• Phyzz (unregistered)

    If only this manager was as bad at reversing himself as saving face as everything else they'd continue to use his process and tank the company in no time flat. Oh well.

  • Gsquared (cs)

    I'm probably speaking for the majority here: I would have quit a long time before ever being fired for that "meeting".

    Personally, I would have written a letter to senior management, with an "I doubt you care, but your Chief Development Manager is ... (details of the exact situation)". Don't send it via internal communication, and send it after I'd already resigned. If they ignore it, not my problem. If they pay attention, might help out some friends who can't afford to quit. But that's my style.

    The quitting, I think would be nearly universal. And when senior management asks the Chief Development Manager why he has zero employees in his area, he can try to lie his way out of that one too. His problem.

  • Apple (unregistered)

    I was in a very similar situation. In this case it was botched data center move. I my case I met with the Chief Development Manager's manager one on one. Eventually truth prevailed and it was the Chief Development Manager that got fired.

  • bumblebeeman (unregistered)

    Well, I was ROFL about the single excel spreadsheet, but the ending really is depressing. It doesn't seem like that wanker is going to get his comeupance anytime soon.

    Maybe if David had been buddies with one of the execs, he'd have been able to feed the exec the story as it was from the trenches as opposed to the twisted version from that wheeze bag. Ah well

  • Volmarias (cs) in reply to Gsquared
    Gsquared:
    I'm probably speaking for the majority here: I would have quit a long time before ever being fired for that "meeting".

    Personally, I would have written a letter to senior management, with an "I doubt you care, but your Chief Development Manager is ... (details of the exact situation)". Don't send it via internal communication, and send it after I'd already resigned. If they ignore it, not my problem. If they pay attention, might help out some friends who can't afford to quit. But that's my style.

    The quitting, I think would be nearly universal. And when senior management asks the Chief Development Manager why he has zero employees in his area, he can try to lie his way out of that one too. His problem.

    Thats right! You tell em! And when the bank is sending you a forclosure notice for your home because you couldn't find another job to pay the bills, well, at least you still have your dignity!

  • bstorer (cs) in reply to Volmarias
    Volmarias:
    Gsquared:
    I'm probably speaking for the majority here: I would have quit a long time before ever being fired for that "meeting".

    Personally, I would have written a letter to senior management, with an "I doubt you care, but your Chief Development Manager is ... (details of the exact situation)". Don't send it via internal communication, and send it after I'd already resigned. If they ignore it, not my problem. If they pay attention, might help out some friends who can't afford to quit. But that's my style.

    The quitting, I think would be nearly universal. And when senior management asks the Chief Development Manager why he has zero employees in his area, he can try to lie his way out of that one too. His problem.

    Thats right! You tell em! And when the bank is sending you a forclosure notice for your home because you couldn't find another job to pay the bills, well, at least you still have your dignity!

    Not when he's living on the streets and eating out of dumpsters. Seriously, though, the industry's starting to change to the point where too many short tenures with different companies is now a red flag, like in most other fields. Me, I'd just document everything: 11:00 Tues, 4/3/07: Tried to access the Excel file for checking in code. File in use. 11:07 Tues, 4/3/07: Tried to access the Excel file for checking in code. File in use. 11:15 Tues, 4/3/07: Tried to access the Excel file for checking in code. File in use. 11:20 Tues, 4/3/07: Tried to access the Excel file for checking in code. File in use. It's nice when you're job consists of simply double-clicking a file every few minutes. And you've got the evidence to back up what you were doing.

  • anonymous (unregistered)

    I guess I'm in the minority here, but I think it IS rude to be having a private conversation in the middle of a meeting. Drives me nuts when I'm in a meeting trying to hear the person who is speaking and there are 2-3 sub-conversations drowning it out. Also, as much of an a**hole as the CDM appears to have been, going over his head behind his back was just plain stupid (except maybe in a very small company...)

  • Anita Tinkle (unregistered)

    I really wish Alex would have given some hints as to which company where this little turd lives.

