back to article BOFH: Hearken! The Shiny Button software speaks of Strategic Realignment

BOFH logo telephone with devil's horns The Boss has taken a meeting with a bunch of support contractors, apparently to talk about issues we might be having. As we're not having any issues, there's an undercurrent of betrayal in his words. "I like to keep an open mind," the Boss says in response to my sigh of doubt – once more …

  1. theOtherJT Silver badge

    Shiny button software...

    ...As a service.

    Missed a trick there. All shiny button software is a service these days. By paying a low monthly fee of $7 per user you can generate metrics that will allow you to waste at least 30 people's time at a rate of $50 an hour, for an hour per month while the compulsory meeting to discuss the metrics that no one has read takes place. The outcome of which will be a reduction in over-all spend by the equivalent of at most $1 per month per month, per user, by making everything slightly more annoying.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Shiny button software...

      If it's going to cut jobs the per user pricing is going to need looking at. Best make it a fixed rate based on initial number of users otherwise it will end up cutting its own income.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Shiny button software...

        Oh, no, you should keep using a per user charge because everyone who buys it will think they're getting a great deal. We pay for 200 users this month, then next month we only have to pay for 180. Then they realize that the software doesn't actually let them cut staffing as they thought and they still end up paying for 200 users.

        1. Snowy Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Shiny button software...

          Also only allow a seat reduction once a year (or more with a discount if you lock in for longer). Any increase would take place straight away and reset the reduction period.

      2. Montreal Sean

        Re: Shiny button software...

        Ah, but the $7/user pricing requires a certain number of employees. It's a volume discount.

        If user levels drop below a certain threshold the price per user will increase dramatically.

        1. TheWeetabix

          Re: Shiny button software...

          I sure don’t miss Oracle….

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shiny button software...

      $7 per month is so passé - the new fad is runtime-credits-per-hour pricing :-)

      1. handle handle

        Re: Shiny button software...

        Can't do that. It'll be immediately apparent no one is looking at the numbers when no runtime credits are consumed.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: Shiny button software...

          No no, the runtime credits are for the data collection.

          Viewing the data is free*!

          1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

            Re: Shiny button software...

            ...and for the processing cost, storage, and network access at $0.01 per kilobyte (1000 bytes, not 1024)

            1. herman

              Re: Shiny button software...

              An XML database I presume?

  2. b0llchit Silver badge
    Happy

    Shiny Buttocks Software

    (FTFY) A must-have for your IT vitality checks from server to client.

    1. Anonymous Anti-ANC South African Coward Bronze badge

      I see your Shiny Buttocks Software and raise you a Shiny Bollocks Software

      1. Montreal Sean

        If you think you're shining my buttocks, or my bollocks, you'd better buy me dinner first!

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Don't forget Cover Your Arse™. This package will ensure that, whatever happens, someone else gets the blame.

      1. SuperGeek

        Cover your arse...

        After checking your poo? I hear smooth and banana shaped is ideal!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah. The Enterprise Bullshit Pro Licence.

    64 bit.

    1. CountCadaver Silver badge

      Tack on turbopromaxultraextreme2 and we might well have a winner there

      1. MrDamage Silver badge

        Tack AI onto the end, and it;s a definite winner.

        1. TeeCee Gold badge

          Or at the very least a new paradigm.

          1. TheWeetabix

            A shifty one, even.

            1. bemusedHorseman
              Mushroom

              Better hope that paradigm isn't trying to shift without a clutch... or else -->

          2. Scott 26

            "Quantum"

            (forgetting that quantum levels are very very small)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "A quantum leap in savings!"

        2. 43300 Silver badge

          And X9 or some other random combination of letters and numbers to indicate that it's a subscription service.

          For most of the functionality you actually want, you will also need the doubleplusgoodbonus addon, plus further add-ons for some of the functions to actually work.

          1. herman

            Sounds like Oracle or SAP

    2. ariels-again
      Boffin

      We cannot buy unless it's compatible with our Enterprise Blockchain Solution Framework!

