back to article BOFH: How long does it take to complete Friday's lager-related tasks?

"And so then when you've done your part of the task you simply change your task icon to the 'completed' state, click update, then activate the next task in the project chain, which will send an alert to the next team member that they have a task to complete for the project," the instructor burbles happily. "What if I'm doing …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    I know exactly how they feel - spending more time on admin than real work - a plan devised by upper management because they sit around doing squat all and think that everyone else has the same amount of free time.

    1. Anonymous Custard

      Ah yes, the old "Do you want to sit here talking about how to fixing it or just let me actually get on and do so?" chestnut. Especially when the admin and discussion comes wrapped up in a request involving PowerPoint.

      1. TRT Silver badge


        they are the people with power.

        I get your point.

      2. Fatman

        <quote>Especially when the admin and discussion comes wrapped up in a request involving PowerPoint.</quote>

        Death to Power Point, and all of its users!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Even Dave Gorman?

          1. Gio Ciampa

            That's how Powerpoint should be used!

            The pint icon to reflect just how bad at Barlowing I am... someone get me a drink!

            1. wowfood

              We had the same problem. We were forced into using PSP and TSP.

              I had been called into a meeting once because my weekly hours were below 10h work. While there I pointed out that the week I'd been stuck in meetings about meetings about how we're going to be doing work rather than actually working. Apparently that wasn't the right answer.

              So next week I skipped all the meetings about work and finished off all my work early, apparently that wasn't the right answer either.

              No pleasing some people.

              1. Lord_Beavis

                RE: We had the same problem. We were forced into using PSP and TSP.

                (Yes, I know... I'm tardy to the party...)

                Many years ago I worked at a certain US auto parts store (let's just say it was a zone of auto's) in the store computer support area. I won't even begin to describe the equipment...

                Our office was not at the corp HQ, but at one of the parts distribution warehouses as we needed a loading dock for some of the stuff we did.

                One day, we all loaded up into one of the vans that the field support guys used and headed to to corp offices on the other side of town for a meeting. When we get to the meeting room all they are talking about is the planning of the next couple of meetings. Our boss asks them what we are going to be doing at this meeting and they say that it is just a meeting for planning the other meetings (yes it really does happen). He is none to pleased and tells them that we have work to do and we all get up and leave.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I know exactly how they feel

      Oh yes indeed.

      I took over as lead engineer on one project and to help me keep track of progress (and for my own use only) I created a little spreadsheet (just a list of tasks and who was doing them). Took me about 1/2hr each day to keep it up to date.

      Then the project manager found out about it - "Can you add this column, oh and why you're at it...".

      After awhile it was taking me a couple of hours each morning to keep the damn thing up to date. Still, you live and learn...

      1. perlcat

        Re: I know exactly how they feel

        That's what happens when you can't say "NO".

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    BOFH getting soft in his later years ?

    Liked the story, as usual, but how is it that she's talking about carpets at the end and not in one ?

    I used to read BOFH articles that ended with nobody left alive but the BOFH and his PFY.

    Those were the days . . .

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: BOFH getting soft in his later years ?

      Why should she care as long as she's getting paid. After all, she's probably got a boss of her own…

      You seem to have forgotten that the BOFH has already met his match.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: BOFH getting soft in his later years ?

        Yes, but when he met his ideal woman he did at least steal her wallet on principle.

        Mind you, the BOFH hasn't actually killed anybody in this story, since the duty of care is clearly Mary's.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon

          Re: BOFH getting soft in his later years ?

          You don't seem to realise that Mary (Sonia) is actually helping them set up a workflow to speed up future work (boss) executions. In fact, I believe they were about to perform a 'live' test at the end of the story - I think that counts :)

          1. Dr. Mouse

            Re: BOFH getting soft in his later years ?

            In fact, I believe they were about to perform a 'live' test at the end of the story

            Actually, I think it was the second live test/demonstration. They had just finished testing on the boss, and were moving on to the director.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: BOFH getting soft in his later years ?

            At the end they had already killed the boss and disposed of the body. They were about to do the same for the director.

    2. Lord_Beavis

      Re: BOFH getting soft in his later years ?

