For example, here at the company I work for we have a small problem with too many people having a particular software package installed. We either need to buy more licenses to cover the extra installations or have people uninstall the program if they don’t really need it. Being that the former costs money we can’t really afford to spend right now, we’d prefer to go with the second option if at all possible. So the software guy constructs a short email to the employees that basically says all of this and asks folks that if they have this package installed, and aren’t actively using it, that they please uninstall it.
Since he sent it out this morning he’s gotten a number of responses from folks justifying their having the software. The email doesn’t ask folks to justify anything, just that if you’re not actively using it then please uninstall it. We did say that if not enough people uninstall then we’d have to go through and ask for a business justification, but that time hasn’t come yet. First we’re just looking for folks to voluntarily uninstall it if they don’t need it. Yet the justifications keep rolling in. You could chalk it up to paranoia that IT will yank a program you rely on to do your job if you don’t tell us immediately why you need it, but we’ve never done anything like that to our users so I’m not sure where that paranoia would come from.
I suppose it could be a side effect of email overload. I know many folks here get a lot more emails during the day then I do and it’s probably difficult to keep up with it all, but you’d think they’d put a little more focus on anything coming from the IT department due to the potential for it to be about something that could disrupt their day if they don’t plan for it. I know I’ve sent out bulletins about this or that in the past only to have people come up later and ask about it in a way that makes it clear they never even glanced at the bulletin.
Which is kind of funny when you consider that I always get nervous about writing up said bulletins. I hate having to do it because I’m terrible at speaking “Business-ese” so I put way more thought into it than I probably should because, as I said, very few people will bother to read it. My boss actually said that to me once: Don’t worry too much about it ’cause no one is going to read it. Which begs the question of why bother doing it. To which the answer is it’s a simple cover-your-ass thing to do.
So what we have is an exercise in communication which we have to do in spite of the fact that the few folks who do bother to look at it will only skim it at best and then either not do what needs to be done or do more than needs to be done depending on what phase the moon is in or recent sunspot activity or whatever the hell it is that drives such things. It’s the sort of thing that makes you pause and wonder if you’re not trapped in a sit-com and just don’t realize it.