      (True Enterprise lag is one hype cycle)

  4. Kevin Johnston

    Resource re-alignment?

    It always confuses me when managers are so keen to get onboard with this. They will not see a bonus from the savings as that is well above their paygrade but there may be questions about the need for their role once the staff numbers reduce as we are seeing from the WFH movement over the last 4 years. So many staff are happier and working more efficiently without the hourly interruptions from a manager that needs to be seen to be 'in the loop' that entire layers of management are now desperate for people to be back in the office before the axeman comes to encourage them to spend more time with their family.

    Some companies appear to be looking at this is a good way and are downsizing their office space and making savings that way but there are a number of big enterprises out there who are too invested in their offices, especially since it is now a buyer's market for office space so selling a 'quantum experience in flexible ergonomic working spaces featuring ambient music and meditation pods' is not a quick process.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Resource re-alignment?

      "entire layers of management are now desperate for people to be back in the office"

      The smarter managers will be attributing such an increased productivity to their success at managing a remote working staff.

      Of course the smarter managers wouldn't have been interrupting their staff on an hourly basis in the first place so they'll have less of an increase in productivity anyway.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Resource re-alignment?

      It's the gravy for ambitious but no so talented managers. People who haven't worked in the service industry shouldn't want to be managers, but they do. Management done right provides a service to the employees; done wrong, try to treat employees like servants.

      Realignments are inevitable when it becomes clear that the last set of consultant-based reorganisation didn't work and now even fewer people who need to work together are working together. Instead everything has been streamlined and nobody knows what they should be doing. So, time for a realignment and cue the next lot of consultants arriving with whiteboards, charts and games to break the nose ice. Add some creative accounting and, while productivity goes down, it's bonuses all round as profits are juiced by selling assets and leasing them back. Then there's a round of musical office chairs as the most motivated middle managers are whittled down for allowing the most talented employees to leave.

      Mine's the one with The Mythical Man Month in the pocket.

      1. KittenHuffer Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Resource re-alignment?

        You've just given me a bad case of Deja Vu!

        ---------> Mine's the one I'll need soon, cos it's happening again!

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Resource re-alignment?

        "Then there's a round of musical office chairs as the most motivated middle managers are whittled down for allowing the most talented employees to leave."

        If senior management even recognised who was the most talented of their employees it would only be because they were the most expensive - assuming they were paid more than the rest wich isn't likely.

      3. Dimmer Bronze badge

        Charlie Sorry it registered as a down vote

        Management done right provides a service to the employees; done wrong, try to treat employees like servants.

        Thumbs up!

    3. Sam not the Viking Silver badge

      Re: Resource re-alignment?

      A good manager is one who understands what you are doing and ensures that the processes and equipment are there to help you function efficiently. I am fortunate in having worked for several competent managers. But not every time.

      As an engineer, I would get pissed off by managers, based on their complete incomprehension of the task, who told me what I needed to do. These people who have a cursory understanding, uttering relevant buzzwords-of-the-moment and in so doing have weaselled their way into 'management', are very dangerous.

      I was confident in my position but this just serves to infuriate. Amusing for me but it affected others earlier their career path.

      1. herman

        Re: Resource re-alignment?

        Lemme guess - you worked at Boeing?

  5. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
    Thumb Up

    "I was thinking more of murder suicide,"

    Apart from a certain microbiome, and blood in the water, there is the distinct smell of database normalization warnings in the air.

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    once more confusing the words "open" and "empty."

    The other one which keeps getting confused with "empty" is "clear" as in "A clear desk is the sign of a clear mind".

    1. steelpillow Silver badge
      Pint

      once more confusing the words "open" and "empty."

      This is a riopste I am going to steal openly (sic) and frequently in all walks of life where weasels play.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: once more confusing the words "open" and "empty."

        Stealing is unnecessary, please feel free to use it. And if the victims complain about you being negative you can also use my one about it being the grit in the oyster that produces the pearl.

    2. A____B

      Years ago I worked in a place where the senior manager was fixated upon appearance and "order".

