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I work in the development team of a (very, very rapidly growing) company of currently about 50 people in the UK. About 6-9 months or so ago we were told we'd soon be given new laptops for our work. About 6 months ago, everyone on the dev team besides myself was given the aforementioned machines.

A couple months later the DevOps team also got them, and since then some folks in assorted non-technical roles have too. We've also had a new starter on the dev team very recently, who had a machine ordered for him before his first day started, so it's not down to me being new and unproven. Probably.

I'm not hugely inconvenienced by not having had the upgrade; my desktop machine - although a relic - does the job without too much hassle so I can't put forward a particularly strong technical argument for needing the new machine. It's purely a psychological issue as I feel I'm not being invested in as much as other staff, both older and newer.

To put my questions into fewer words: What is a reasonable, professional way to request that I have the same hardware as everyone else on my team, having now waited six months for it? Or am I actually being unreasonable?

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    ` About 6-9 months or so ago we were told we'd soon be given new laptops for our work` - who told you that, have you followed up with them? – Brandin Jun 3 '15 at 11:54
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    Yeah, the head of the development team promised this. I chased him a couple weeks back and was told I am getting one eventually but there's no ETA, as "I have to make sure I don't bankrupt [our owners]". However this was a week before our new starter joined, who very quickly had a new machine ordered, in spite of multiple machines similar to my relic sitting unused in the company warehouse. – Chris Rimmer Jun 3 '15 at 11:57
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    Also helpful might be an argument as to why you need a laptop - being able to take your work off to a quiet space, or to a meeting room for a code review or demo or something. This will be especially strong if other people are doing stuff away from their desks with a laptop, rather than just having-a-laptop-on-their-desk-all-the-time. The less it's a status thing and the more you present it as something that adds value, the more sense it makes to the business. – Hazel Jun 3 '15 at 12:02
  • Just ask your direct report face-to-face. And it doesn't have to be complain, either - you need to know the reasons for still being among the few with old hardware. Let your manager know that even though you can keep the quality of your work with your current equipment, you still feel left out and need to address this issue. It might be that your managers have forgotten about your machine or think it's somebody else's job or whatever. Just talk with them. – Nat Naydenova Jun 3 '15 at 12:50
  • Have you considered realizing that your machine might actually not be working properly anymore? – NotMe Jun 3 '15 at 21:23
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Never make a request to management without explicitly justifying it.

In this case, your justification is that you want the same environment as everyone else. Which is well worth the $2000 or so that they'll be spending on a new laptop for you. You didn't complain. You weren't a squeaky wheel, so you weren't even a priority let alone a low priority.

Management makes its acquisitions based on priorities. You are able to limp along with your existing equipment but your colleagues cannot function without new equipment, so nobody in management worried about you.

You need to speak up to get yourself on their list of priorities, however low on the list you end up. Better being low on the list beats not being at all on the list.

  • Yeah this looks like my best bet - since I can't make a strong case argument for the upgrade I should just put myself on their radar and hope for the best. – Chris Rimmer Jun 3 '15 at 15:12
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Ok, turn this around and think about it in a different way- Suppose it was your money that needs to get spent on someone else. Ask yourself what argument could they present to you for you to spend a relatively large amount of money on buying them new equipment to do a job they are easily able to do on the equipment you have already given them.

In other words, ask yourself what is the business case definition of why the company should spend money on this.

"Because they said they would" and "Because I want to be like everyone else" are not justifiable arguments. If you can do your job just as well using what you have there is probably no real benefits case for them spending more money to upgrade you. But if you can think of tangible benefits, for the company, then these are the reasons you should present them with.

  • What about intangible benefits like it is easier to mantain the same set of machines? – llrs Jun 3 '15 at 12:24
  • I was actually quite happy thinking along those very lines for several months. However a few things have altered my view slightly. First is that the entire team had the same machines I have now, so they could also do their jobs 6 months ago prior to the upgrade. Second is that when the new guy started we had a minimum of a dozen such machines in storage due to the staff who used them before having been upgraded. In both cases, money was spent on getting staff new hardware that wasn't strictly required. – Chris Rimmer Jun 3 '15 at 12:25
  • @Llopis That is not intangible. There is a cost associated with maintaining a homogenous set of machines, there is additional cost (presumably) of retaining the skillsets and resources to maintain a different set of machines as well as the first... You just need to know what they are! – Marv Mills Jun 3 '15 at 12:26
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    @ChrisRimmer Ignore what has or has not been done to others, that is wholly irrelevant to the people that matter in this issue, i.e. the one's holding the purse strings. Ask yourself what is the justification for the company to spend more money on you. That is all that matters here. – Marv Mills Jun 3 '15 at 12:28
  • @Llopis Unfortunately that won't fly for me as I'm quite capable of maintaining my machine myself :) Appreciated though all the same! – Chris Rimmer Jun 3 '15 at 12:29

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