    I hate people like that (the know-it-all CDM). Would be helpful in the future so I can steer clear of ever running into that situation.

  • rocky5 (unregistered)

    I've been in similar situations. Your only choice is either to covertly go over the manager's head and talk to the higher ups directly, or obviously take off..

  • morry (cs)

    $5 says the company had an "open door" policy.

  • nobody (unregistered)

    What a great ending. I'm glad the fired developers found better jobs, but hey, I guess it couldn't get worse....

  • vt_mruhlin (cs)

    I thought our build process was bad. We recently promised a customer one build per week, and n bugs fixed per week. Of course this was easy at first because there were bugs like "Default timeout is set to 15 seconds, when it should be 10". But as the weeks progressed, the quota surprisingly got harder to meet.

  • Anita Tinkle (unregistered) in reply to Apple
    Apple:
    I was in a very similar situation. In this case it was botched data center move. I my case I met with the Chief Development Manager's manager one on one. Eventually truth prevailed and it was the Chief Development Manager that got fired.

    I had one company where the developers were treated like shit but the network/infrastructure guys were gods. The Infra department head used to be a mainframe console watcher... and moved from that role into one where he's managing millions of dollars worth of equipment.

    Naturally, I was going to butt heads with this guy over something. It turned out to be the most expensive piece of equipment he ever managed to get approved for a purchase order... a giant SAN the company bought from HP.

    It was huge... as in the size of a coat closet. But, it wasn't fast. And it was considered in the tech rags to be a "1.0" version of a SAN from HP, that would be best left to experimentation than to be used in a real production environment. And that was no joke.

    Of course, database timeouts are going to be a software problem.... but of course! Indexes? Check. Partitioning? Check. Still timeouts on a simple two table FK lookup? Hmm. Something is amiss.

    I was able to show a P4 with 1GB of ram and a cheap 5200RPM IDE drive was able to perform faster database queries than a box with a 6-way proc hooked up to the monster SAN.

    Oh no, said Mr. Infrastructure.

    So, I went back to the drawing board and tried to build more lookups, cache more data and write as much multi-threaded and database retry code as possible to get around Mr. Infrastructure.

    Clicking Save didn't just mean saving your data anymore. It meant kicking off a thread to call the save proc, if more than 3 seconds passed then a "Please hold.." dialog pops up... etc.

    It took about 2 years (and many system crashes due to timeouts) later before the company had its first layoff.

    Everyone knew the SAN was a huge mistake (and very costly), but no one could admit it while he was still working for the company. By some act of God (I still have no idea how)... he was gone.

    After he left, the SAN was "laid off" as well and a new blade-rack SAN was put into place.

    The company's employee productivity bumped up 20% in the next quarter after the new SAN was installed. There were THAT many people who were sitting around waiting for query results to be returned!

  • JS (unregistered)

    Truly a WTF for the ages, that guy sounds like an insufferable ass.

  • MX5Ringer (cs)

    And then Mr Chief Development Manager became a Director at the place I work.

    This has depressed me more than you can ever know, I genuinely belived I worked for the only one of these idiots but now it seems there are more of them out there!

    What a sad sad day for humanity.

    CAPTCHA:- I don't have a captcha anymore, and now I'd be to fed up to share it anyway.

  • Anonymous Coward (unregistered)

    AmDocs. The company in question is AmDocs.

  • Pineconius (cs) in reply to anonymous
    anonymous:
    I guess I'm in the minority here, but I think it IS rude to be having a private conversation in the middle of a meeting. Drives me nuts when I'm in a meeting trying to hear the person who is speaking and there are 2-3 sub-conversations drowning it out.

    I don't think that anybody questions this. Although a snide comment or two under your breath from time to time is good for morale. ;)

    anonymous:
    Also, as much of an a**hole as the CDM appears to have been, going over his head behind his back was just plain stupid (except maybe in a very small company...)

