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Leveraging the bureaucracy against itself


So the organization I am currently working for decided that, because the project plan said it was time to go live with the new software in the Production (“real”) environment, they should do that, even though the software wasn’t nearly ready and in fact had failed more than half of its tests.

So they promoted it to the Production environment, where it promptly blew up on a regular basis. Now they have two sets of Help Desk tickets that they are tracking: one set for the problems in the Test environment, and one set for the problems in the Production environment. The two sets of Help Desk tickets are nearly identical, but they are in two different systems (one Help Desk system is used only for test environments, and the other Help Desk system is used only for Production). So now they had to create a big spreadsheet to track the two sets of Help Desk tickets that exist in two different systems.

No other organization in my decades of work on this planet has ever done anything like this. Putting buggy software into the Production environment puts the business at risk. But then, this organization is “too big to fail”, and they create money out of literally nothing. So it really doesn’t matter to them.

Today I learned something that helped explain their apparent stupidity. Help Desk tickets for Production get worked on much more quickly than Help Desk tickets for a Test environment. In fact, because Production is the priority and Test is not, a Help Desk ticket for Test may languish for months before it is resolved. A Help Desk ticket for Production will get escalated so high, though, that it will become an agenda item for the next corporate board meeting, if necessary, to get it resolved.

So the organization is basically using its own bureaucracy as leverage against itself. Because Help Desk tickets for Production get fixed and Help Desk tickets for Test don’t, it makes a perverse kind of sense to put bad software into Production so that it will explode and then get fixed. Never mind that it puts the business at risk and that it angers the users who are supposed to use it. This organization doesn’t care about users. In fact, this software is Robotic software, designed to REPLACE those users. So a few annoyed users, or even hundreds of them, are irrelevant. They’re going to be fired eventually anyway.

I am looking forward to leaving this organization. It is an unhappy place to be.

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