Wasting Time

Last year a few members of my localized management decided the best thing ever would be to get a knowledgebase for our help desk. I agreed! I mean I’d only been saying we needed one since June of 2007 (I have that in writing). And I’d only tried to start three or four of my own, which they decided were too complicated. So we went without.

But this time would be different! A consultant that was looking at our help desk efficiency issues mentioned that he just happened to have one he could sell us (as opposed to mine, which were open source and free). So they were all over that shit. There were demos, and talks about how great it would be, and that guy’s company would totally customize it for us and manage it, so how soon could we get our applications listed in the program? And in spite of all my interest in getting a KB together for our tech support, I hesitated. I dragged my feet. I didn’t get anything listed.

When the boss would ask why I hadn’t yet, I was honest. “I’ve been gathering the info in my own knowledgebase, and once they’re done doing customizations.” “They haven’t finished making updates.” “This doesn’t make sense for our situation, do they have examples of what they need here?” “I haven’t put anything in there because I don’t believe it will be finished for us to use it.”

And lo and behold, eventually it was announced that we weren’t going to use it anyway. It wasn’t intuitive, it didn’t fit our needs at all, and the only real reason to have tried to start using it was because we had nothing and it was sitting right there staring in our face. That was announced several months ago. There is still no knowledgebase.

It’s an immensely maddening thing, contending with management at a large IT organization. Even if you have a good manager, they’re under pressure from loads of different angles that are way more important than the people who actually do the work. Our needs… and we’re the ones who NEED the helpdesk to have a KB… our entirely irrelevant until we’ve got some new product we can totally re-sell inside the organization. Same thing happened with that password storage application. It’s gone now, too, because eventually management realized that 1) it was a waste of money, and 2) everyone secretly used something else anyway because it was so shitty.

The end result of all of this is that I’m engaged in a sort of guerrilla IT… fixing shit, preventing issues, documenting actually useful information, and trying to hide all of it from management in the process. Because if I don’t, they’ll either try to sell it, argue that I didn’t follow procedures, or call it a waste of time. 

It was hilarious earlier in the year when we did the employee survey, and one of the help desk’s number one requests was a knowledgebase. I’ve been clandestinely working on my own Wiki-based knowledgebase in preparation for sharing it with a few of the more senior help desk folks, so they can keep it hush hush.