      There are numerous stories about edicts being issued about things being stored on shelves in general view, level of venetian blinds... projects were running late and staff churn was high, but it wasn't poor management to blame - no it was a pile of binders on top of a filing cabinet!!

      One particular time he was having a go about general tidiness and voiced the opinion that "A messy, cluttered desk is the sign of a messy, cluttered mind".

      Unfortunately, at the time I had a very young family and a mortgage to consider; even so, I still regret to this day not asking what an empty desk signified -- his room always had a completely clear desk.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "This is not messy clutter. It's a carefully curated collection of working papers. It's on this desk because this is a desk where work is done so working papers are needed. I'm surprised and disappointed that a discerning manager didn't recognise that."

        1. 43300 Silver badge

          And the follow-on point that in the obsession with sleek-looking offices, they've failed to provide enough storage space so things get piled up on desks...

        2. ske1fr
          Windows

          What do you mean, your desk?

          In my last post we had 'hot desking', so no one had a designated desk, in the morning you collected your stuff from your designated locker, then played Find A Desk, plus points if it was near your team, then in the afternoon you did it all in reverse. It was a serious time waster/ efficient use of office space, depending on your grade/ attitude. As you can imagine, going from a hot desked office with dual monitor arms singly populated, to home working with a fully integrated workstation (by me) made The Covid Years far more productive...

          1. MGJ

            Re: What do you mean, your desk?

            Personal lockers, bloody luxury. Post covid attempts to coax us back in to the office have involved 'day lockers' and the removal of personal desks and storage, and they wonder why the offices remain stubbornly empty. Its almost like they are trying to have an excuse to get rid of our large listed buildings that cant ever be made energy efficient and would be much better as hotels or yet more student accomodation.

  7. Howard Sway Silver badge

    "Oh, it's ah ... Neo ... um, Enterprise ... uh ... Executive ... uhm ..."

    Let me guess : the next word would have been "Dashboard".

    It was the easiest way to sell any useless, everybody knows this stuff anyway, metric visualising Fisher Price My First Management Tool software to the aspirational middle manager. "Cockpit" would have been an even more impressive sounding name for such crap, allowing the exec to feel that they were a pilot at the controls of a huge complex airliner, but for some reason that never caught on.

    1. Lyndon Hills 1

      Re: "Oh, it's ah ... Neo ... um, Enterprise ... uh ... Executive ... uhm ..."

      The 'cockpit' idea was suggested where I worked around 17/18 years ago.....

    2. steelpillow Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: "Oh, it's ah ... Neo ... um, Enterprise ... uh ... Executive ... uhm ..."

      I can't help wondering whether Word's spellcheck auto-correct dealt with mistyping "cockpit" in all too many interesting ways.

    3. Dizzy Dwarf

      Re: "Oh, it's ah ... Neo ... um, Enterprise ... uh ... Executive ... uhm ..."

      Er, Pebble-dashboard?

      With a mostly brown, but also a slightly worrying yellow/green, colour scheme.

      <link rel=stylesheet type="text/css" href="/css/onion_bhaji.css">

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: "Oh, it's ah ... Neo ... um, Enterprise ... uh ... Executive ... uhm ..."

        Back to the intestinal biome again.

    4. Filippo Silver badge

      Re: "Oh, it's ah ... Neo ... um, Enterprise ... uh ... Executive ... uhm ..."

      One of my clients got a consultant to make them a dashboard. They asked me to export some production data.

      I gave them a big CSV where each row was a production batch, with start and end timestamps and quantity.

      They said that they needed the total hours and quantity by day.

      I pointed out to the customer that they have the start/end timestamps and quantity per operation. Turning that into totals by day was just arithmetics. Some tricky bits if an operation is active at midnight, okay, but still nothing that doesn't get routinely taught to teens.

      I could change the exporter in the production software, of course, but surely the dashboard software, whose entire reason of being is to visualize data, would already be set up to do something like that?

