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Old 10-06-2011, 02:08 PM
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Angry Story about 500mile fiber install.. Manager has no networking experience

Ok, my sister came home from Cali and I was asking her about her work. She works on ski patrol during the winter and has done some solar install work over the summer. She used to be an architectural engineer but no longer I guess.

So I ask her what has she been up to as far as work. She said that she is helping manage a 500 mile Fiber optic install from Barstow to Reno (I think - I know Barstow is correct and it is 500 mile run). I asked her what she was doing and she couldn't really explain a damn thing let alone tell me anything about the type of fiber, how many strands, etc about it. It wasn't that she wouldn't tell me it was that she didn't know anything about it!

Now what I want to know is how in the world, in the state of CA, home of Silicon Valley, home of Fiber optic, can they not find someone who has some, ANY, networking background to "help manage" this install? This makes me furious but makes me understand why CA is drowning in debt...

When she said that she didn't know and then didn't know any of the questions I asked her, she got pissed off, yelled at me, like it was my fault and stormed off. All I said was it sounded like a BS job if you don't know any of that and you are a manager.

Now what do some of you computer/network literate folk think?

Here is some info I dug up on it:
http://www.digital395.com/docs/Executive%20Summary.pdf

Here are some jobs:
http://www.digital395.com/job_listings.html


OHHHH, I understand now. IT'S PART OF THE RECOVERY ACT!!!
http://www.recovery.gov/Transparency...rdIdSur=117143
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Old 10-06-2011, 04:06 PM
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Well... I would say that a good manager doesn't need to know a thing about it. They just need to know how to get it done. LOL.

Sometimes the best manager is the one that only know how to manage a project and not the technical details.

The Manager Says:
"OK, Mr. Network Engineer... we are behind schedule, tell me why... and what you need to have happen to get back on schedule.

The Enginner: "I need X, Y, and Z to happen but we don't have ABC yet because the supplier has not shipped to us."

The Manager gets on the phone to the suppliler:
"Look, Mike I don't care why it is not here at this point you are costing us money so I can easily afford to cancel our order and go with your competitor that has a higer price because in the long run we will complete the project sooner which means lower expesnse in the end. You have till tomorrow.. Are you going to make it happen?"
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Old 10-06-2011, 04:38 PM
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I was put in charge of a huge project a while back. We were installing satellite and radio equipment on about 100 on-shore and off-shore drilling rigs so the company could better manage and monitor them from HQ. I didn't know a thing about oil rigs, sat communications, or half the other stuff we were doing. Still, I got the job done 3 months ahead of schedule and earned a rather large bonus for the timely completion. The contractors and specialist engineers were the ones with the knowledge. My job was to manage all the teams, maintain communications between everyone involved, and get things done.

It sounds like a similar situation here. Be a little more careful the next time you judge a situation. Or you may be the one sounding foolish.


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Old 10-06-2011, 05:20 PM
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The Angry Geek speeks the truth!

I learned years ago that my technical knowledge does not equate to being a good manager. As a technician and business owner I constanly have to fight the technician back and take a managers view of things so I can run a successful business.

The technician in me loves to fix, fix, fix. The manager in me tells me if I don't delegate and manage more I will never be able to grow my business to where I want.

It is hard though to make the switch from technician to manager but if you get used to it it will become second nature and if all things go like they should before long you will be managing more and "doing" less. When you get to that point you will be suprised at how much more you can accomplish.
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Old 10-06-2011, 05:28 PM
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I whole heartedly agree that, while it can be helpful to have a working knowledge of a project, it is not needed as a manager. I have been a manager and project lead many many times. If I didn't know how to do something I found someone who did and delegated.

A wise mentor once said to me "hire people smarter than yourself to get things done"
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Old 10-06-2011, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebige View Post
A wise mentor once said to me "hire people smarter than yourself to get things done"
“When you hire people that are smarter than you are, you prove you are smarter than they are”

R. H. Grant

“The best executive is one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”

Theodore Roosevelt
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Old 10-06-2011, 07:36 PM
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Architects make great project managers. Building projects are complicated long term projects that sometimes last from design to delivery easily take 3-5 years on small projects.

I think that it is her technical abilities to manage thousands of scheduling difficulties and get other technical people to communicate and know how and where to apply pressure to keep the job on time line that made her seem attractive for the position.

Then again, she might be someone else's admin assistant with a fancy title.

Regardless it sounds cool as hell.

Were I you, I'd send her a box of her favorite candies and say sorry sis I was a jerk.

My sister and I have always rubbed each other the wrong way. She has a world view and attitude that just pisses me off. One day she did or said something that really torked me off and I attacked her in an unfair way that she couldn't fight back or argue with. I won the battle. But weeks later it dawned on me, I might have had my own view and might even be more correct than she is but the way I attacked her was uncool. So I called her and basically said what I recommended to you above. Our relationship turned around on a dime and we have been best friends for the last ten years. It's as if that moment we both recognized that we each are worth respecting not withstanding our deep disagreements on politics, religion and life.

Last edited by Tony_Scarpelli; 10-06-2011 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 10-06-2011, 07:57 PM
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As others have said, the manager doesn't need technical skills, the manager needs to know how to manage people, resources and time to get the job done.

Years ago I managed a machine shop. I had 1 employee (out of 27) that had a problem with me as his manager since I did not have a machining background. I used to tell him that I didn't need to know anything about machining because that was his job, mine was to manage the business. I think his real issue was that I was about 30 years younger than him but he only complained about my lack of machining knowledge.

Last edited by strollin; 10-06-2011 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:16 PM
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Yeah but what happens when the contractor comes to you and says they can only offer underground breakout cable with EIA597-B color scheme for the second 250 miles which has a Polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) jacket with 50/125 µm inner core, non shielded made to be used with 850 nm VCSEL laser wavelength. The contractor garuntees this will fine as it is just "last year model" and the color scheme will be the same and optic clarity is the same as well.

Well, The fact that the current EIA598-A is the current multicore color scheme, which is no where near the same as the old one, nore does it have the same number of conductors. Also the type of cable being run is only good for indoor runs or 1km or less and the 850nm laser will be no where near what is needed for a 500 mile fun. Basically it is all pissed away.

Now how does an architectural engineer, who helped find the buyer, drafter purchaser and install tech, non of which know the differences of fiber, the tech just installs what he is given. The selling company tells the buyer and purchaser that this will be fine, no problem at all, we will ship from China romorrow, you pay WU and we ship romorrow and you stay on sedual. OK bro? I promise everything will be ok, you work for great state California, where everyone in the world wants to live. Lucky you. You have fast Internet soon.

Manager sends WU $$ and gets 20,125 1KM 50/125 µm, 850nm patch cables for their 500 mile state of the art install.

I'm sorry if I am cynical but I have been at quite a number of large corporate roll-outs by Dell and it is ALWAYS botched and it is supposed to be managed by people in the industry (20-25 years experience on each side). Who thought you would have to destroy proprietary information (finances, R&D, payroll, accounting, etc) on the old desktops', laptops and servers before they left the building? When I brought this to the attention of the project managers, I was thanked by being told I would not be called back for any more jobs with Dell.
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:57 PM
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To answer your questions, the said project manager consults with the engineers. Depending on what they say, he/she makes a decision. Maybe a new contractor is in order. This is the whole point in having project managers.

As a side note, quit looking for ways to bash your sister. You're going to wish you were closer the older you get and as other family members pass away. Just congratulate her and let it go. It almost sounds like you're jealous of her good fortune.
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