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  1. #1

    Arguing against restrictive IT policies on programmers / techies

    I'm wondering how to handle a discussion I'm going to have a at work and would like some suggestions.
    The place I work has been a nice place to work. Management lets us know what needs to be done, then gets out of the way and lets us get it done. The new CTO is changing that, though. He's implementing a bunch of new controls and he doesn't seem to mind much if his new rules get in the way, making the work slow, inefficient, and aggravating.

    One of the new rules is that employees can't run any software that's not pre-approved by the IT department. That's to reduce a) security risks from people running dumb software and b) licensing issues, because some programs that are free for personal use are not free for business use. I can understand that. However, for low priority issues the IT department can take two weeks to respond. If I have some unformatted XML, for example, and I need to run a pretty printer on it in order to be able to understand and edit it, I don't have two weeks to wait for approval to run an XML formatter. When I need to do cross-browser testing, waiting ten days for approval to install Chrome just won't work.

    As developers, we're not going to be installing silly browser bars, greeting card makers, and other "win an iphone" junk. We're also more than capable of checking to see if a program is free or not, so for developers, at least, I don't think the new rules make any sense. Not when balanced against the lost efficiency and morale.

    This afternoon we have a meeting with the CTO (head of IT) to discuss our concerns. What would you say to try to sway the CTO? A big part of the problem is how slow approvals will be, and since that problem is 100% his fault as head of IT, I suspect he'll deny that they are so slow. If his IT department responded quickly to requests so I could approval to run an XML editor within a few minutes, that would be okay, though annoying. The truth is they can take weeks to make a one-line configuration fix, so I wouldn't be surprised if approving a software utility took months. How can I approach it that might get him to back off the policy, rather than defendning his department and pretending they'll be responsive?
    Last edited by raymor; 03-20-2013 at 01:57 PM.

  2. #2
    Trusted Penguin Irithori's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Hi and welcome

    First of all: Dont be aggressive, be constructive.
    He is the new guy, maybe he has a background or experience or even a todo list from his management, that made him to implement this rule.
    Also, it sounds like some of the software you guys use is not fully licenced.
    This *can* be a serious threat to a business, so this cto actually does have a point.

    What I would do:
    - Make a list of currently used software. Not only your machine, but also from your dev colleages, qa and ops team.
    - add currently used server licences, support contracts and other services
    Also give a statement on the licences statuses of all.
    - Then make a list of software, that you will need in the forseeable future.
    - Investigate possible site or group licences

    - Address your concerns of the slow approval process.
    - Document every approval request. I hope you have a ticket system, if not: Introduce one and document each approval request via mail in the meantime.
    - Ask for SLAs and how budget responsibility is handled

    - point out, that you will follow the new guideline. If a task is blocked by non-approved software, clearly state that in your ticket/an email.
    You must always face the curtain with a bow.

  3. #3
    Linux Engineer
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Virginia, USA
    Make your suggestions as to what software you need, then fly low profile for a while. Sooner or later, the CTO will find some other pet project to make himself feel important, and then it's back to business as usual.

  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Either at home or at work or down the pub
    Also try and find out if there has already been one or more incidents with improper licensing or security making this new policy necessary as not everyone will be responsible with their work PC.
    Should you be sitting wondering,
    Which Batman is the best,
    There's only one true answer my friend,
    It's Adam Bloody West!

    The Fifth Continent

  6. #5
    Thank you all very much for your thoughtful replies.

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