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A new forum!

 
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Honored Contributor

A new forum!

I would be very interested to gain the insights of others who have worthwhile opinions as to keeping the business running, how to deal with new HW and/or SW, the relationships with the managers, etc...
19 REPLIES 19
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Acclaimed Contributor

Re: A new forum!


Rick:

This could be interesting!

One of the things we do at my site is have standing, weekly "change-management" sessions. There are short (15-20) minute meetings where management, system and network administrators, hospital clinical coordinators, etc. get together and review SCHEDULED downtime events for software/hardware upgrades. Any system (NT, UNIX, MAINFRAME or Network hardware) that is going to have maintenance performed is briefly analyzed for impact to the end-user. The goal is to make sure that the user is aware (via an Intranet bulletin board) of the time, duration, and consequence of the scheduled action.

We post notices on our Intranet a week in advance unless, of course, we are responding to an emergency need. We also use email groups to disseminate reminders of events that have broad impact.

The knowledge of what the group at large is planning helps eliminate collisions or schedule over-loading.

...JRF...
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Honored Contributor

Re: A new forum!

I don't know that this is what your looking for.....but the best tool I try hard to use; and truly appreciate others using is:

'...being open and flexible...being willing to take off our visors and see things from others view....being open to the concept, that just because your the 'lead project person' others may have a better approach...being strong enough to ask others what they think...smart enough to listen, humble enough to change.....'
When you get a group of folks who are willing to apply these...you can get the job done and done well...

And unforturnately, these things really just can't be 'taught' in an 8 hour or 5 day psycho-administrative seminar. They are either part of what you already are....or become part of you through time and learning....

Just a thought ..
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Honored Contributor

Re: A new forum!

I like what I am hearing.

I too participate in Change Control. Find it most useful for the communication of upcoming upgrades, services, etc. to the company employees so nobody is blind-sided. Unfortunately, there always seem to be a couple of employees who didn't get the message. This goes for the whole infrastructure. UNIX, NT, networks, phone, A/C, security, etc... The pros and cons are weighed from each group companywide. If there is an objection, every attempt is made to accomendate, to a degree. (Any ideas or thoughts on this)

The personal attributes of the individual (and individuals) is very important. Being able to share info you may have discovered is as important as discovery of the info. I believe this is why this forum is so good as well. Got to admit, how many different ways can you copy a file.

I'll have to say that a peeve I have is the managers wanting to make the decisions without consulting the front line grunts. The vendor sales come in, only talk to the manager, and then the manager wants this done yesterday. No concern as to how it integrates with your present environment, no concern as to how many nights it might take to integrate, no concern to how many people (employees and clients) will be affected, for better or worse. I know they have the authority and I don't question it, but when you have worked with a manager is staunchly anti-UNIX, it does make it tough. Kinda like the attitude is "Windoze rules the world". I just gotta laugh and be sick at the same time. Yes, windoze is the choice for the desktop, but no, windoze is not the best thing out there. No matter how much in stats or testimonials you provide, just cannot get through to people like that. (Or am I taking the wrong approach?)

I find that those times you have an environment that is stable, mill around, meet people in other areas, let them know who you are and what you do. When something does happen, those people know who to contact and that something is being done. In the beginning, time is not primary issue because the people know the problem is being worked on. And of course, time is an issue because you want to get the people happy again. One thing about this job is nobody really knows who you are until something goes wrong. Let them know who you are when things are running fine as well.

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Honored Contributor

Re: A new forum!

Ah, Mr. Garland..haven't we all been there.
As UNIX Admin I have learned to switch roles between the 'invisible Administrator' who is not required for this decision....to the person who's office they run to when it's not working. It's amazing how fast invisibility fades.....
And like you I am rarely (virtually never..) included in the meetings where those decisions were made and developers and vendors have run amok with brilliant ideas on the course the project needs to go.......It makes me keep asking the same old question....did you read the project? are we talking about the same project?
And of course, the reason nothing is working is that the box has a problem, so it must be my problem to fix. (Ahhhhh....job security....)
....and occassionally I have hit the gender issue.......Bad enough for a young guy to be told by a (dare I say it...) woman that they may be off base with their logic and approach.......but an old woman...what could I know being that I'm from a dead DP era. You know windoze rules type...they actually believe Bill G. wrote the original code for that stuff...Yeah right kid !!
I have learned (and my mgrs...) that fast talk and dazzle may be good to look at; but it's the person who keeps their cool...and get's it fixed that wins in the end !!
One thing I have learned...I had better know my job; and I better know their job (or at least enough to figure out what they did...) too.

