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BOFH: Your Job number is...

...273108B for Bravo

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Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

Episode 8 So the helpdesk lot are being a complete pack of annoying bastards and it's starting to get on my tits. The supervisor's doing this monster push on gathering statistics to make his group seem like the heart and soul of the department in a transparent attempt to get more money for his role.

Ordinarily, I quite like the Helpdesk people in a benevolent (as opposed to malevolent) way as they do some valuable work in preventing us being inundated by every halfwit who can work a phone.

HOWEVER...

In the past week the supervisor has had them logging calls for every simple call that comes their way and injecting these calls into our queue for processing. Even my automated process for resolving calls has failed due to the number and frequency of crap coming my way.

"It's nothing personal," the Helpdesk supervisor assures me when I bring it up. "It's just we're starting to use the software more fully and in the process we realise that we can use the statistics it produces to judge the impact on the company!"

"How so?" I ask, realising that this might be a foolish question with a long and tedious answer.

"Well, take the email outage the other day."

"What email outage?"

"When people said that their mail wasn't working?"

"You mean when we'd published an outage notification for 15 minutes so we could swap in a new MX handler?"

"Yeah, I don't know, it might have been that. But anyway, that outage affected 63 people resulting in 61 logged calls and from that we were able to work out that the company actually lost around 15 hours of peoples' time."

"Not to mention the amount of time your helpdesk people spent logging those calls."

"True, I forgot to add that in."

"And don't forget to add in the time that myself and my assistant wasted resolving all those calls with the text: 'This was a notified shutdown which couldn't be avoided'."

"Oh, yes, I should add that as well."

"So, what you should do is take the 15 hours of time for people who can't read an outage notification and call that number A..."

"Yes."

"And take the time wasted by both your team and my team in logging the fact that they can't read and call it number B."

"Yes."

"And stick them where the sun doesn't shine."

"The company needs to know this sort of thing!" The Boss says, walking in.

"Yes, they do. They need to know that the impact of not reading a well publicised outage notification cost the company A times the average salary and that the Helldesk staff not telling people to sod off cost the company B times the above average salary."

"I..." The Helldesk supervisor burbles.

"Which, if you take into account that the majority of time A would have been spent talking to your people, means that you and your people are a liability of A+B x the average salary. For a 15 minute outage."

"Someone needs to record the stats," the Boss sighs. "It's important!"

"Ok, you've convinced me, I'll say no more about it."

. . The next day . .

"Excellent day isn't it?" the Boss blurts, entering Mission Control on a natural high.

"Your Job number is..... >clickety< 273108B for Bravo," I say.

"What?"

"Your job number for getting my opinion of the day, it's 273108B. I'll add the 'what?' question as a sub job of this job. I'll get someone to get back to you with an opinion of the day within 15 minutes."

"Is this some sort of joke?"

"Joke.... Joke..." the PFY says thoughtfully. "I think we have something about Joke in our knowledge base." >clickety< "Yes, here it is Jon 183977C. Ends with 'Don't call me wooden eye'. Was that what you were asking about?"

"No."

"Ok, so this is a new job. >Clickety< Number 273108A for Alpha... >clickety< Is... this >click< some kind >clickety< of joke? I'll have someone get back to you tomorrow."

"What's going on?"

"I'll take this one," I say to the PFY. "Job 273109B - What operating system are you running?"

"What's that got to do with it?"

"My query there I think!" the PFY says. >clickety< "Job 273109A... And what was your username and password..."

"Look, would you stop this crap and just tell me what's going on?!"

"That question is a subjob of 109A I think," the PFY says, "and...."

>RING<

"...and I'll have to take this call. >clickety<.... . .... Yes, sure. Your job number is 273110A... Who.. am.. I >clickety< talking to? I'll have someone get back to you on that one inside a quarter hour. Another question? I'm sorry, you'll have to ring back if you want to log another call..."

"Can't it be logged as a subjob?" I ask. "We wouldn't want to mix up the stats!"

. . .

Isn't it funny how quickly a policy can be reversed once upper management have time to think about it?

But for now we'll log that as Job 273110B... ®

BOFH is copyright © 1995-2005, Simon Travaglia. Don't mess with his rights.

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

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