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I'm a programmer / IT analyst and I work with 4-5 people on a regular basis. Recently, I've been assigned with automating a fairly large task, and I've reached the point in my development where I need to start testing on a small scale, and with some of the machines that are actually going to be targeted (as apposed to just my own machine). The script I'm writing will eventually target 3 to 4 thousand machines, so it's pretty important..

The problem though is that I've been asking for IDs of those machines for the past couple days now, but nobody gets back to me about it.. I've made it very well known that I'm ready for testing, and the people I speak to are very happy at that, but they still don't get back to me with even one machine that I can test on.. so, now, I'm basically just sitting here looking at memes, trying to kill time..

This kind of behavior has actually been somewhat prevalent over the past year that I've been here, and it's starting to annoy me..

What can I do to combat this -- what comes off to me as sheer laziness / negligence -- so that I can work at a pace that I'm comfortable with, and one that will continue to demonstrate to my boss that I'm a fast and efficient worker? Really, I could have had this script finished by now and ready for deployment..

*I work for a Fortune 500 company in the United States, and most everyone I work with is American and they also live in the states.

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    Do you work remotely? Nothing shows you are blocked more than showing up for a face-to-face at their desk. – Jay Jun 19 '18 at 14:07
  • @raterus Both -- in person and remotely. And yeah, yesterday I confronted one of them face-to-face, but still nothing.. – user75749 Jun 19 '18 at 14:48
  • While it's not an answer, I would definitely not just look at memes while you're blocked. You're a developer, so you can find something to do with your free time that will benefit you/the company. Automate a build/deploy process, write some unit / integration tests, study up on a new technology, write answers on stack overflow, etc. – Jay Jun 19 '18 at 15:52
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Just do the usual thing and update your manager/project manager with the progress and what you're waiting for in order to progress your project, and stress that the lack of test machines is blocking your progress.

Then let your manager/PM decide how to progress this. It'll probably mean another email, but someone else will have to deal with the inevitable non-responses on your behalf.

Also ask whether you can request the IT department to build some virtual machines that you can use for testing (if failure of your scripts could prove to be destructive in nature). Thinking about it, this (virtual machines) should really be your first test platform (trashing them won't hurt anything, and they're easy to reset).

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    In addition, when you are requesting this information, include a "needed by" date e.g. "Hey Jane, I need info X for Project Y. Can you get those details to me by End of Day on June 19th to keep things on track? etc." Then if you do have to escalate, you can provide a trail of relevant details. – Laconic Droid Jun 19 '18 at 13:48
  • Due to the nature of the overall task, actual user machines with specific data in specific paths needs to be targeted.. VM's won't cut it in this case (and, our VM's are set up slightly differently than our employee-issued machines, so certain parts of the script will break / just don't apply). – user75749 Jun 19 '18 at 15:28
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Compiling a list of 3000 machines is probably not a trivial task, and someone who already has a bunch of things on their plate is probably going to put that dead last on their to-do list.

And so, when sending out requests for information which constitute both a fair amount of work, as well as a bottleneck to your progress, always copy the (project) manager on the request. The idea here should be that interactions between yourself, and another department should be documented, and your boss aware of them.

I would also try to think of these things ahead of time, and send the request several days before you actually need the data, and politely follow up a couple of days later if you haven't heard anything back. These other people are not the only ones to blame for the fact that you've got nothing to work on at the moment.

In this particular situation you should request an update, and copy your boss on the email.

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    The OP here only wants details of a few (4-5) machines to test on. The "thousands" part is what happens when the testing is complete. – Snow Jun 19 '18 at 13:54
  • @Snow That's exactly correct.. and, to add to that -- the compiling of the target machines list is already done, and it was a simple, single query to Active Directory that took about 2 minutes (so, it was actually fairly trivial).. the problem, however, is identifying a target machine that a user isn't actively using, and that's in a proper state to be "taken over" for testing.. – user75749 Jun 19 '18 at 14:51
  • Also, I should mention that my boss is already aware that I'm ready for testing, and they've mentioned this to a team member of mine last Thursday.. so, even the boss is somewhat sluggish perhaps, and, I'm hesitant to "run back to him" to tell on my other team members so quickly.. – user75749 Jun 19 '18 at 14:52
  • @Charles Maybe go to your boss and get a clarification. "Hey boss, about the test machines, when do you think they'll have that ready so I can prepare?" – Dan Jun 19 '18 at 16:06
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In addition to copying in your (project) manager, make sure you make clear tasks/agreements with these 4-5 people.

For example:

I am ready for testing but I would need your machine ID, when do you think you could give me this?

Ask for a specific date. 'ASAP' could mean something else for you than for them. Document the date and send it in a confirmation e-mail to them.

If they fail to complete the task, you have something to ask them about.

We agreed upon -date-. Is something blocking you from completing the task? When could you complete this task for me? Can I help you with getting the task done?

Again copy your (project) manager into this.

Bottom line: make clear tasks and agree upon them.

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