      I thought for sure that Mary had seen the error of her ways and been converted...

  3. seven of five

    [...] Mary?" the PFY asks.

    "My name's Sonia."

    [...] says Mary...


    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      you beat me to it...

  4. chivo243 Silver badge

    Forget their names

    Can I be honest with you Mary?" the PFY asks.

    "My name's Sonia."

    "Course it is. Anyway Mary...

    Classic director/senior management tactic... Glad to see it was turned around for a change!

    Nice twist.

    Using Mary's product to plot the PHB's demise, well done.

    1. Frumious Bandersnatch

      Re: Forget their names

      Can I be honest with you Mary?" the PFY asks.

      Only if you can be Frank.

  5. Mike Wood

    Does Simon have a mole working with me somewhere??

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Does Simon have a mole working with me somewhere??"

      Maybe it's just one of the PFY's pimples.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon

        I was thinking more along the lines of holes in the carpet myself.

  6. tiggity Silver badge

    admin obverhead

    At a place I once worked, we used to have an online timesheet we had to fill in, to show how we had spent our work time, with a whole series of different codes representing time spent on different areas (granularity of 15min logged).

    This made for quite an overhead (tracking time spent in excessive detail & filling it in via the online logging system) - unsurprisingly one of the first things the timesheet team had to do was a provide a code for time spent (wasted would be more accurate) in timesheet related activities!

    After a while, the timesheet system died a death as it was noticed how much time was spent on timesheet related activities rather than productive tasks

    1. Anonymous Custard

      Re: admin obverhead

      You're lucky, ours is still in place.

      That said its not the worst part, as we now have a centralised document management system that's so fiendishly complex that no-one outside HR/quality has a clue how to find anything, and they get narked when you ring them up and ask them to get documents for you as it's at least a factor of 10x quicker than trying to do it yourself.

      Plus given how long it would take and the hourly rate that some of our colleagues are on (sadly not me, more the sales drones) calculating quite how much retrieving a given document actually costs the company in terms of salary paid for time spent could be quite amusing (or scary if you're a beancounter)...

      Still at least we got the expense system simplified as before it took so long (due to needing so much admin and so many sign-offs) that some of us started putting the interest that was accruing due to the gap between bills arriving and the owed funds to pay them onto the expense system too. Amazing how quickly the chief beancounter can move when that kind of fire is lit under him...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: admin obverhead

        "You're lucky, ours is still in place."

        Ours, too. As a contractor, I fill out the company's timesheet system, which has all sorts of cryptic codes. It usually takes more time to find out which codes are needed for certain jobs/projects than it takes to do the job. Every Friday, everybody deliberates most of the day how to fill out that bloody thing for the first four days of the week.

        Then I have to go and fill out the timesheet for contractors with the agency. They work on different schedules (7 hours internal, 8 hours with agency per day).

        Once that's done, I have to chase after different people to sign off on both timehseets so that I can finally send the invoices, which won't be paid until four weeks have passed (presumably because been counters have to pull off similar stunts).

        Add to that meetings and conference calls every time more than two people get involved in discussing a task, and you're lucky to get 2 1/2 net working days in a week. Luckily I'm paid well and for all 5 days.

        It's bloody bonkers.

        1. BenR

          Re: admin obverhead

          Ours is still in place too, except we've just changed from one system to another, which *IN THEORY* is a bit simpler.

          Except it isn't, so we now have up to four individual project, job, sub-job and task numbers for a single piece of work.

          On top of that, our weekly retrospective timesheet system, designed for granularity so we can ethically charge, requires us to fill in the weekly sheet by COP Thursday. Requiring absolute guesswork as to what we're doing on the Friday.


          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: admin obverhead

            We used to get one electronic time sheet which we had to do in decimal and then on-call/overtime which had to be done in hours and minutes! Of course there was then agency sheets which had to be done in half days.......

            We weren't allowed to book more than half an hour down to filling in time sheets so in the end I created a random number generator to divide my time between all allocated projects... another colleague filled it in (it was akind of spread sheet format) to spell out his name..... it was months before anyone noticed.

