My Job is Pointless, or How Many Cogs Does an Engine Really Need

I’m a tiny cog in a giant multi-million government-funded IT project (oh yes, another one of those – 2 years late and £120 million over budget, but that’s a different story; later my darlings…) to roll out an Oracle ERP for the provision of back-office support to a group of govt owned organisations via a single Shared Services Centre (I do rather feel that I’ve given the game away, but on we trot)… A large, but equally ominously ignored/poorly-implemented/(insert an appropriately split infinitive here) element of such a massive project is Change Management, the mainstay of which is of course the Change Log. This is where I come in, or, perhaps more appropriately, where I don’t.

Each release has, attached to it, a Build Manager who, one assumes, is responsible for various elements of, let’s say … ooh, the build. A huge portion of that build is comprised of the Change Requests contained in the aforementioned Change Log (we have so many changes mostly because nobody thought to properly spec said ERP system from the outset). Unfortunately, due to the hiring protocols, the end result is that bodies are brought in to do a specific job and are then let go. During their tenure, they do just that – exactly what they were asked to do – and nothing more. Then, of course, once they’ve fudged the deliverables, they’re off like a shot (government cheque in hand, jigging all the way to the hedge fund). It would therefore seem that having the build manager actually use or refer to in any way shape or form the Change Log is somehow beyond the given purview. Needless to say, once the dust has settled, questions will be asked of yours truly regarding what was deployed and what wasn’t. This will be the third time that I’ve been placed in the seemingly unending toilet swirl of embarrassment of not being able to answer such questions. It seems that “I asked your overpaid Build Manager (contractor) to update me a number of times before he left – he singularly failed to do so” simply doesn’t cut it as an answer…

“You don’t know? What do you mean you don’t know? I don’t pay you not to know! That’s what I pay Jenkins for, isn’t Jenkins?”

“I don’t know, sir”

“Good man, Jenkins”

It looks like I’m living proof that not all cogs in the engine are necessary. Until, of course, the smoke comes billowing out of its arse, and the transmission (along with the driver’s reputation) lies smouldering on the carriageway…

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