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  Reply # 1188626 4-Dec-2014 13:20
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Sounds like you need to invest some time in creating checklists. Even surgeons forgot to do important tasks sometimes.

http://www.who.int/patientsafety/implementation/checklists/en/

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  Reply # 1188634 4-Dec-2014 13:33
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Given how you are viewing this, there is no reason you can't begin a performance management process - probably at verbal or first written warning stage, depending on how clearly you can document the problem. Putting someone into this type of process will make it much easier to dismiss someone if their performance doesn't improve. It also helps covers you legally if they sue down the track. There are plenty of consultants who can help you with this if need be.

As I, and many others have said, if something is that important in your business it should be documented. If you don't document it you are putting yourself, and your clients, in a very difficult position. If I was your client and it all went horribly wrong, I would be asking to see your processes for making sure stuff like this doesn't happen. If you can't produce anything other than verbal instructions I'd be asking serious questions about your management controls.



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  Reply # 1188660 4-Dec-2014 14:26
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If it's one thing we need to document, then fine, but it doesn't seem reasonable that every single task needs a checklist for every request, at the end of the day, very few businesses could withstand the overhead required to manage something like that. I believe it's reasonable to be able to SAY to someone: 

I'd like you to install this backup software for this client, test it and get back to me when it's completed, and that person complete that in a reasonable timeframe to a high standard.

These aren't $12 an hour guys.

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  Reply # 1188688 4-Dec-2014 14:39
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From my days with Gen-i, during the design stage of a project, these things were outlined in a formal document and then agreed to by the client.  I am going to assume no such formal process is in place here? I can understand the importance of backups (oooh, yes my son, I surely do) but I'm curious why there is no written proposal with a checklist. Even the small little projects (I'm talking even a 5 seat charity kind of deal) would need this I would imagine - how else do you quote customers and get signoff?

But yes, I don't understand how he could skip such an important step of an implementation, especially after being explicitly told to work on a solution. Imho, (unless he is a complete greenhorn) human nature and 'I forgot' does not really apply in this case. Its not like he forgot to walk the dog or take out the rubbish, it is a basic requirement for work of this nature which should not require any special thought or reminders.






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  Reply # 1188701 4-Dec-2014 14:59
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Demeter: From my days with Gen-i, during the design stage of a project, these things were outlined in a formal document and then agreed to by the client.  I am going to assume no such formal process is in place here? I can understand the importance of backups (oooh, yes my son, I surely do) but I'm curious why there is no written proposal with a checklist. Even the small little projects (I'm talking even a 5 seat charity kind of deal) would need this I would imagine - how else do you quote customers and get signoff?

But yes, I don't understand how he could skip such an important step of an implementation, especially after being explicitly told to work on a solution. Imho, (unless he is a complete greenhorn) human nature and 'I forgot' does not really apply in this case. Its not like he forgot to walk the dog or take out the rubbish, it is a basic requirement for work of this nature which should not require any special thought or reminders.


Without being able to go into detail, it was a one off job for a client switching "brands" of software. 

The thing is, it's talked about most every day, the importance of backup, I am literally nagging and querying and covering stuff with staff all day every day. Even if you walked around with your fingers in your ears singing lalalalalalala it would be physically impossible to understand in my organisation how seriously we take it. Having said that, to document the length and breadth of the types of backup, backup software and individual configuration items unreasonable. I guess you could have broad step by step processes but I get the feeling unless it's granular to within a mouse click, the consensus here is I wouldn't have a legal leg to stand on. 

I then wonder what the staffs responsibility is? 

We did capture the fact it hadn't been done with a process designed specifically to make sure clients don't end up non protected.



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  Reply # 1188710 4-Dec-2014 15:01
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At the end of the day, you can do what ever you like, but don't be surprised if you end up on the wrong side of a PG. 

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  Reply # 1188715 4-Dec-2014 15:05
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networkn: If it's one thing we need to document, then fine, but it doesn't seem reasonable that every single task needs a checklist for every request, at the end of the day, very few businesses could withstand the overhead required to manage something like that. I believe it's reasonable to be able to SAY to someone: 

I'd like you to install this backup software for this client, test it and get back to me when it's completed, and that person complete that in a reasonable timeframe to a high standard.

These aren't $12 an hour guys.


Sure it's completely reasonable to say it and expect it to happen. To expect to be able to dismiss someone because they forgot something they were told verbally isn't reasonable, unless they lied or engaged in some other form of misconduct. If it is something that gets you sacked it's something that should be controlled by more than a few words. People have a bad day sometimes.

To expect them to be accountable and give a consequence is however completely reasonable. A performance management process is the correct way to manage this, starting with a formal verbal warning, in the correct manner. It can go two ways and if you don't give someone a chance to improve their performance then you are opening up a big can of doo doo for yourself as you could possibly get hit with constructive dismissal.

