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No Longer Just A Training Exercise

July 18, 2019

I’m really busy this week. There are two full weeks crammed into one week. We are doing a major software migration. It’s taking 12 hour days. I’ve walked miles and miles everyday. I don’t even count steps and I’m way over my step goal.

We are also doing a security audit. Even though we run our business on a daily basis as if we are being audited everyday, there’s still plenty of work that goes into the audit. We have pre-audit meetings. Pre-audit walkthroughs. The audit itself is about 10 hours of nonstop exercises and interviews.

Oh, and all day Monday I had a system outage. It was one of the worst we’ve ever had. I spent 12 hours on multiple phone bridges. Often two at the same time. Even though we have Incident Managers responsible for managing the troubleshooting, I need to be on the call as well.

When we have an outage I need to send a report to our client. It has to be to them in 48 hours. I don’t generally have to write it. Oh, I give input. But, we have a team and a lead who write the report. And it has to be to the client within 48 hours. . .and the outage was on Monday. . .but it was a really big outage

So, on Tuesday I got an email from the client asking for more details on the outage. Because it was a large outage, it’s not surprising they wanted more information and they wanted it within 24 hours. But, I was really busy. So, I pushed back. I explained that I’d get to the email as soon as I could, but I was really busy.

Not surprisingly the client escalated. This isn’t a bad thing. And it’s not an unexpected thing. Unfortunately, no one else could answer the client questions. I don’t say arrogantly. Seriously, I am the only one who understand all the aspects of the outage and how it impacted the client.

But, they escalated. They really wanted an answer. The escalation bounced through a VP, bounced up to a Senior VP, got assigned and then got assigned to a different VP. He didn’t have any of the details. Naturally he needed that information.

Guess who he decided to ask?

Yep. He went to the only person who actually had all the details of the outage.

Rodney, I’m trying to set some details for the outage on Monday. Can you help answer the questions below?

And down below in the email was the exact email that I’d been sent a few hours earlier.

I could push back on the client. I was less sure about pushing back on a senior VP. I guess I really do have time to do this. Sure, I could just send email back to the VP. But, in that case I might as well simply do the work myself.

This was no longer just a training exercise. (Imagine it spoken by James Earl Jones in The Hunt For Red October.)

Sometimes, trying to escalate an issue doesn’t actually help. Or, maybe it did. They got their questions answered within 24 hours.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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