I recently started a new job at a new company as a Systems Administrator. The company is a small business with about 120 employees that, in my opinion, is on the cusp of becoming a medium-sized one within a few years. The culture is some what still that of a startup and I sense that some of their IT practices are more appropriate to the size and scope of their business as it was five years ago.
I have a tendency to advocate and push for change and improvement early after starting a new position. This genuinely comes from a place of enthusiasm, energy and desire to do good work the right way and not one of "I'm new the sheriff in town" or "let me tell you how you have been doing everything wrong" however I have come to learn how it can be perceived that way by co-workers. I also have developed a bit more patience as I know learning more about an environment before I start advocating for infrastructure changes allows me to be better at my job.
During the interview process I brought up some of these items for discussion and asked when my manager thought would be an appropriate period of time was before we talked about implementing some changes and his answer was six months so in a sense I have a direct answer to this question.
BUT some of the changes I want to advocate for I feel are very important and that they deserve a timely implementation:
- 20% of their desktop fleet is still on Windows XP
- There is no consistent patch management of the fleet. Lots of stuff is not patched.
- There is no ticketing system or formal method for users to request assistance
I think I can advocate that these projects should be started on now and not in six months (in my opinion they should have been started on a year or two ago). The organization is pretty flat, relatively receptive to information or suggestions being pushed "upstream" and agile. The company's market is not in technology and their IT infrastructure is in a support role not a product role.
We have another System Administrator who is my peer and we both report to an IT Manager whose primarily field of experience is development and not operations. The whole department reports to the Operations Manager who is direct report of the owner. The IT Manager is retiring soon (six months to a year) and it is not clear how that transition will be handled yet. I have a pretty large degree of independence but ultimately at this point I think the decision-making capability does not rest me. I would feel unconformable just making decisions without having the IT Manager and Operations Manager confirm them.
Should I advocate for these projects now? Or wait six months? Should I wait a shorter period of time? How can you determine when it's appropriate to start advocating for changes in a new job?