            It's almost as good as problem tracking systems. I quickly realised that there was no point filling out the details of the problem resolution as no-one read them. I started by putting a very brief description in and then moved on to writing about cartoon characters and still no-one noticed.

            Then there's the other request based systems where the person doing the work can close the task. You ask for something they say they've done it.... you then complain that they haven't and they say you'll need to open a new task for that!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: admin obverhead

              <i> writing about cartoon characters</i>

              I used to do a similar thing where I would copy random text from random documents from the internet in to the problem resolution description field. I had to stop doing that when they setup the new system and it actually emails the customer with the problem resolution...

          2. Carl W

            COP Thursday

            I had that same situation many years ago. The good bit is that having booked all of Friday's time, there's no need to do any of it. It's booked in the system so it must have happened, right?

      2. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: admin obverhead

        @Anonymous Custard

        Sorry to hear that you're still shackled to it. Our "walk in" desk just abolished the timesheet last week. We are still on a helldesk ticketing system for the rest

        I get the feeling that a timesheet fill in the blanks blah blah only works when you have enough time to fill in said sheets. I know when my current boss came, he was full of these "tracking" strategies. Once he learned that we are just slightly too busy to play twister, he changed his procedure.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: admin obverhead

          That's the thing with all these time tracking/task tracking programmes.

          No one should need granular time management. They just need to know how long it takes to do a task, and why it took longer.

          But that only works if the employer understands what it is you do.

          And the mantra among professional managers is that you don't need to know about the substantive job, you just need to know about managing. We had a management consultant that kept telling us this. And when we looked under his stone we met plenty others of his species that said the same thing.

          Where they don't understand what you do (because they are "professional" managers ) they then need to track you every minute, to make sure you are doing work.

          In reality If the corporate total amount of time being misused is less than the total amount of time required to switch between the substantive task and the time tracking, do it and switch back then it's more cost effective to ignore a bit of time wasting. Or at least find a better way to make sure the staff are doing a proper job. Which a manager who knows the job can do.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: admin obverhead

      I have the fun here of not using a company owned machine as I'm subcontracted to another company. Which means every time I have an e-mail forwarded to me from my company to approve a task, the link doesn't work as I'm outside the company network and not using a company machine.

      So, pull out VPN token, log onto company intranet portal, wait for Citrix app screen to load, launch the one and only portal which I know doesn't have IE locked down to a level where there's no address bar, copy the URL from the e-mail, paste it in, pull up the web page, sign in, approve, close everything, log off the VPN system...

      AC for obvious reasons...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: admin obverhead

        <i> launch the one and only portal which I know doesn't have IE locked down to a level where there's no address bar</i>

        Just wait until they find that or an update of some kind nukes it.

        My present company killed Outlook Web Access some time back and I am on site at a customer and use their email system and have to add my companies email as a secondary mailbox. Adding that as a secondary kills access to the voice mail systems management application because of the way it hooks into Outlook so I can't change my OGM on a daily basis as required by the customer (which is stupid as fuck, IMHO).

        I have to run two different email profiles for Outlook and I don't check the one but once a week (if they are lucky) and I just know it is going to come to a head soon...

        AC for the same...

    3. hplasm
      Thumb Up

      Re: admin obverhead

      Agreed- first task, Monday morning: fill in time spent time recording for the rest of the week. That's ten hours accounted for already!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: admin overhead

      Yes, I remember similar bullshit from Primavera. I had a regular task on it 'Fill in Primavera sheet'.

      As far as I could see the managers did not even read it.

      That was a complete waste of everybody's time.

    5. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: admin obverhead

      Best along those lines I heard was a mate who got hired as a contractor by ${company}, who just so happened to have such a system.

      The bloke who hired him was someone he knew well and had worked for before at ${other_company}.

      After a month he was found to be in line for the "most accurate and prompt timesheets" award. The boss handed it over with the following comment, delivered sotto voce:

      "I know you too well. You've got a fucking script written to stuff the timesheet database automatically on a Friday afternoon, haven't you?".

      <Cheesy grin>

      1. Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

        Re: admin obverhead

        "I know you too well. You've got a fucking script written to stuff the timesheet database automatically on a Friday afternoon, haven't you?".

        To which the only proper reply would be:

        You might think that. I couldn't possibly comment.