    And I ask, what else were they supposed to do? They couldn't go to him obviously. If you want to say the mistake was inviting him to the session, or making it a big group session instead of a one-on-one with the higher-ups, okay, but sometimes you have to go behind backs. When you have a problem with somebody, you talk to them first if you feel you can, but as the employees were obviously intimidated by the CDM, they had to go up the chain. At some larger companies, there are even established "dispute resolution" processes sometimes that pull in third party mediators, and get things documented so that there's little fear of retribution. I would actually think you'd be worse off at a smaller company b/c everybody knows everybody, and chances are greater that this CDM guy would have management's ear all the way up the chain. Then again, you might have management's ear, too, so maybe it is better. I'm not sure which.

    The point is, employees need to know that there is somebody in their company that a) can listen to their concerns and b) has enough power to get something done about them.

  • cowboy_k (cs) in reply to vt_mruhlin
    vt_mruhlin:
    I thought our build process was bad. We recently promised a customer one build per week, and n bugs fixed per week. Of course this was easy at first because there were bugs like "Default timeout is set to 15 seconds, when it should be 10". But as the weeks progressed, the quota surprisingly got harder to meet.

    So, has anyone started "accidentally" adding bugs to the system in order to make quota? Remember what Red Green says - "If it ain't broke, you're not trying hard enough."

  • snoofle (cs)

    Unfortunately, a-holes like that exist - in quantity - in every company of any significant size.

    Sadly, the only practical solution is to quietly seek, find and depart for another pasture.

    IMHO, while it's true that nobody wants to see a slew of short term positions on your resume, it's better to have to spend a few minutes explaining your job hopping as the results of cuts-in-funding than to have to live with that daily abuse.

  • snoofle (cs) in reply to cowboy_k
    cowboy_k:
    vt_mruhlin:
    I thought our build process was bad. We recently promised a customer one build per week, and n bugs fixed per week. Of course this was easy at first because there were bugs like "Default timeout is set to 15 seconds, when it should be 10". But as the weeks progressed, the quota surprisingly got harder to meet.

    So, has anyone started "accidentally" adding bugs to the system in order to make quota? Remember what Red Green says - "If it ain't broke, you're not trying hard enough."

    Per Wally from Dilbert: "I'm gonna write me a minivan"

  • Reverie (unregistered) in reply to Pineconius
    Pineconius:
    anonymous:
    I guess I'm in the minority here, but I think it IS rude to be having a private conversation in the middle of a meeting. Drives me nuts when I'm in a meeting trying to hear the person who is speaking and there are 2-3 sub-conversations drowning it out.

    I don't think that anybody questions this. Although a snide comment or two under your breath from time to time is good for morale. ;)

    anonymous:
    Also, as much of an a**hole as the CDM appears to have been, going over his head behind his back was just plain stupid (except maybe in a very small company...)

    And I ask, what else were they supposed to do? They couldn't go to him obviously. If you want to say the mistake was inviting him to the session, or making it a big group session instead of a one-on-one with the higher-ups, okay, but sometimes you have to go behind backs. When you have a problem with somebody, you talk to them first if you feel you can, but as the employees were obviously intimidated by the CDM, they had to go up the chain. At some larger companies, there are even established "dispute resolution" processes sometimes that pull in third party mediators, and get things documented so that there's little fear of retribution. I would actually think you'd be worse off at a smaller company b/c everybody knows everybody, and chances are greater that this CDM guy would have management's ear all the way up the chain. Then again, you might have management's ear, too, so maybe it is better. I'm not sure which.

    The point is, employees need to know that there is somebody in their company that a) can listen to their concerns and b) has enough power to get something done about them.

    They made two silly mistakes. The first was inviting the CDM to the meeting. The second was not letting the higher-ups know exactly what was going to happen before the meeting so that there would be no chance for the CDM to try to cover.

