That's what they call 'delegating'

Mainframe hardware pilot fish works in a big data center that's about to get bigger. "I have been asked for input on resources needed for the planned upgrade of all our mainframe equipment," fish reports. "We are two generations behind on technology, and the current hardware has proven unreliable."

The project lead keeps asking fish the same question: "How much will fiber-optic pathing cost for the upgrade?"

Unfortunately, that will depend on the question fish must ask in return: "How many ports does each new piece of equipment have?"

To which project lead's consistent response is: "Which model?"

Each model is different -- one may have four ports, another option may have 20 ports. And the fiber pathing cost will depend on the length and number of paths, along with any special equipment required in the middle, which can raise the cost dramatically.

Fish knows that. The project lead doesn't seem to get it. And the cost discussion gets nowhere fast.

That's not the only question that runs fish in circles. Every time he asks when the equipment will actually be installed, he gets a different response. That makes planning for the upgrade impossible.

But that one finally gets an answer: Once the office politicians have their way, the install date is set for the weekend a major disaster recovery exercise finishes.

Result: No system support resources will be available on the run-up to the installation -- and fish has one week for the installation planning.

"The total process requires six weeks of man-hours to accomplish," says fish. "I'm trying to line up cables, software and never-before-used-here technology in one week, with absolutely no help.

"The final outcome is that I have a new addition in my job title: 'Ex-.'

"The mainframe component was installed six weeks later -- by the three-and-a-half people that replaced me."

To Sharky, you're irreplaceable. So send me your true tale of IT life at, and you'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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