      Some time passed, and then they confirmed that they wanted me to export total quantities per day.

      So I did that, and the CSV now had a row per day, with the total.

      Some time passed, and then they asked me to add a column with the quantity-per-hour.

      I pointed out that this is literally just a division.

      I'll do it, of course, for free even, but a question comes to mind. This dashboard software. It's just a thing that makes a time series plot out of a CSV, isn't it? Like, literally three mouse clicks on Excel? How much are you paying for it?

      Still have to get an answer.

      1. steelpillow Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: "Oh, it's ah ... Neo ... um, Enterprise ... uh ... Executive ... uhm ..."

        Down at the local golf club:

        "My dashboard cost more than your dashboard. Yah!"

        "You're not counting the cost of the blockchain data archive mine creates. Boo!"

        "I pay that every month for my cloud DaaS. That's dashboard-as-as-service, dear boy. Sucks!"

        "Who's that toff in the Veyron?"

        "Said his name was Boff-with-an-h or something. No breeding."

        1. 43300 Silver badge

          Re: "Oh, it's ah ... Neo ... um, Enterprise ... uh ... Executive ... uhm ..."

          Serious ommission in that lot - you've failed to include any mention of AI!

          1. steelpillow Silver badge

            Re: "Oh, it's ah ... Neo ... um, Enterprise ... uh ... Executive ... uhm ..."

            Hark! Is that the sound of a Veyron reversing back into its parking space?

            Checkout the number plate: AI 1

      2. ariels-again

        Re: "Oh, it's ah ... Neo ... um, Enterprise ... uh ... Executive ... uhm ..."

        The dashboard is necessary to make split-second management decisions based on weekly data. Your 3 clicks in Excel would cost us 5 minutes and we would lose our competitive advantage.

    5. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: "Oh, it's ah ... Neo ... um, Enterprise ... uh ... Executive ... uhm ..."

      Let me guess : the next word would have been "Dashboard".

      It was the easiest way to sell any useless, everybody knows this stuff anyway, metric visualising Fisher Price My First Management Tool software to the aspirational middle manager. "Cockpit" would have been an even more impressive sounding name for such crap, allowing the exec to feel that they were a pilot at the controls of a huge complex airliner, but for some reason that never caught on. ... Howard Sway

      A Cabinet Office “Initiative" is also a Doozy in such BullShitter Stakes races to the Junk Status Yard, Howard Sway.

      Currently do Conservative Unionists and the Official Opposition excel to excess to the detriment of the UKGBNI in that politically inept spectacle/BBC* Production of Daily Directions for 0Day Presention

      And y’all know should know that is the honest gospel and simply complex undeniable truth, but clearly there be indisputable evidence there be many without a clue about the dire failed state of their current existences.

      Fear not for the the future though, unless worthy of it being denied you for constantly exhibiting unpleasant behaviour and continually presenting totally unacceptable anti-social activities, the Sublime Internet Networking of Thinks and Almighty IntelAIgent Thoughts has intervened and offers Total Information Awareness type Remote Practically Autonomous Command with Virtually Realised Relatively Anonymous Controls.

      Stop Press News, El Reg, and a Global Exclusive Scoop on more than just the suggestion of the possibility, and therefore the very likely ACTualised Probability** of a New More Orderly World Ordered Earthly Coup d’État/Putsch/Purge/Rebellion/Revolution/Underground Movement/Alien Intervention/call it whatever you will or must ‽

      If you have any questions just ask them for answers, for what’s not to like whenever there’s so much more always to employ and deploy and enjoy and exploit in Live Operational Virtual Environments ..... but do not expect, for such be unreasonable and dangerous to consider, to hear of specific leaderships in novel and sensitive secretive areas of universal administration. Loose Lips Sink Ships is well known to more than just the wise and mysterious, the treacherous and the not so ignorant but sadly badly arrogant fools’ tool ..... and such inquiries do quite naturally automatically render one extraordinarily a person of particular and peculiar interest to security and protection services and forces. So beware, and take care if you dare to be aware for win wins

      * .... Brutish Brainwashing Corporation/Big Brother Cabal

      ** .... Realised Advanced Cyber Threat/Treat

      Have a Nice Day. Y’all.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Stop Press News Global Exclusive Scoop Communiqué

        Oops. That second paragraph should of course read ..... Currently do Conservative Unionists and the Official Opposition excel to excess to the detriment of the UKGBNI in that politically inept spectacle/BBC* Production of Daily Directions for 0Day Presentation.

