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You Are a Professional, So Speak Up Expand / Collapse
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Posted Wednesday, July 30, 2008 9:29 PM
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item You Are a Professional, So Speak Up


Stacey W. A. Gregerson
Post #544041
Posted Wednesday, July 30, 2008 11:29 PM
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I see some ambiguous points, What have they done in the last 2 months!
At first, I recommend a very fast comprehensive review of their circumstances, checking the ability of remote administration, looking for some free remote DBAs if there is no one in the pocket (even in other countries).
and manage the issue.
But considering:
What is the "problem", is that "database administration" and lack of a DBA, or just passing the "Audit".
In second case, the solution totally changes, and you can focus on some smart aspects.

Remember the main things that should be considered very seriously is time and budget for this project.
Post #544066
Posted Thursday, July 31, 2008 12:27 AM


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That is a difficult one.

First thing I would ask is "What Government agency?" I'm not in the US, so obviously cant really do a proper comparison, but if they were getting checked over by the tax department then that alters the priorities of things.

The next thing I would do is ask for some contact details so that I could contact the people in the offices for extra info if possible, at the same time it would probably be a good idea to find out what the political/emotional atmosphere is like. You dont want to walk in and start telling the newly aquired staff what to do, probably wouldn't go down too well.

Then comes the more formal stuff of finding out what these databases do, what interfaces use them, who has access, do they need access and so on.
To be honest, the audit of these systems (to me) comes last after you start building the bridges with the overworked staff, if they arent co-operative then you don't stand a chance of getting things sorted.

Probably many other things I could write for this, hell, this is an entire thesis case study, but I have work to do :)
Post #544085
Posted Thursday, July 31, 2008 1:13 AM
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Hi there,

we had a similar situation a few years back when we acquired company XYZ567. I was not greatly involved in the planning, but gave my suggestions to the planners.

I would suggest an internal audit of the systems. What do the systems do, what are they (MSSQL, MySql,Oracle). If the last DBA quit 2 months ago, then I would also immediately check that "simple" things are still working (backups come to mind). Also quite important: who has access to what - such takeovers can be a trigger for corporate espionage / "accidental" data loss etc.

Our takeover went relatively smoothly, an important factor was that we basically went with a group from our team and did the big audit/system integration directly at their offices. It helps a great deal if you work directly with the people on the other side. They need to see you are not an evil corporation taking over their world, the human touch is important here.

One important thing mentioned by David B was the possibility of alienation of the newly acquired colleagues. This is often a difficult problem, company takeovers generally involve layoffs and these layoffs are normally targeted at the company that was taken over. The new colleagues will most likely be worrying that their job is now in danger and this does not help them help you! So it is walking on eggshells time!

It's quite a fun thing to do, you can look at a complete system that has run for some time but was built with a whole different view of the world. You may find some interesting implementations that could be useful elsewhere, but you may also find some scary implementations that need to be looked asap.

My 2 Cents.

GermanDBA



Regards,

WilliamD
Post #544105
Posted Thursday, July 31, 2008 3:03 AM
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I totally agree with you, but I qualify my agreement with a measure of the team I'm on, in terms of maturity. Some people, I have learned the hard way, view an attack on their argument as an attack on them or their character.

As a philosophy major, I learned early that one must distinguish the two types of attack. You can attack my argument and still love me. You can attack me personally, while respecting my argument. These attacks are unrelated.

I am not one who pipes down in the face of illogical arguments. On the other hand, I am not one that pretends knowledge where I don't have it. I am unafraid to say, "I don't understand what you mean by X." I think that this goes both ways. My ability to admit ignorance establishes a credibility ground, so to speak, and so if and when I shoot holes in your construct then you understand that it's the argument I'm attacking and not the peron who launched it.

Arthur


Arthur Fuller
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Only two businesses refer to their clients as users: drug-dealing and software development.
-- Arthur Fuller
Post #544185
Posted Thursday, July 31, 2008 3:08 AM
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fuller.artful (7/31/2008)
I totally agree with you, but I qualify my agreement with a measure of the team I'm on, in terms of maturity. Some people, I have learned the hard way, view an attack on their argument as an attack on them or their character.

As a philosophy major, I learned early that one must distinguish the two types of attack. You can attack my argument and still love me. You can attack me personally, while respecting my argument. These attacks are unrelated.

I am not one who pipes down in the face of illogical arguments. On the other hand, I am not one that pretends knowledge where I don't have it. I am unafraid to say, "I don't understand what you mean by X." I think that this goes both ways. My ability to admit ignorance establishes a credibility ground, so to speak, and so if and when I shoot holes in your construct then you understand that it's the argument I'm attacking and not the peron who launched it.

Arthur


I'm sorry, but did this post land in the wrong place? It seems totally out of context to what is going on here. It reminds me of a regular poster (amanfrommars) on theregister.co.uk.



Regards,

WilliamD
Post #544189
Posted Thursday, July 31, 2008 5:03 AM
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Sometimes in meetings when people are asked for input and there's a silence it can be for different reasons.

a) Some didn't understand the question.
b) Some don't want to contribute as they couldn't care about solving the problem.
c) Some understand the question alright but don't want to show their lack of knowledge.
d) Some understand the question but are too political to speak up and contrbute openly.
e) Some are too shy to speak up in public.
f) Some are too intimidated (overawed) by peers/management to speak up.

Same result - a very quiet meeting with no feedback/replies - but for 6 widely different reasons. And yet I've found that most times the questioner will not recognise these different root causes and will treat a "no reply" scenario as a positive acknowledgement or acceptance of something that really wasn't agreed. People who speak up will always be in the minority and will be remembered - but sometimes not for the right reasons.



Post #544269
Posted Thursday, July 31, 2008 5:35 AM
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My response to the VP would have been (mind you I have had a few more minutes to think about this than you did), "We'll have to conduct an audit of our own, see what needs to be fixed. Can I meet with you after this meeting to find out who I'll need to work with when I get there?". I think a couple of days in the new company's office, taking their IT folks out to lunch/dinner/beer would buy a lot of goodwill and make sure you get a feel for how everything is put together when you start working on this project remotely.
Post #544292
Posted Thursday, July 31, 2008 5:48 AM


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Having been in this sort of situation and having had it thrust upon me, my approach would have been to step back and analyze what's necessary - inventory and document what in place, etc, and to understand what's needed for the audit, then plan on how to bring stuff into compliance. Seems straightforward, but the "how" part can be a bit tricky.
Post #544296
Posted Thursday, July 31, 2008 6:14 AM


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Although I didnt intend it, I have spent my exec management career as something of a "digital janitor", cleaning up messes that is, and I can tell you point blank that of the replies posted thus far, I was surprised to find that only Ian Massi hit the nail on the head. Ian, you have executive management potential!

What did Ian hit that others missed? People! Businesses are made up of people, not just machines and software, and you dont solve problems by doing "this plan or that plan" if you dont have the people all moving in the same direction.

As Ian pointed out, you meet with the staff and find out what the problem is in the trenches. THEN you formulate a plan around that information. Why? Because NO plan you formulate matters one wick if the folks who have to implement it are not inspired and driven to do so.

With a DBA quitting, and things amiss before an important compliance activity, clealry this is a company with staff problems. Solve those, inspire, motivate, and then formulate your plan to bring things back in line.









There's no such thing as dumb questions, only poorly thought-out answers...
Post #544312
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