive.. is it even necessary. Then you write it, it get's tested and all of a sudden they don't want it. All because it was not thought through properly. That sucks too. Hell i even remember telling them that it is not a good idea.

Another fun thing is making the impossible. It's like trying to have a coffee machine make beer. You know controls are not made to do certain things but now they have to. Like "Enter-Move-NextControl". Every other program uses the "Tab" key but now the enter key must do that work, then you come to a multiline textbox and what now???

Anyhow, it is your project and sure you have learned tons from it...

my thumbs up

EDIT:
Have the person pay for it who requested it, if they use it or not you got your reward.. hehehe

This post has been edited by motcom: 03 August 2010 - 05:59 AM

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#11 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is online

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Re: I am frustrated

Posted 03 August 2010 - 08:44 AM

Think of this as the first lesson of real-world computing: Its as much politics and skill.

Someone in the IT department is embarrassed that (from their perspective) some smart ass kid wrote a program superior to what their highly educated and highly trained staff had provided. Your program is going to make them look bad, and they like their easy-going school environment job.

The concern about you being fired and leaving them in the lurch is legitimate. Have you considered making friends with the right IT people? Then provide them with all of your code so they can go through it and confirm it is secure. If *they* stamp it clean then you have their approval. Maybe you will have to provide them with the Visual Studio project each time an installer is to be made and have their people do it. That way they can confirm you haven't slipped something in.

In other words, give them the application so they can administrate it and *they* can look like the heros. You still put it in your resume.
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#12 vbnet9  Icon User is offline

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Re: I am frustrated

Posted 03 August 2010 - 08:50 AM

Thanks for all the input. There is a lot to ponder. The only reason I am in college is for the piece of paper saying I can do that job. I have tested out of all the computer classes and have worked for the college for over a year. I am not a kid, I am sure you didn't intend it that way. I have been programming for over 10 years. I might not be a pro, but this is why I am taking classes. I am starting the programming classes here in the fall.

I just wish they would give me that chance to show the code and show them what I can do. I can't even get to that point.

This post has been edited by vbnet9: 03 August 2010 - 08:50 AM

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#13 Nikitin  Icon User is offline

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Re: I am frustrated

Posted 03 August 2010 - 08:50 AM

View PosttlhIn%26%2339%3Btoq, on 03 August 2010 - 07:44 AM, said:

Someone in the IT department is embarrassed that (from their perspective) some smart ass kid wrote a program superior to what their highly educated and highly trained staff had provided. Your program is going to make them look bad, and they like their easy-going school environment job.


That's a heck of a claim you're making.
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#14 vbnet9  Icon User is offline

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Re: I am frustrated

Posted 03 August 2010 - 08:57 AM

View PostNikitin, on 03 August 2010 - 09:50 AM, said:

That's a heck of a claim you're making.


Either way it made me feel better :)
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#15 BenignDesign  Icon User is offline

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Re: I am frustrated

Posted 03 August 2010 - 07:23 PM

View PosttlhIn, on 03 August 2010 - 10:44 AM, said:

politics and skill.


This says it all. Particularly in the realm of post-secondary educational institutions.

I am staring down the barrel of a very similar situation right now. However, there are only two rungs on the ladder above me. My boss said "no" to a custom in-house coded product. Her boss is the President of the institution and just started his position 2 weeks ago. He's not looking to step on any toes just yet.

And for as frustrating as it is, there is little I can do but accept the "no". At least for now. When it comes up again - and it will because no boxed software package will ever do exactly what they want it to do - I'll approach the custom-built idea from a different angle.

In the meantime, they pay me decently, and so I shall continue to trudge along in my nerdy little world and do as I'm told.
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