And never....never....never let 'em see ya sweat !!
Cool....rules !
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Respected Contributor

Re: A new forum!

Change Control !! Arghh!!

Change Control is a good thing, as Rick pointed out.

It can also get of control. (my opinion)
I currently have to go thru 3 change control review boards before making any changes that affect greater than 5 users. Yep, 3 boards (2 local, 1 sector)!
Thats a whole week of meetings for a single change!

/end rant

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Honored Contributor

Re: A new forum!

 
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Acclaimed Contributor

Re: A new forum!

Rick, et al. :

OK, more philosophy!

Rita is so right when see says that as hard as it can be, other people doing other jobs sometimes have the clearest vision. One of the evolving "problems" we have faced in the very diverse group that gathers at our Change Management is EGO and POWER. It's frustrating to be charged with the technical responsiblity for "keeping-and-making-it-right", but be constrained to scheduled downtimes once a week for 2-hours at 2AM. Negotiation, communication, quid pro quo -- these all come into play. I keep telling myself that if it weren't for those users...well, you know the litany...

We used to take a server down and say "Sorry, we'll be back in a few minutes. This is an emergency". I long for those times, during the lonely nights and mornings when I have dates with my servers in lieu of my family and my bed.

Tim's so right, too. The politics and power dynamics in a Change Management group can get totally out-of-hand and nothing ever happens. Fortunately, in my organization the overridding desire to keep implementing has kept this kind of stagnation and deadlock from occuring.

I ageee too, with Tim that that "ace-in-the-hole" -- that extra disk space that you didn't quite report, saves the day sometimes.

Like Tim, I lean toward the view that security is at least partly a defense against stupid mistakes. I like Anthony deRito's forum quote: "Backups are worthless...restores are priceless".

Ah, security. We need it to protect ourselves from our own mistakes. "We have seen the enemy, and it is us". We need to protect ourselves from the crackers. We need to let our users/clients/customers sleep at night knowing that their medical records are safe from the prying eyes of their neighbors, the newspapers. Yet, as administrators and developers, we may need access to verify and to debug.

As as medical organization we will be REQUIRED to follow federal HIPA (Hospital Information Privacy Act) guidelines within about 2-years. Essentially we will have to have audit trails for every access. As a patient you will be able to demand to know WHO, WHEN, and WHY someone accessed your medical data. Scary for us? Yes. Do you and I want it? Yes, when we put on our "user" hat and become the consumer, the client, the user, the patient. It's going to make our jobs more difficult. Ah, security, that awful thing that isn't going to go away or get easier.

With warm regards to everyone, Jim.

...JRF...
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Honored Contributor

Re: A new forum!

Jim, I saw your note about HIPA (Hospital Information Privacy Act) and my head is still spinning. I'm not sure I want this. The cost of hospital care just went up significantly. And I thought the NY State Insurance Commission has bad. Productivity has just taken a big hit for everyone involved. Systems will probably double to handle the data entry volume alone. My guess is that it will force the issue of full online medical records too (not necessarily a bad thing until you consider the cost of accelerated deployment). I'm quite sure that this will spread shortly to the insurance and clinical side of things as well. Bet you the application software vendors are more than a little pleased though. I can see it now... the visiting nurse brings her laptop so she can record her notes and her explanation as to why she is accessing your medical record. I'm quite sure that paper and pen will never satisfy auditability requirements for when and where.
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Honored Contributor

Re: A new forum!

Hi Everyone For Change!

Most people find it very had to change, espercially change over in IT related functions and new fields. I my company, it was a difficult thing to get co-staff to participate in Year 2000 test runs and carry out live manual runs. Why I am saying this is that , people have to be enlightened and carried along in changes involving IT related procedures. I am really interested in this Business Related Issues of the Forum.
I always tell people, for any IT based industry to succeed, you must involve System/Network Administrators to sound their opinions on Business Recovery Strategies.
I found this site interesting in its coverage of BRP.
http://www.ctrcorp.com
When We Seek To Discover The Best In Others, We Somehow Bring Out The Best In Ourselves.