      2. Peter Ford

        Re: admin obverhead

        I have a cron job that grabs the comments from the subversion history and makes them into timesheet entries each day.

        My boss is happy that he gets anything in my timesheet...

    6. Pedigree-Pete

      Re: admin obverhead

      We had one of those in an old paperwork style. Even had a code for going to the bog!

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: admin obverhead

        I got told off for allocating time to "filling in timesheets"

    7. Marshalltown

      Re: admin obverhead [sic]

      I once worked in an office - when I was IN the office - where the assistant manager one fine day attended a course on time management. Apparently there were rumours that the state, for which we conducted a good deal of work, wanted "better accounting of time." The decree came down to record our work in five-minute increments! That lasted until I showed the manager that in an 8-hour day, if you paused for 30 seconds each five minutes, that ate about 48 minutes a day or 10% of the work time available in an eight-hour day.

      1. GrumpyOF

        Re: admin obverhead [sic]

        Back in the '70s IBM EMEA (in its infinite wisdom) decided that it needed to understand , in detail, what the Systems Engineers actually did ----- even though any customer could have told them. So, out came the work item and time allocated sheet---work items were coded to ensure compliance across the board (and the BORED).

        One of the codes was 'Forced Idle Time', which was meant to specify time sitting around waiting for the last job to finish before you could start your standalone time at 02:00. Just about every engineer I knew used that code to great effect when filling out the form....seemed to take 2 days and fortunately it could be filled in while offsite (read lager time) and no-one was the wiser.

        This lasted something like 3 months before it was canned.

  7. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    I wonder if i could borrow the PFY for a while.

    You know there is a problem when you have to install a time management program to organise the previously installed time management program.

  8. Anonymous Custard

    Time and money

    Brings to mind the sadly all-too-often repeated mantra around here, from we coalface minions to those up in the ivory towers...

    "So do you want us to spend the time making Powerpoint, having meetings, discussions and brainstorming about the problem, or to just actually get to work and fix it?"

  9. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Lager related tasks?

    Sigh. This is an insult to us ale drinking IT people.

    for me, Lager is only drunk when there is nowt else and that includes water.

    I'll be having some T.E.A. tonight as usual. for those non lager drinkers amongst us, have a virual one on me.

    1. hplasm

      Re: Lager related tasks?

      Lager is only drunk when drunk.


      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Lager related tasks?

        Lager is only drunk with curry.

        Properly FTFY

        1. Tom 7

          Re: Lager related tasks? Lager is only drunk with curry

          You do realise curry was actually invented to cope with the heavily hopped IPAs that were sent to India.

          Before that they all went out for an english.

          1. Toastan Buttar

            Re: Before that they all went out for an english.

            "Waiter! Bring me the blandest thing on the menu!"

  10. BenBell

    Sounds about right

    Almost as much of a pain as our change management system - At present, if I want to patch one of my domains, I have to link all 600 servers individually to the change control.

    If I had to do "Stages" for "open wsus and approve changes", "watch patches download and install", "get all machines rebooted" and "listen to users bitch and moan about how the latest IE patch broke their wallpaper or changed their screensaver timeout".. I'd quite possibly need the bleach and carpet myself.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sounds about right

      Oh no, change management is a wonderful thing, when managed correctly. To do this you need to become skilled in the art of talking technobollocks, such that any non-technical person (i.e. all of the management blimps on the committee) hasn't a clue what you're talking about, but is afraid to ask for clarification.

      This was the technique used when the Operations division refused to stop letting their machine monitoring system try to ssh login to the web server back-end machines. As this was causing repeated hack-attempt warnings and getting the monitoring system put into the local denyhosts configuration repeatedly (where it would sit until repeated whinging from Operations forced us to remove it), something needed to be done.

      So, a request for change that was a masterpiece of techno-crap was drafted. It amounted to a minor tweak to the firewall around the web server backends, which prevented the rogue monitoring system from contacting anything. The Change Management committee were in BOFH-style dummy mode by the third sentence, and passed the change without a murmur. Since then any request to revert this change has been firmly denied.