  • Mark W (unregistered) in reply to morry
    morry:
    $5 says the company had an "open door" policy.
    Definitely. It's much easier to kick someone out through an "open door".
  • Jonh Robo (unregistered)

    This reminds me of a project manager I once suffered under who refused to read any emails that I sent him.

    I would think that if he couldn't organize his inbox he couldn't actually organize the many projects we had to deal with.

    So, they promoted him to VP...

  • mare (unregistered)
    A week later, the Chief Development Manager approached David and each of the other developers from the Build Process meeting and apologized to them.
    Right. I almost spilt half a litter of water on my keyboard.
  • noehch (cs)

    Oh, God...

    This is horrifically remeniscient of a manager from a previous retail job. I got yelled at constantly for being within 20 feet of other employees; particularly when dealing with ladders and heavy items that required at least 2 people for "safety" reasons.

    When I'd try to explain, "deaf ears" became an understatement.

    (...ass boss...retail...I'm sure you can guess where...)

  • Sharkie (unregistered) in reply to Phyzz

    I don't quite understand the WTF in this one. Every large scale, commercial, enterprisey-like company I've worked for has always been run and managed by such a pompous ass.

    While I feel for the group that was lead out the door with such a stupid method of confronting such Business As Usual management, perhaps they learned that kind of approach never works. Alternatively, a career programmer knows the in's and out's on other ways to get what they need and work around management.

    I take it this WTF was from a group of Junior programmers or at least programmers fairly new to the industry. Corporate America DOES mean the success a company enjoys is most often solely from those condemned by their superiors and who work around those roadblocks and unnecessary difficulties of ignorance of the highly esteemed, respected managers that are as clueless as they are fearless. A real Corporate Manager's success is measured only in their ability to staff a group that is effective at bypassing their ignorance and making everything work smoothly despite him/herself.

  • Reid (unregistered) in reply to Anonymous Coward

    oh no, my resume went to AmDocs last week

  • Someday (unregistered)

    I had the unfortunate experience of working with/for the clone of the CDM discussed here. Over the years that I worked in the same company he was promoted from SW Engineer to Group Lead, to Engineering Manager, to Director and finally to VP.

    Although I parted ways with the company a few years after he had been a VP, I just recently heard that after making the rounds as VP over various groups at the company he was finally fired.

    Every once in a while these types get their just rewards.

  • LintMan (unregistered)

    The day the friend got walked out would be the day I started hunting for a new job. No way I'd stick around any longer than I'd need to after that. And in the meantime, I'd probably try to find a way to send an anonymous "whistleblower" type email or letter to the upper management, though likely it'd be ignored.

  • jonner (unregistered)

    What's up with all of the long-winded over-dramatized stories on here lately? There used to be interesting stuff posted here, now it takes a good 10 minutes to read though all of the boring embellishments to find the one or two interesting WTFs in a story. It's too bad really.

  • Anita Tinkle (unregistered) in reply to Reid
    Reid:
    oh no, my resume went to AmDocs last week

    Yeah, a screaming match over a design disagreement. But a stupid idiot who sets up a "process" around an MSOffice document?

    Clearly that person should not be handling or managing or directing technology. Everyone has had experience had having multiple users dealing with information stored in a flat file... which is why MSOffice documents are better as attachments, not as storage centers.

    Unfortunately, this sentiment is hard to convey to anyone who has never been a programmer (or an "Access Programmer" in their entire life).

    I would go ahead with the AmDocs interview... but if you find yourself near this CDM-guy, I would just walk out of the interview knowing that you'll be saving yourself a world of headaches down the road.

    Companies don't reimburse you for Aleve and Advil.

  • clevershark (cs) in reply to Sharkie
    Sharkie:
    I don't quite understand the WTF in this one.

    That may be the proverbial "real WTF"...

  • clevershark (cs) in reply to Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward:
    AmDocs. The company in question is AmDocs.

    That's funny... AmDocs has an office right above ours. I should keep my ear to the ground (or, more appropriately, ceiling).

