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Tools and bosses

  1. Jul 6, 2014 #1
    I need certain tools to do my job, but my boss want's me to use bovine manure tools that don't work well. I.e. it will take huge amounts (weeks) of both my and my teams time. While the right tools will cost a few hundred dollars and will be working within a week.

    I've had this problem before with other bosses. All my bosses have been intelligent, and are normally reasonable. But once they have an idea in their head, they are won't to let it go. Once I finally convince them to do it the right way, they get upset/resentful that they were wrong.

    How do you guys tells your bosses "Bugger off and give me money to get my fertilizer done?" in a professional way without them getting all mopey?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 6, 2014 #2
    You can make a financial spreadsheet that shows the alternatives and the work schedule with each set of tools.

    Yes, you're doing his job for him. He may want you to use the poor tools anyway. It happens. Sometimes they have reasons that they do not disclose to you. One of them is to get you to think like a manager so that he can move up and do bigger and better things while you do his job.

    Management psychology is a weird and wild topic. People write books about this stuff and yet every situation is unique. This is where your "slackard" buddies who took courses on the Humanities get ahead of you.
     
  4. Jul 6, 2014 #3

    AlephZero

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    ... and a good way to fix that problem (if you are a boss) is irritate the cause of the problem till he/she quits. Maybe the strategy is beginning to work, :devil:
     
  5. Jul 6, 2014 #4

    Choppy

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    There are a number of dimensions to this kind of issue, and they can be difficult to address without knowing the specifics of your situation.

    Are you in a position to be deciding which tool to use? How involved were you when the scope and objectives of the project were defined in the first place? Do you completely understand what they are?

    Also, are you bringing up a debate after the fact. There's a time to strategize and a time to execute. If your project is in the execution phase, forcing it back to the planning phase is naturally going to incur some resentment.

    Consider for example a sergeant who orders one of fire teams to fire on an enemy sniper position, and the fire team leader comes back with a suggestion that his fire team should be outfitted with longer range rifles to increase the probability of a successful attack. That's ridiculous because the time for discussion of weapon (or tool) choice is not during combat, but before even going into the field, and it's a decision that's not usually made at the private-sergeant level.

    So one solution to all of this is to get yourself involved in the project at the earliest stages.

    As another alternative, one which you really have to be careful with and I am not necessarily endorsing, is based on the philosophy that "it's better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission," ie. exercise initiative and do it with the tools you desire and rely on the consequences of the outcome to dig you out of any holes.
     
  6. Jul 6, 2014 #5

    AlephZero

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    You need to be very careful with that in the software industry (which is what I believe the OP is working in, from other threads). Installing unauthorized software on a company computer network can be an instant dismissal offense, especially if you have form over challenging "the rules".
     
  7. Jul 6, 2014 #6

    Choppy

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    Agreed. Using the tool you prefer is generally not worth losing your job over.
     
  8. Jul 6, 2014 #7
    I don't work in software, but the tools I'm being directed to use are a set of software layers. Getting better software would be a security violation, but there are cheaper straight forward hardware solutions that don't have this problem.

    But to get back to my previous question. I know the people here that have skills they use to convince other people. How do I convince people of my point of view in a professional setting. I try to use logic, humor, cost benefit, etc... But I'm not generally doing a great job of it.

    I am new at this job, so I don't have a great reputation yet. But still, I should be able to convince people of stuff. How do you guys go about convincing people?
     
  9. Jul 6, 2014 #8

    Vanadium 50

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    1) Develop the great reputation.
    2) Develop some charity and humility.
    3) Become the best person at the old tools, so that an opinion to switch to new tools will be (and appear to be) based on experience with both, and not just a preference for what you used before.
     
  10. Jul 6, 2014 #9

    lisab

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    It's been my unfortunate experience that not all managers equate employee time with money. It's almost like their reasoning goes: money is what comes out of my pocket when I buy something. Employee time is different because I'm going to have to pay them anyway, so why not minimize the money coming out of my pocket? Hard to believe but I've seen it too often.

    Minimize the grumbling. When the time comes to set the budget for next year, gently bring up the need for this tool. Don't take it personally if (or when) you get turned down.
     
  11. Jul 7, 2014 #10

    462chevelle

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    Buy the tool. Heck, I have bought 40k in tools (diesel mechanic) and I got paid crap compared to what I had to spend in tools.
     
  12. Jul 7, 2014 #11

    Vanadium 50

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    And they shouldn't. Sometimes one is a scarcer resource than the other, and it is part of the art of management to deal with that. As Gary Sanders once said, "the trick is to be broke and done on the same day."

    If the task at hand is on what is called the critical path, speeding that task up will speed up the project. It may well be worth spending money to achieve that.

    Now consider the following case: the next task in the chain can't start for 4 weeks, irrespective of when the task at hand finishes: perhaps that team is waiting for some other thing to arrive. Speeding up the task at hand from 4 weeks to 2 weeks won't speed up the overall project by one whit. Furthermore, it may also be that the 2 weeks saved cannot be effectively used either, if this team is waiting on something before they can start their next task. In this case, it would be bad management to speed up this task - it would be smarter to use the money to try and speed up some other task.

    rigetFrog's assumption that speeding up his piece of the project will necessarily speed up the whole thing is not necessarily true, and for a big enough project is even unlikely to be true.
     
  13. Jul 8, 2014 #12

    f95toli

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    But often they ARE the same. A good example is the company my wife works for, she spent nearly a year trying to convince her managers to let hey buy the copy of Photoshop Elements that she needed to convert/resize/etc images and also read the files sent to them by their clients (often in PSD format, meaning it had to be Photoshop). Her managers preferred solution was to send every file to the graphics design company they used (which was supposed to be used when they needed to DESIGN something), every file cost about £30 to convert/resize and it took at least 4 hours to get it done. When she was finally allowed to buy the software (for something like £90) it paid for itself in about 3 days in direct cost (during that year they had probably spent a few thousand pounds outsourcing small jobs). Eventually my wife had enough and paid for the software herself (she was eventually reimbursed)

    Anyway, the point is that there are certainly a lot of people out there who do not think of software of tools that can SAVE money in the long run; and for some reason this group of people seems to be over-represented among managers.
     
  14. Jul 11, 2014 #13

    Vanadium 50

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    I don't doubt that software can save effort. My point is that spending money to save effort in the wrong place in the project doesn't help, and a good manager won't do it.
     
  15. Jul 11, 2014 #14
    Ok, I think this post is done with. How bout we close it before I offend some one.
     
  16. Jul 11, 2014 #15

    symbolipoint

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    Not all difficult bosses will reject remedies you express for problems. You just try to tell what the advantage is for what you want to use, and if the advantage is good (saves time, saves mess, saves money, increases reliablility or accuracy or precision, occupies less space/storage), then likely the boss will accept what you say and allow to put the remedy into action.
     
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