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I am an information security professional working as an IT auditor. I am also the lead for my team. Recently we realized we had more budget money to spend for next year after immediate needs were fulfilled.

I am currently experimenting with some tooling that I am thinking of recommending we purchase for the team. A team member in the team recently asked me whether he can be involved in "playing" with some of the new tools we may be adopting if all goes to plan. However, just today I checked some of this work and the "ordinary" or "boring" work was not done well or completed. These items would include IDS / SIEM monitoring, quarterly access reviews, SOX documentation updates etc.

To a certain extent, I understand as I too considered these tasks to be boring and mundane when I used to be a junior. However, these are necessary. I agree that experimenting with new tools is more exciting, but I can't assign these types of tasks to the team until I see basic tasks are done and done well.

Other than saying just "get the work done" because it needs to be done, how do I tell the team the importance of "ordinary / boring work?

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  • It seems like this would heavily depend on what the "ordinary work" actually is, and why it needs to be done (we can't tell you how to explain the importance of a task if we don't know why doing it is important). Although explaining the benefit of the work doesn't make it any more fun - if fun is their motivation, an explanation may not help any more than just telling them to do it. – Bernhard Barker Dec 12 '17 at 6:24
  • At the risk of being blunt, have you tried managing this team/person? Are you new to a team lead role? – Lilienthal Dec 12 '17 at 7:11
  • Just fire them if they don't. – Fattie Dec 12 '17 at 15:46
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"... can [they] be involved in "playing" with some of the new tools ..."?

"... [but] the "ordinary" or "boring" work was not done well or completed.".

Explain that they must demonstrate that they follow instructions and do their work properly. These so-called mundane tasks might be an avenue for exploitation if one can expect them to be overlooked.

By doing their work correctly you will be able to report that things are in order and if you are audited you should expect to pass.

If they can't be relied upon to do what they are asked then why should they be rewarded, or awarded, with greater responsibility.

Point out the shortcomings and see if they agree, they may well think that everything is OK; and that is why they report to you that the tasks have been completed and expect to move on to greater responsibility (or better toys).

It's important for you to know if it is training or misreporting. It's important for them to understand the importance of what is being said and to be done.

It's not a joke or game to the boss or the customers, sometimes a lot is at stake; not just their job or yours but people's money or privacy, even the company's reputation. For everything to be OK each person must do their assignments correctly.

No desert until you finish your meat and vegetables.

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