  • Anita Tinkle (unregistered)

    Wikipedia says they are primarily based out of Israel... I know of a few companies in the PA/NJ/NYC area, most of them venture capital, who are "Jewish employment centers" [I never knew anything like this existed until I got closer and closer to NYC]. Apparently there is a lot of trade between Israeli companies and investors and also labor moving back and forth (like with India).

    My current company is like this. I must have heard every Jewish joke there is now [we like to stress that we're Non-Orthodox :)]

  • Sgt. Preston (unregistered) in reply to morry
    morry:
    $5 says the company had an "open door" policy.
    There's a safe bet. Ever heard of a company that didn't?
  • Demaestro (unregistered)
    Comment held for moderation.
  • Sgt. Preston (unregistered) in reply to jonner
    jonner:
    What's up with all of the long-winded over-dramatized stories on here lately? There used to be interesting stuff posted here, now it takes a good 10 minutes to read though all of the boring embellishments to find the one or two interesting WTFs in a story. It's too bad really.
    Keep up the good work, Alex. You tell a good tale.
  • Zylon (cs) in reply to jonner
    jonner:
    Words are hard.
    Fixed that for ya.
  • speaking of wtf's (unregistered)

    does this forum software suck or what???

  • speaking of wtf's (unregistered) in reply to speaking of wtf's
    speaking of wtf's:
    does this forum software suck or what???

    also I need some help, I'm trying to write some javascript to post the "forum software sucks" message automatically so I don't have to visit this place so often, but I don't know how to decode the captcha with javascript. any ideas?

  • Sgt. Preston (unregistered) in reply to speaking of wtf's
    speaking of wtf's:
    does this forum software suck or what???
    It's not so bad if you can catch it when the file is not in use.
  • JD (unregistered)

    Once I decided it was "fix the problem or quit" time I'd pick the executive that I thought had the most brains and do whatever the appropriate thing was to get a meeting with them. Email, through their secretary, whatever.

    Take some evidence, lay it out, make your best case and don't let the idiot know. Well, until your point is made and the idiot is being walked out the door. Then let him know.

  • Demaestro (unregistered) in reply to Reid

    Do us all a favor... go to the interview then bring up this guy and tell them you have heard about him and you can't in good conscience take the position based on "the word on the street"

    It may get them asking questions... I know i would wonder if someone walked in and knew damaging details of the management team...

  • Obi Wan (unregistered) in reply to snoofle
    Unfortunately, a-holes like that exist - in quantity - in every company of any significant size.

    Ok.

    Sadly, the only practical solution is to quietly seek, find and depart for another pasture.

    But...but...you just said "in every company..." WTF! :(

    IMHO, while it's true that nobody wants to see a slew of short term positions on your resume, it's better to have to spend a few minutes explaining your job hopping as the results of cuts-in-funding than to have to live with that daily abuse.

    Ah, redemption! :)

  • Coward (unregistered)

    Wow.. harsh. Sounds similar to a previous job I had that involved my being removed due to reporting a manager for sexual harassment of a female co-worker. Upper management believed every word that came out of this scumbag's mouth and ignored the proof that was shown of his harassment.

  • Anita Tinkle (unregistered) in reply to JD

    It's purely a game of office politics.

    You have an insufferable fool that is fucking things up for everyone. Bonuses might be at risk, but so would your job if you crossed the fool. What to do?

    You really have to look at how ingrained the fool is with the company. If he's only been there 2 years or less, then chances are he isn't THAT in bed with the top management, unless of course he was brought in by them.

    It comes down to whether or not you really like working there. If you do, then I would not complain. You are a peon with tasks assigned to you. If you can't do the task, then just let that person know. You don't have to be a cunt, just document what is blocking you and report it and move on. Don't put emotion into it.

    If you are already looking for another job because this foul soul is an asshat, then if you're already interviewing elsewhere/have-leads... DO make a stink. You might make lives better for everyone else who is left there.

