Return of the users from hell!

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  • Excellent article! You must have a lot of experience in IT field.


  • Yet again, I think I've either met most of these or almost certainly will in the future.

    My particular favourite: the accountant. As a Management Accountant my training goes way beyond accountancy and I understand value and other concepts past "cost".  Sadly, I have to work with traditional accountants more than you will ever have to, most often to despair!

    My current organisation is pretty good, probably being an IT company (and my boss is also from a management accounting background) but where I worked last, everything was about cost!  DO NOT order notebooks - use scrap paper stapled together; DO NOT damage your bin liner - they cost too much over several hundred bins; POST-IT notes are banned!  Seriously... sometimes I was amazed we got free coffee. 


  • Its when they tell you to cut up old Christmas cards to save on toilet paper that you have to worry.

    My eyes still water when I see a card with glitter on it.

  • This article does not sound like "users" to me. They more sound like ex-managers of the author. Two totally different sets of people. "Managers from Hell" is a more appropriate title. But even so, I wonder how much of these supposed "stereotypes" are just the rantings of a disgruntled employee? I am not saying that these type of people do not exist in IT field. They exist in "all" types of fields, not just the IT field. Like my father used to say "You can either analyze life, or just live it and deal with it." People will be people, and you can't change what you can't control. So, don't let this kind of "stuff" rent too much space in your head.


  • Lol. Being a colleague of Dave's and not overly concerned that I am 'too many' of these people I do see where he's coming from.

    In terms of disgruntled employee I think more a caring person that merely forewarns others of what one might expect.

    Better fore-armed with a than thinking "Better keep this stuff to myself - perhaps these are normal people" and get that feeling ...

    That said, I hope you enjoy your role as a project manager though the "can't change what you can't control" exists in the land of science and not really this thing we call "people"

    M Saunders

    Web/DB Developer

  • Never occurred to me that these were (mis)managers. 

    Would you say that Dilbert was the rantings of a disgruntled employee?

    Any similarities between persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

  •  "You can either analyze life, or just live it and deal with it." - This is god-awful defeatism.  Unfortunately those managers/users personality traits being observed by the author are a real problem in the current IT world, symptomatic of lack of experience in a still relatively young industry with fast-changing standards and norms that have yet to be properly formalised or integrated into other social institutions. This is why you see these sorts of people much more often in and around the IT departments of non-IT corporates, compared to  smaller software vendors dedicated to the field. The IT industry is evolving and hopefully improving, thanks to the comments and observations of well-balanced critics such as the author.

  • Been there seen that.

    I enjoy you articles. Keep up the good work

    John Linville

  • I thought of Dave's article as really a set of parables to learn from, and I did learn from them. I saw myself in a few of the characterizations, to some degree. Not overmuch, I hope, but a little and that is enough for me to do some self examination. Just knowing that someone could call these behaviors "from hell" is enough to cause one to feel put on notice that the world is watching! Someone once wrote that the unexamined life is not worth living. (Dang, I hate when others quote without giving the source, so I just bit the bullet and Googled it to learn it was Socrates...whoever he is *wink*.)

    Is Dave using some Hyperbole? Sure. But hyperbole has its place so we can look at extremes and (1) decide we do *not* want to be heading in that direction and (2) laugh at it a bit (when in reality we want to cry when we have to deal with some of these types of personalities and work styles) and (3) don't have to feel *quite* so hopeless when we see a few of these same behaviors in ourselves. Cuz hey, "at least I ain't as bad as *all that*".

    I think the article was well written. I partially agree with the respondent who said "don't let this stuff rent too much space in your head" because it is often detrimental to make up our minds about people and write them off as this type or that type. No one's forever stuck, not even Scrooge, remember? But I would give it a *little* room in your heads for sure because it is good to know how behaviors affect others. That annoying accountant probably sees himself (myself?  ) as a steward of the company and doing good by his coworkers... were he to find out he was being a p-i-t-a,  he might be willing to change -- if someone he trusts and who didn't judge him as "from hell" showed him a better way.

    And yes, Dave, I believe Scott Adams *was* a "disgruntled employee". He has said as much. He just went on to earn enough youk-know-what money to not have to stay one.

    First time poster -- do I get a prize for also being the longest?

  • I spent eight years on a project managed by an "accountant".  If offices were being shuffled and moved, every engineer, physicist, mathematician, and computer geek on the project came to work in jeans and shoved desks, chairs, PCs, and cable around.  We used to say, we're the world's most expensive moving company.  But to the "accountant", it was easier to steal our time away from the deliverables we were supposed to be working on, than to hire a couple of guys to come in and be done with it in a day.

    One type I haven't seen discussed yet are what I call the "Furies", after the hateful pseudo-deities of Greek mythology who chase the hapless protagonist forever with scourges.  These customers are not smart, and they are definitely not your friends.  Nothing you do for them is ever fast enough, or good enough.  Their conception of what you do is "point and click".  Since it's fast whenever they point and click to a mature application, it should only require that you point and click an entire database into existence, complete with everything they haven't thought of yet.  Some of us techie types are neurotic, in that we might tend to think if we don't understand a technology, it might be that it's over our heads.  The "Fury" doesn't have that problem.  A true "Fury" will assume that if she doesn't understand a technology, it is therefore simple.  And a "Fury" would rather be tied to fiery log and force-fed her own spleen than think through a list of requirements, put them on paper, and sign them.  That would just get in the way of months of recriminations, during which time you'll hear the following phrase many times:  "We changed that requirement -- I'm sure I sent you an email."

  • The most amusing thing about this article is being able to throw the respondents into one category or another based on their replies.

    I love this! Job well done. You got a smile from me.



    Rogue DBA

  • There are two types of respondents: those who categorize respondents, and those who don't.

  • Lee, if you are going to go into Greek Mythology then we could bring in the Harpies.

    Just as you are about to go home for you meal some shrieking bird comes in flapping around and by the time they have finished your meal is a congealled mess.

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