IANAL but my HR people are very clear on this. It is a process controlled by legislation and not particularly to work through, you just need to follow the process.

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  Reply # 1188719 4-Dec-2014 15:09
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I also think it would be reasonable to say to someone to do something in a reasonable timeframe and get back to you to confirm.

But did they? And if they did not, why did you not follow up?

Not defending the person at all, but if you say you expect xxx and person A does not confirm it, surely the onus is on you as their supervisor/manager to ensure your business is not being bought into disrepute.

I agree with Demeter that even small scale installation, especially if its for a client needs a check list. It removes human error and is a common part of most IT infrastructure to avoid these situations.

As an example internally here we have server checklists that contain pretty much everything including ensuring it is in the backup rotation, in alerting etc etc.
That is my own servers, I would imagine that would be essential for clients.

Not taking either side, but in IT, especially working for external clients a checklist and sign off is key.

Were they a bad dog for forgetting? Yes they were.
But I reckon the most you can do is give a verbal, then implement a standardised checklist that gets signed off in the future. Then you will indeed have recourse to do something more serious.

I agree with the others here, if it went as far as a PG you would lose.

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  Reply # 1188751 4-Dec-2014 15:42
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No change control? CC processes should cover both the employee and manager, and any potential risks like this.

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  Reply # 1188830 4-Dec-2014 18:08
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I've seen an incident of similar seriousness recently, an employee got distracted and left their keys (for everything, in a retail store) in a door in a public place after hours. The keys were found by another employee 30-90 minutes later. The incident resulted in a written warning due to the financial risk to the company and the physical risk to the employees.

I think your processes still may need work. For example, if the person in question was only asked to do the backup, but someone else implemented the change, the second person is as much to blame as the first, because IMO they should have checked the backup was done.
If only one person did the whole job, that's a warning in my book. But still a sign that processes need implementing.

To steal from the Royal Society. 'Nullius in verba' - 'take nobody's word for it'.




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  Reply # 1188867 4-Dec-2014 20:17
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Your situation sounds analogous to a recent case where a vet accidentally euthenased the wrong cat. There was professional negligence on the part of the individual, but also systemic negligence because the clinic should have had watertight procedures to ensure that it simply couldn't happen. There aren't many mistakes that could have dire consequences, so it shouldn't be too hard to implement safeguards.

You also need to bear in mind that when employees enter performance management they rarely stick around long term. Chances are you will end up sacking them, or they will leave on the first or second warning.

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  Reply # 1188976 4-Dec-2014 22:09
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networkn: If it's one thing we need to document, then fine, but it doesn't seem reasonable that every single task needs a checklist for every request, at the end of the day, very few businesses could withstand the overhead required to manage something like that. I believe it's reasonable to be able to SAY to someone: 

I'd like you to install this backup software for this client, test it and get back to me when it's completed, and that person complete that in a reasonable timeframe to a high standard.

These aren't $12 an hour guys.


you're doing it wrong.  setting up a backup system is no simple task and needs to be planned and agreed on.  +1 for the gen-i example.

if you continue not to you'll be in a situation where customers were expecting one thing then got another so decline payment until the job is done (and some will abuse the situation, creating a job that never ends, forcing you to drop it)

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  Reply # 1188980 4-Dec-2014 22:17
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Did his boss have to ask the question to Geekzone?

If so, I'd probably consider giving the boss a sacking.




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  Reply # 1189072 5-Dec-2014 06:40
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lxsw20:
networkn: Verbally presented.


Good luck.

Next time follow up with an email of your expectations. If they are as useless as you say it won't take long for them to drop the ball again and you will have a paper trail. At most I would say you could give a verbal warning, but even then it may be worth talking to an employment lawyer first. 




Next time just do it yourself!

This isn't a dig at the OP or the above comment but my brothers company lost $100,000 through fraud recently, the employee arged that as the procurement manager he should have had his work checked and double checked by a director (smallish company) The fact is that if someone had to check and double check someone elses work, why do you need the first person? Why wouldn't the second, more competent worker just do the work in the first place?

Personally I would be going the written warning route in your situation, I don't believe you could sack them. Maybe put them on dishes duty, or some other demeaning task for a while until they earn your trust again.

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  Reply # 1189074 5-Dec-2014 06:45
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Oh and being pretty new to working in this industry I have made errors with backups. Recently I backed up a test system, when I came to restore it I found that I had not checked for rogue processes in the background, this produced a faulty back up that I wasn't able to restore from, I was lucky that other backup's existed and I was working with a test system, it could have easily been a live system with new data to recover.

I am sure the worker feels pretty rats about making a rookie error, I would hope it would be enough to scare them out of making the same mistake again, I know it has for me!

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