    The #1 rule is to KEEP IT ON THE DOWN LOW. The manager in question should have no clue that you are running to senior management to complain about him/her, because it will raise their defenses and they will do nothing but whine/moan complain and assign blame. You don't want that outcome, so try this:

    Rule No. 1 - don't use email. do face to face 2 - don't meet with execs where the problem manager can be easily brought in to defend themselves, turning all your arguments around against YOU. 3 - bring a backup person. no need to involve the entire department. select someone who has same concerns as you, and has more seniority and more exposure to the company.

    Letting executives know about a problem manager... baby steps:

    1. Go over what you want to explain to the exec(s), what your primary complaints are, and your evaluation of the problem manager.

    2. Walk to exec's office, close door behind you. If you get blocked by the secretary, ask when he/she typically goes home, you'd like to catch him right before he leaves. It is not a matter you'd like to refer through email and it requires 1-on-1 attention. [Some secretaries blab and word gets back to the problem manager... sometimes fast enough to do what the original poster detailed so vividly... he got cockblocked]

    3. Ask if they have any time, preferably really late in the day (or early morning) to discuss a personal problem. Try to meet with the exec while the manager is not around or has already gone home... that way the exec won't be so inclined to phone the manager into the office and ruin your meeting.

    A lot of executives try to spot-fix personal problems by putting both people in the room. Avoid this approach!

    With you in the room alone with the exec, the exec is forced to listen to no one other than YOU. You don't want your meeting ruined and turned into a bickering match between you and the other middle-manager-with-a-title. Again, this only makes you look WORSE.

    If the executive attempts to bring the problem manager in right away, STOP THEM.

    This explanation usually works: "The reason why I came to you alone is because this person directly affects my employment and my image to you, and this isn't a situation that can't be resolved instantaneously in a 10-minute session in your office. It is a systemic problem that is impacting the whole department. Had I involved the both of us in this meeting, it would be a job-terminating move. I hope you can understand that."

    What you tell the executive can't stop you from being let go, but chances are your departure won't be going unnoticed. The little-middle-manager's actions in your hasty exit will be remembered if ever a personnel problem that comes up where the manager is the focus instead of subordinates.

    There are a lot of execs out there who really don't care about subordinates and their problems (they are just time wasters), so you could be talking to a brick wall when you close the door to that office.

    Should you get that feeling, then you need to just go ahead and make an exit and probably let your coworkers know what went down in the interim before you leave the firm. That might drop morale there even lower, but at least nobody will be working at Company X knowing that they have not even a modicum of management support.

  • Joshua (unregistered)

    Unfortunately we have someone like that in my organization as well. Fortunately, he doesn't have nearly that much power.

  • TimmyT (unregistered)

    I could never work in a place like that, I would be telling the CDM exactly what I thought of him, to his face, right in front of everyone and I wouldn't make it past the first day without getting fired. Maybe that's why I run my own development company and now I wield the Iron Fist! Ha ha ha don't you dare argue with me or I'll throw you down the well! Now I am the Chief Development Manager! Buuwaaaahahaaa...

    captcha: cognac - great for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner!

  • Scott B. (unregistered)
    meeting about the Build Process, invite execute management, and directly confront
    Hmm, Freudian Slip?
  • Anon (unregistered)

    There's an interesting thing I've noticed in many "bad place to work" stories with a similar "chief development manager".

    Even if everyone quits the actual problem will remain, and will hire a bunch of inexperienced guys who don't realise just how bad things actually are - and they'll go on to do the same thing, believing that it's just the way things are done.

    (And the entire story is unjustifable crap - no matter how "typical" it may be, it's a waste of shareholder's money to make 200 developers spend hours trying to update a shared spreadsheet when there's perfectly adequate tools available to perform the useful bits of the task efficiently. Any development manager that retarded isn't just screwing the workers - he's screwing the shareholders. But it's often ok, because "shareholder" isn't a synonym for "rocket scientist" and the guy who can talk his way out of shit will always beat the guy who's merely good at his job.)

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