the Sweet Smell of Burning Fur (plonq) wrote,
the Sweet Smell of Burning Fur

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Sure, I'll get right on that

I am in something of an odd position at work just now. I am fairly qualified with a new reporting tool we started using last year - in fact it is the selfsame tool they dropped in my lap and then handed me a high profile dashboard, declaring they wanted delivery in a matter of days. The dashboard was to be a front end built on top of a SQL back end. There were just two minor problems:

1) I had never seen this tool in my life prior to having it dumped in my lap with no training.
2) I had never programmed in SQL.

Needless to say, it was my first high-profile failure since starting here. Then things got worse.

I was put on a large project with another developer who was also not proficient in SQL, and we were given 6000+ lines of PL/SQL which we needed to convert into about 16 dashboards with circles and arrow and bells and whistles, all in this application that we barely knew. Part of the challenge was figuring out how to fit billions of lines of data into these memory-resident dashboards. He ended up quitting about 3/4 of the way through the project, but I stuck it out to its miserable end.

Since then, I have learned a fair bit about SQL, and even more about this new reporting tool. I don't know enough to write really efficient SQL, but I can bring an otherwise robust database to its knees with a scary number of threads and parallel queries. I have also managed to wrap my head around the set analysis that drives this tool, and I can wring some very good reporting out of it in a very short time.

Naturally this was the point where they split our department in half, putting me in the side that maintains legacy reporting, and moving this new tool into the realm of the other group.

Ah well, I had been meaning to brush up my skills in the legacy reporting side again, and I am in the group that I consider to be more competent and personable all around. I like the people I am working with. The other group consists largely of people being hired off the street for their skills with the new tool.

Last week I discovered that I was being lent out to the other group for a dashboard because they are "tapped out". There are 30ish developers in their group, and 6 in ours. Last Thursday I built a prototype for the project. It only took me a couple of hours, and by the time I was done it was polished and functional enough that they were considering it to be nearly production-ready, pending business sign-off. I've been tweaking it for the course of the week, but had been considering it near complete before I got an email last night.

Our managing director had seen the report, and chastised me (passive-aggressively and indirectly, of course) for not following the proper company style guide for creating reports in this new system.

Today I have been chasing after the style guide. I finally managed to coax its location out of one of the analysts in the other group, and discovered that neither she nor I have access to it since we're not developers in that group. Actually, all of my dealings with that group have - with the exception of some folks with whom I have worked for some time - been an exercise in stonewalling to the point of near hostility. They seem to think that I have a lot of gall for doing work that they refused to take on.

My contact in their group is going to see what she can to about getting us access to the style guides, or at least get copies of them sent to us. For now, it is late enough in the week that I no longer care one way or the other, but next week I am going to have to start shaking some cages and escalating things. I really don't understand what's going on in our IT department.

Though the words "empire building" come to mind.
Tags: work
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