  11. TechnoTechno

    All Time In Motion studies are a ridiculous waste of time. We managed to get the last one cancelled when it was found that 2 and half hours of every persons week was being used to fill in SAP **shudders**

    1. Alien8n


      BMW regularly do Time & Motion studies on their production line. When they have sections running so fast that you have to run to keep up it should be ringing health and safety alarm bells, but no. Instead they just kept ramping up the speed and let the mistakes be found at the end. You're not meant to need a full team of engineers just fixing the production errors, but that's what they had when I was there. Good time and quality management should enable 95% of cars to roll off the line straight into the car park for shipping. From memory when I was there they were closer to 75%. And people wonder why I refuse to drive a Mini...

  12. Paul Smith

    Tut tut...

    The BoFH leaving a trail of evidence. That is going to come back and haunt him...

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

      Re: Tut tut...

      I do not doubt they planted the evidence in SoniaMary's account.

      1. Chika

        Re: Tut tut...

        I got the impression that this was a demo account. Those things are always filled with rubbish...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What evidence?

      They carried out various small and innocuous tasks under Mary's direction that turned out to be part of a plot to kill members of management. The guilt is clear.

    3. a pressbutton

      Re: Tut tut...

      The BoFH leaving a trail of evidence. That is going to come back and haunt him...

      .. au contraire

      The work logging system clearly shows Mary ordered the bleach cleaning and then passed the job on to pfy to take a rolled up carpet away.

      Given the reference to nuns, this could be known as a hail mary pass

  13. Alien8n

    Time sheet systems

    Had these at a previous job, but there they had a pretty good reason for using it as each task was for a different client so would generate it's own invoice for the work done. They did have the sense to add a task of filling in the task system though.

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Re: Time sheet systems

      Same here - except I'm self-employed and wrote my own system (as it was simpler to do that than use a spreadsheet). Dead simple, takes seconds to fill in stuff, granularity to the minute, produces monthly invoices in a couple of clicks and provides info to stuff on the tax form at the end of the financial year. No time wasting crap or special codes to remember whatsoever - it works the way I NEED it to work!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh God yes.

    The corporate nut cracking sledgehammer.

    I've seen this with highly committed NHS staff accounting for every minute in a system that actually took longer to use than they could have possibly wasted, even if they would have wanted to, but could not possibly have picked up on wasted time, if there had been any,since they could easily have buried this in the unmeasurable tasks, ( Like talking to me could have been "consultation with other agencies" even if we'd just been chatting in the staff room.)

    For myself, in a similar vein, for years I had a "Business Continuity Plan" that I'd drafted, was available as a WORD document, that I'd run through to see if it met any potential disasters etc. It covered everything I could think of from a power cut to the whole f****ing building collapsing in a pile of rubble. And it fitted on two sides of A4.

    And when the corporates finally realised they wanted us all to have a BCP I submitted mine.

    Which did for a year or so. Until someone decided to buy in a corporate system. Which was a monolithic job of immense complexity ( and cost)

    Which I duly got trained on, if two hours in front of a slow PC in an abandoned council office somewhere counted as training.

    It was so complex that about 80% wasn't even shown to us, and the bit that we did need was virtually incomprehensible.It branched like a Christmas tree, with every stem having a weird, meaningless icon* and a gibberish name. It had sections with similar sounding names, but apparently different functions, and a vague description that didn't come close to describing the challenges we actually did need to prepare against. There were action buttons that needed to be selected when we'd completed a section, that were indistinguishable from other action buttons that did something else. Tasks that could easily be placed in a paragraph, or even a sentence ( If this happens do that. ) had to be split into sections. Like the risk item would be on one branch of the tree, which then somehow had to be linked to an action on another branch, and a report on another branch, which needed linking to a contact on yet another branch, with contact details on another and so on.

    Very soon they a.) Gave the temporary staff who were there to help everyone get used to the system a long term contract, b.) told them to sit with all the managers to fill in the blessed thing with ( later for ) us. and c), told us/me that what we really needed was to create alongside this something on two sides of A4 that we could actually use.

    * Like the icon for save that sat in a row with a few others,equally anonymous, but gave no clue it was a save button whatsoever. And one to enter new information, even though it didn't seem to have a need to be set up with a button you had to press for entering new information.