        Sorry about that. I imagine though it might annoy me more than you, so thankfully has no real harm been done.

    6. Blogitus Maximus

      Re: "Oh, it's ah ... Neo ... um, Enterprise ... uh ... Executive ... uhm ..."

      If its not "Dashboard" its "Single Pane of Glass".

      These manglement induced systems are frequently little more an a "Single Pain of Glass".

  8. MacGuffin

    Strategery

    Fecal Strategery

  9. Pete Sdev Bronze badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Joy

    It'll wink and blink, but not make you think

    There's a song, or at least a tshirt design, in that line alone.

    Happy Friday everybody.

  10. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    And there goes another

    Keyboard

    Quote

    ""And you think I can convince a couple of them to quit?" the Boss asks.

    "I was thinking more of murder suicide," I reply.

    "Or something that looked like murder suicide," the PFY suggests."

    And now the boss is wondering why theres sounds of laughter coming from the programming office... indeed ... any sounds at all apart from post-pub snoring before I go home.

    Although there is talk of replacing our late not so lamented production engineer with a new one..... which means sharing the office again.. must come up with a plan......

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Go

      Re: And there goes another - Clean up in Aisle 3

      slap on the pointy ears and start talking about the needs of the many ... and a new keyboard please, some wipes for the monitor, a new office chair, and some depends, I've just pissed myself!

  11. Alan W. Rateliff, II

    Microsoft Office Assistant

    * Clippit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft Office Assistant

      There's no need for such foul language around here!

  12. Red Sceptic

    Resignation note

    Lovely ending - an appropriate alternative to signing in blood.

    1. farvoyages

      Re: Resignation note

      ooohhh you mean the BA signed it using his personal biome sample ?

  13. Bebu Silver badge
    Windows

    The PFY outshining the master?

    His new age biome augury reference is very apt when dealing with this Palantir of Poo.

    poo-gaze - shit sight - like hindsight but with all the blameworthy highlighted or a faecal hologram produced by a spinning fan.

    "The Christmas tree lights of the IT world," he replies. "It'll wink and blink, but not make you think." A very accurate description of most of the consoles this software offers - ITSec stuff in particular.

    Redolent of Dorothy Parker when challenged to use of the word "horticulture" in a sentence.

    Simon hasn't lost it with this gem: "fervor you generally only see behind the drinks table of the People's Temple." Although possibly the reference might be a little obscure for younger readers.

    This pair are their own committee of public safety:

    «I was thinking more of murder suicide," I reply.

    "Or something that looked like murder suicide," the PFY suggests.»

    At a guess Simon has a vertically integrated undertaking business on the side. :)

    1. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

      Re: The PFY outshining the master?

      Vertical, horizontal, or just rolled up in carpet with quicklime.

    2. RockBurner

      Re: The PFY outshining the master?

      "...spinning fan"

      I think you meant "rotating localised-atmosphere distribution device".

  14. Shalghar

    Metric, Metric on the wall, who is most useless of them all ?

    Has nobody learned from IBMs KLOC/kilo lines of code that metrics are not the sole and only infallible source of insight about anyones real worth to the company ?

    I still have to see a KPI/metric/whatevermadeupnumberbullshyte that accounts for unbeancounterable things like creativity, ability to improvise, experience, knowledge (different from certificates) and even the much maligned "soft skills", ability to deescalate or to make a group work together instead of a collection of individuals working against each other.

