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Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Some days, I hate my job. Not very often. Usually I'm trying hard to make sure that people are informed and have the tools they need to embrace new systems. But then, sometimes, folks are complete jerks. Here's what greeted me when I got to work today:
I am very unhappy with the way in which the switchover to Zimba is being done. I have been sending email all morning this morning using Outlook, but have thought it odd that I have not been receiving any messages. Not until I thought to look at webmail did I discover that I had been "converted" to Zimbra at 1:30am this morning! To make matters worse, this conversion prevents me from receiving email with Outlook - INCLUDING THE NOTIFICATION MESSASGE THAT WAS SENT AFTER THE CONVERSION TOOK PLACE!!!!! So, to me as an end user, my experience is that suddenly I can no longer receive email - and was not notified of this change in a mannor that could reach me!

Please send me the contact information for whoever is managing this project so I can convey my dissatisfaction with how this was done directly!

Okay, so yeah, you're basically very unhappy with me. It's my job to make sure you're informed. But since March, I've been holding monthly demos of the new system. There have been training announcements sent out in the Training Opportunity Guide for the past two quarters. There is a project web site crammed full of information and guidance. There's been presentations at all sorts of campus meetings. There have been memos that were supposed to be passed on to you from your campus representatives. There have been banners on all sorts of web pages around campus. There have been articles in the Stanford Report. There have been articles in the Stanford Daily. There have been training classes two or three days a week for the past month.

But the part that just makes me want to scream is that before anyone is converted, they received an email on October 16th letting them know the time range the conversion would be happening. Then, each individual receives an email three days before they're converted reminding them to review the checklist and asking them to please close their email program the when they go home on the night on their transition. Somehow, this very special person managed to miss all of that. And if he wanted Outlook to play nice, all he needed to do was close it and reopen in and give it his password. That's all. Everything continues to work just fine. We worked very hard to ensure that folks would be able to keep working with an absolute minimum of fuss. They don't have to quit using their current email program. They don't have to change any settings. They just need to close it and reopen it so that it recognizes the path to the new server.

But after a year and a half of effort, I can't manage to convey that to the campus. These are the days when my job seems utterly hopeless. I can't make people listen. I can't make people read. I can't make people care. The first reaction is anger at the project rather than questioning themselves to see if they missed something. This makes me sad for humanity. And yeah, you're going to say, "Oh, it's just one guy. He's a jerk." But sadly, he's just a sample of the HelpSU requests I'm receiving. His is especially egregious, but not all that unusual.

And now I have to go back to preparing materials that most folks will never see. Yeah, that sounds fabulous. I am oh-so-very motivated. Only not.


  • It sounds like you need an enforcer.

    By Blogger Mr. Bill, at 12:47 PM  

  • Sometimes I do a mental computation of the people asking silly question divided by the people who donated in our last drive (about 6,000). And I get a very small percentage and say to my self that most people know what they are doing. Hope you can do the same.

    By Blogger Chrisfs, at 12:56 PM  

  • I'm trying to remember if the tech team at UCDavis had the ability to reboot users' computers. It was only for a department and not the whole campus. I do remember going and updating everyone's computer manually with CDs one afternoon/eve. Forcing a reboot might be a nice option.

    By Blogger Kim, at 1:14 PM  

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