A Return…Sort of

It’s been a while since I last wrote about The Company and Skinny Project. The Company removed some more people recently and as such, I’ve been returned to nights (which has good and bad like all things).

Anyway, once The Company completed its second round of job removals, management decided to look at some things, specifically the function of the Router team. That was the team that was formed by the Skinny Project to 1) create a bottleneck and prevent gold plating and 2) was designed to reduce the number of phone calls that the surfs had to take (and hopefully reduce the number of people calling in, period). The Router team was formed from department team leads, who then had to spend half of their time playing telephone operator.

This team caused a rare union between management, team leads, and surfs. The surfs resented not being able to get their own calls, to say nothing of the frustration of the Router team frequently sending calls to the wrong place or forcing calls upon someone already on another call. The team leads resented having to be demoted to a phone operator when they are team leads and supposedly above all that. Finally, management didn’t like the Router team creation because their delegated work dumpage on their team leads wasn’t getting done due to the Router obligations.

So, management went to the Skinny people and got a modification of the system. My team was seen to have 99.9% legit phone calls and with only five people per shift now (down from 8 per shift on days and 7 per shift on nights), they couldn’t make someone a phone monkey. So our phone system has been returned to us as it was, and to our amazement, with an improvement. Now when people call in, they get two options. One option goes to the next person on the list to take a call and the other option allows a caller to reach a specific surf. This later option is the new addition and is freaking sweet. Now, when I page out support, I leave my extension in the page and the support person can call me directly. That should have been in place when the new phone system was installed. It is a shocking display of efficiency, which goes against Skinny.

Our other command center mates aren’t as lucky. On the mainframe side, a massive attempt at cross-training is underway so that all mainframe is done by a single team (still divided into Rock and Roll sub-teams from what I understand). Once they have this established, Skinny will then carve off about three surfs per shift and make them Routers. As I understand it, this would be an assigned task, so the same person wouldn’t do the Router work every day. I guess accounts worked would be assigned as well. Its still a stupid system, but The Company and Skinny Project can’t be 100% wrong here, so some form of the Router system must remain.

We’ll see what The Company has planned for us in the near future. Apparently, our facility is going to have a new 80,000 square foot “green” building added to our already large campus. We surfs tend to suspect that The Company will consolidate itself into fewer locations and so the new facility may end up housing servers and mainframes from other facilities in the U.S. so that The Company can save costs and close down those other facilities. As I said, we’ll see what happens.

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