Thursday, September 29, 2005

Respect My Time

It's always been a pet peeve of mine that, at many of the places I've worked, management thinks that the personal time of a salaried employee can be used at will to make up for a lack of adequate planning. I realize in this industry that estimates will frequently be off, the job still needs to get done, and that it is often my job to work longer hours and / or the weekend in order to get something finished. I can accept that.

The part that I cannot live with is when people fail to plan or even ignore potential pitfalls and risks and expect the development staff to continually work longer and harder to make up for it. The "long hours and weekends" safety net has been abused too often where I work.

The most recent incident of this happening at my work was when two members of my team received new laptops. They were supposed to spend a day each setting up the new machine at the beginning of the iteration. The setup time was pretty much unavoidable and had to happen before they could work their tasks for the iteration. I pointed out that this was going to cost us time in the schedule and that we should account for it by trying to cram fewer tasks into the allotted time. The response I got back from the development manager was, "If they have to come in on the weekend to set up those laptops, I guess I'm saying they can go ahead and do that." This wasn't make-or-break the product functionality and we were talking about a known risk / schedule impact. The fact that he wanted to ram it through anyway by using someone's personal time was simply due to the fact that he wanted to look good for his boss by having more tasks complete than other teams.

What better use of my time could there possibly be?


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