  15. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Old fashioned paper timesheets.

    We filled the stupid things in every week, despite that fact that most of us were assigned to a particular project, and so only had one line on it.

    My mate noticed a steadily growing pile of time sheets on the boss' secretaries' desk. He asked "what's happening to these then?" and was told that they were going to be analysed.

    Week or so later, he noticed a large wad of paper in a bin. The timesheets for the previous few months.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Utter waste of time

    In the good old days of sensibleness we nerds just used to just say it took X hours to do and the lovely accounts lady billed X hours out to the customer.

    Now however we have new masters of the day ... time-sheet, daily diary, work flow calculator, T&M excel workbook and of course the golden nugget your "appraisal needs to know what-do-you-do-all-day" sheet ... Management!

    It now takes me and other members of the team Friday afternoon and most of Monday morning to analyse, calculate, describe in bullet points and finally document to a level that can be disseminated by non-technical people what we have done the last 4 working days.

    And that does not even begin to cover the "email everyone the job system report in excel so we can see how effective everyone has been" oh and then print off 10 copies and bring them to the Monday afternoon performance review meeting ...

    AC 'cause I know at least one of them buggers will be reading this at some point today as I leave it open.

    Now what did I do for the last half an hour, oh yes "evaluate the working day time frame with a like minded group of people".

  17. Tim99 Silver badge

    Urban Legend?

    I was told on a manglement course in the 1980s about an engineering workshop whose blank daily production and time sheets were Roneo'd copies of copies of copies. The manager was going to retire and his replacement was shown how to fill in the sheet. Near the top left of the sheet was an illegible box. The retiring manager said "We always put a zero in there". After a year or two the new manager found a file containing some dog-eared, yellowing, but original, World War II typewritten documents - Including the production and time sheet. The mystery box was for hours lost due to enemy action.

  18. Dave Ross

    BOFH update...

    looks like it's pint o'clock!

  19. Florida1920

    We have to work smarter, not harder

    That was my cue to reach for the cattle prod.

    Good to see Simon on form this week!

  20. Lord_Beavis


    We have a nice ticketing system that has been a major improvement over the last 5 different products that were used to replace one we had called ITSM. That one was a nice product, but they apparently didn't like it because you could actually use it and, if it was filled out correctly (which wasn't hard to do because it brooked no bullshit), you could pull useful metrics from it.

    That being said, at the beginning of the month, we have to fill out an Excel spread sheet with our accomplishments for the previous month. I’ve stopped entering tickets in the new system unless they are a change task that needs many approvals.

    What I want to do is go whole hog on the ticket system and then at the end of the month put "all my accomplishments are tracked in the ticket system" in the spreadsheet.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time to repurpose some old code

    Somewhere, I have a copy of the random excuse generator.

    I just need to change the contents of the 3 text files and it should do the trick.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Drill down

    Am I the only person, he asked rhetorically, to object to this irritating expression? When I drill down I expect to get a hole, not a more detailed version of what I saw when I started drilling.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Drill down

      Its a blind hole so your looking at the end of the hole where all the kerf scratched detail and stuff is. S'obvious innit?

    2. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Re: Drill down

      Tut Tut.

      You're supposed to examine the swarf (in a meaningful way) for every mm you drill.

  23. Brian Miller

    BOFH and Agile methodology

    This is the essence of "agile" "methodology." It's neither agile, nor is it a method nor the scientific study of a method. It's just a stupid "to do" list, and if it's put into a computer program, then it's a to-do list with blinky lights and extraneous stuff to fill out. In my last job, I have no idea how much time we spend on the to-do list instead of producing the product. The team was less than 10 people, yet it had three managers for it: a team manager, an agile manager, and a technical manager. Hello, anybody spot something blatantly wrong there??

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    helpdesk system

    When I came in as senior administrator responsible for 1 other tech, I implemented a helpdesk system. Not so that we could track the time and frequency of faults, but so that we could safely tell our users to log a job and we would get to it as soon as possible (ie never) . the time tracking never really worked because half the time our jobs were "by the way, while you are here" type jobs that got entered after the event. Closing jobs was usually done Friday afternoon to allow us to say that we had completed x amount of tasks during the week. When the excrement hit the rotating air circulation device we'd concentrate on fixing the problem not tracking the tasks and time taken.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Plus there is all the fudging ..