    So what if a call center person has twenty calls "solved" in under a minute each while another has "wasted" 5 Minutes per call when the minuteman calls are just slapping the customer away with the usual rituals (turining on and off,re install, send in the device, must be on your end, all fine here, etc.) and make them call again while the 5 minute "timewasters" actually solved the issue in the first call?

    I also experienced a company that killed the option of rework/correction on the timesheet for prototypes because the manager said that those timecodes were abused to cover for the lazyness of the workers, since the designers were such smart guys and surely had thought of everything during the irritatibly long design phase. Somehow they seem to have found a way to disable the sprite collisions in their design software as we played the hymn of precision in the heavy metal angle grinder variant for quite some time at that specific project.

    Metrics are sometimes useful, but metrics just to have metrics are just a waste of time.

    And if anyone in "management" is unable to read and understand a CSV with all relevant data in it, let alone add, substract, divide, multiply (primary school mathematics), its not time to shine up the obvious with a dashboard but to boot out the obviously useless "managers" with a wooden board across the bum.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Metric, Metric on the wall, who is most useless of them all ?

      Worked in a team once where they had some right old dodgy print servers. If one went down, it would take out a whole floor until rebooted. A member of the team would always be scouring the queues for these tickets, assign them all to themself, reboot the server and close the tickets.

      Dickhead management loved that persons stats, whereas the rest of us who took the real meaty work were ignored and sometimes quizzed.

      I did eventually get around to sorting all the print servers out and then that persons metrics suddenly dropped, and management could not understand why - didn't care about the quality of the calls, just the quantity.

  15. BebopWeBop
    Happy

    Did the BA

    admire the fenestration on the way down?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Metric this

    Great BOFH, explains exactly why software like Microsoft BI is evil and should be destroyed with fire.

    My last company used it to judge supports responses to customers for "aggression" in the call management system emails using AI (Whooo shiny new magic), which resulted in us getting several flagged responses a week.

    It seemed like perfectly innocent words like "must" and "have to" qualified as aggressive responses (and yeah they just used the "built in" AI models in the software and didn't re-train them on our call systems data), therefore responses like "you must have at least version xxx of Java installed" got you flagged.

    After a couple of weeks the feature quietly disappeared with no explanation, and wasn't mentioned again (after it had been loudly advertised initially as "the future" and a "gamechanger")

  17. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    AI?

    I take it from people comments that it doesn't mean "Anal Investigation" then? Seems to me that it's best suited to being added to all such Rectal Rubbernecking "metrics" software.

  18. tesseractic

    On a related note, a posting from my now defunct blog:

    "Grammarly Considered Harmful"

    Before I wrote this post I checked with DuckDuckGo and found _No Instances_ of the phrase "grammarly considered harmful" on the (searchable) web. I've made that search before and found nothing then, either.

    You've probably seen their ads - the thing is supposed to improve your writing - spelling, grammar and style. What they don't tell you is that it doesn't necessarily work well, and that it may be harmful to you or your business' privacy and security.

    Some years ago I read a posting from an editor of a website devoted to English grammar where he reported signing up for Grammarly's service and testing it against a number of common grammatical errors. Grammarly failed miserably and the decision was made to reject Grammarly's advertising on that grammar website. Grammarly's efficacy may have improved since then, but to me it seemed like they were using a "fake it until you make it" business model. Whether that's still the case I don't know. They may be using AI and getting better at it.

    Quite apart from the issue of efficacy are the privacy and security issues. I recall that in at least one instance someone found what appeared to be a complete transcript of a Grammarly user's data from signup to learning, to substantial use on real business data. Imagine the harm that a rival could do to you if they got hold of _your_ data, or that of your employees. All it takes is one disgruntled Grammarly employee who wants to make some money on the side, and a shady data broker, and your confidential text data is up for sale.

    That's assuming that there's no attack from any Black Hats.

  19. StudeJeff

    Dilbert!

    This is SO Dilbert, such a great strip and reflected what passes for real life in the corporate world, just as this story did.

  20. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    BOFH logo telephone with devil's horns

    have we run out of jpgs and resorted to text?

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