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Doing What It Takes To Get The Job Done Expand / Collapse
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Posted Monday, April 14, 2014 8:14 PM
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Doing What It Takes To Get The Job Done

Andy
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Post #1561716
Posted Monday, April 14, 2014 9:30 PM


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It's a funny thing. I've learned to hate the phrase for many reasons. That's a real shame because it used to be about good people.

It's kind of like the terms "hacker" and "geek". It used to be that "hacker" described someone incredibly competent in their trade and no one wanted to be a "geek" (by definition, a circus performer that bit the heads off of chickens and snakes to entertain the audience). Now, "hacker" is a thief trying to break into your system and "geek" means what hacker used to. Go figure.

Here's why I've come to hate the phrase "Doing what it takes to get the job done".

Managers that couldn't plan the construction of a cup of coffee frequently promise a completion date without knowing anything about what the project will actually require. They also don't build in the time to handle unexpected problems/delays or the infamous "gotta-havit" missing requirement. As the unreasonable deadline approaches, these same managers think that saying things like "I need you to do what it takes to get the job done {on time}" is somehow motivating during many sequential all-night death marches.

The other thing that I've seen people use the term for is an excuse to write absolute crap code. When you challenge them on it (the crapiness of the code), they say "Hey! I'm doing what it takes to get the job done" meaning that they're just as big an idiot in taking shortcuts as the manager was that poorly planned the project to begin with. This same "developer" will be heaped upon with praise and kudos for "getting the job done {on time}" and be conspicuously absent when the crap hits the proverbial fan because the code wasn't scalable or had a logical flaw in it because they were in too much of a hurry to do adequate, planned out testing. Of course, the rework will take 16 times longer because everyone was in such a hurry that they didn't comment the code so the next guy could easily understand it.

Going back to the original use of the term, I absolutely agree that there are certain individuals that make a commitment and, even if they screwed up on the estimate, will go the extra mile not only to meet the self-imposed deadline, but to do it right. In that sense of the phrase, I say well done to anyone that lives up to it. It takes real dedication.

Heh... and that reminds me... do you know what the difference between being "loyal" and being "dedicated" to a company is? You have to think "ham'n'eggs"... the chicken was "loyal"... the pig was "dedicated".


--Jeff Moden
"RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for "Row-By-Agonizing-Row".

First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column."

(play on words) "Just because you CAN do something in T-SQL, doesn't mean you SHOULDN'T." --22 Aug 2013

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Post #1561730
Posted Tuesday, April 15, 2014 12:33 AM
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There's two parts here, one's a rant on GTJD, and the other is about the article itself.

1) Years ago I used GTJD in reference to taking on extra projects that interested me. I worked on helpdesk but dipped into development to identify bugs, later to take over abandoned projects, finally leading to SQL Server... 6 years later here I am!

One day I crossed the path of a manager for whom GTJD was their life motto; they even did presentations on it! But it only applied to employees (I'd like to remind any managers right now they are also employees), and was seen as a solution to the knowledge drain problem. Key staff have been quitting for years and left nothing behind? Well SQL Server Cody should be able to take over general ledger reconciliations for our customers; "I don't know how because it requires specialist accounting knowledge" was not an acceptable response; just GTJD! Things rapidly deteriorated from there.

Now I avoid using that phrase and instead talk about what's important to me. I'm 34yo, I've been from building PCs to corporate sales to help desk to programming and now I've settled on SQL Sever. I know right from wrong, don't need to be micromanaged, and if I'm hired and left to self direct then I have an excellent track record of providing more value than they can imagine. End of story

2) But GTJD in this article's context means something different: it's about an employee deciding to work back late for free because they had overrun an estimate and feared the repercussions.

I'm strictly against this. For one, estimate has a pretty definitive meaning and I'd suggest the people involved look it up; nobody in their right mind should expect and enforce an estimate to match reality, let alone from an employee. A contractor may have to meet a quotation but that is a far cry from an estimate, with significant wiggle room, limitations, and penalties.

Does the project have an important deadline? Then great, work back and be paid for it or get time in lieu.

What's more telling about the whole situation is that this employee is primarily fear-motivated. That's going to generate some excellent professional work results, dedication and longevity in the company.
Post #1561753
Posted Tuesday, April 15, 2014 1:10 AM


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This is one of those phrases that has its original meaning subverted. Another is "We are where we are" which has gone from meaning "we cannot change the past so lets change the present" to "we cannot change anything so lets continue with the shoddy practices". It is these perversions that change the whole culture of a work environment.

To me they also tend to show weakness and coercion towards poor practices.


Gaz

-- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!
Post #1561762
Posted Tuesday, April 15, 2014 2:59 AM


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Good comments from all there.

GTJD is indeed an essential facet of IT but I agree it is beginning to be associated with poor quality blusterers who brag about their number of hours. Happily it's not a thing for me nowadays though where it is actually needed for a proper reason I'll put the work in - at my discretion and with pleasure. What I won't do is slog for an arbitrary unobtainable deadline - I've had too many times where I've done that to be met by - cool, we'll look at this later, or whatever.
Post #1561782
Posted Tuesday, April 15, 2014 7:39 AM


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I'm glad to hear that your nephew is the type who stays after hours to get the job done. He'll go far. Just think how useless a surgeon, attorney, or fire fighter would be if they didn't do the same. It doesn't matter how smart and talented someone is, if they can't or won't step up when needed and hang in there for the long haul, then they can just as well step down.
Post #1561872
Posted Tuesday, April 15, 2014 8:22 AM


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Eric M Russell (4/15/2014)
I'm glad to hear that your nephew is the type who stays after hours to get the job done. He'll go far. Just think how useless a surgeon, attorney, or fire fighter would be if they didn't do the same. It doesn't matter how smart and talented someone is, if they can't or won't step up when needed and hang in there for the long haul, then they can just as well step down.


I totally agree. It also should be the same for live issues on important systems.

...just not on too regular a basis for meeting arbitrary deadlines.


Gaz

-- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!
Post #1561897
Posted Tuesday, April 15, 2014 8:29 AM
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Cody, I didn't write it (deliberately) but it wasn't a matter at all of fearing repurcussions. Proving something maybe, but that was it.

Andy
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Post #1561904
Posted Tuesday, April 15, 2014 8:37 AM
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Jeff, I think all too often phrases turn toxic and that is a shame. It doesn't have to be that way, but certainly there is a tendency to use them to justify or support excessive behavior of some kind. We need those phrases though, they do help us explain people and define culture, but I wonder if we don't need more phrases we use to define ourselves. I worked with a group a while back that had as part of their culture the phrase 'count on me' to define personal accountability and I thought it was really effective because it was a 'me' based phrase. Don't say it if you don't mean it, and a manager couldn't easily turn it into 'count on you' or some other hacked phrase.

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Post #1561909
Posted Tuesday, April 15, 2014 8:38 AM
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I like the comment about arbitrary deadlines. I agree, yet it's not a simple topic, something I'll have to write more on soon!

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Post #1561913
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