    .. to make it appear no rules on working hours are broken.

    Many (many many) moons ago I worked for a company who had a timecard system that automatically blocked any registration of overtime. Billable hours were logged in every which way, but anything at cost to the company could never have overtime - irrespective of reality.

    Naturally, sticking to the hours you were actually logging was grounds for negative performance evaluations yet no, you didn't get payed because they were not in the system.

    So I left.

  26. iranu

    Paralysis by Analysis

    is what I call spending more time performing useless admin tasks connected with the job rather than doing the job itself.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Paralysis by Analysis

      Politicians have gone one better - they argue publicly (including now on Twitter, which shows just how dysfunctional some of them are) at great length about how the useless admin tasks are being done, and lose sight of the job completely.

  27. Herby

    Time Accounting, a parable...

    The story goes:

    St. Peter: Welcome Mr. Brant. You look a little young to be here?

    Mr. Brant: I'm only 35, and yes, I agree I'm a bit young.

    St. Peter: Aren't you lawyer?

    Mr. Brant: Why yes, who do you ask?

    St. Peter: That explains it. We were going by billable hours, and by that metric, you are in your 80's.

    Life goes on.

  28. Enigman

    Only one time recorder? I now have 3

    I now have 3 time and task management tools:

    One used for 'predicting' my next 4 weeks of work effort and which reminds me every week that I need to fill in the next 4 weeks even thought it's already filled in and automatically escalates me if it thinks I haven't submitted it. It also has a problem with my predicting my 'actuals' and asks if I am sure I am planning to work greater than 50 hours that week - I don't 'plan' to but know some burning issue will manifest itself having sat in some managers inbox for 4 weeks.

    One used for recording my 'actual' time which interestingly reports on me to management if I 'under claim' normal hours as a result of taking time in lieu (been a while since I actually took time I was owed)but it doesn't do likewise when I record 2 weeks of time in a single week.

    And now a new 'task oriented' time recording system which only considers time spend on your device as 'active' time - If I were to use dead trees to review complex documentation and don't keep my laptop active, the tool decides I'm not working and nulls the time. It has a time limit on 'tasks' that you can't change and if you exceed it's limit, it decides that the task is complete and stops recording the time - you end up with no task recorded until you notice that your allotted time has exceeded. You have to put a minimum amount of designated hours of tasks or it reports on you as having not worked.

    There are pre-designated types of tasks that you can't change so if you don't fit the pigeon hole you have to select a task that most closely matches the pre-designated tasks. You have to synchronise each week or you are designated as having not the tool. And all the recording is 'manual' and supposedly going to be analysed by some group of analysts across the organisation.

    Disabling the tool or not having it running is reported by a tool that checks for it running.

    In my case, I can't log in to the tool as they didn't set up my ID and despite having logged a ticket for it and no response my manager gets weekly emails reporting my non-compliance.

    Now all I need is a tool to track all the time I spend recording my time and the circle will be complete.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My boss is trained. Our time tracking needs to be complete by lunchtime on a Friday, otherwise they can't submit it. .After months of trying to get me to fill my sheet on time, now he just fills it on a friday morning with general stuff I probably did some of at some point during the week, like agile process meeting, or hotfix deploying, just so he can review it and submit it in time... Why? He has a KPI on it, and I don't :D

  30. Stu_The_Jock


    As a field engineer, our bosses decided not to follow the copy a local firm providing engineers for telecoms work with GPS tracking in the vans, and automatic reporting of where and when the vehicles stopped. The idea being to save engineers filling out logs for the vans with mileages etc.

    What they failed to realise, until they dragged the first "victim" into a meeting to discuss his undocumented visits to non-customer sites and showed the logs from his van, was that every time the van engine did it's auto-stop/start thing at traffic lights, the tracking software registered a "STOP" and assumed it was the van being parked . . . None of the bosses in the chains had spotted all the "unscheduled stops" were in areas with heavy traffic and with traffic lights . . . DOH !

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