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My problem is actually quite simple, but I haven't figured out a solution yet. I work in a company where is very important to correctly measure things (I cannot disclose what they are). Being in charge of developing a software that automatically calculates some parameters is, in my opinion, a very important job, especially because my company sells those things by advertising them in relation to those parameters. To be 100% precise, I didn't write the software from scrap, but there was already an old version, which is still installed in many computers that my colleagues operate. I made many changes to the code, and updated the whole thing in order to correct mistakes and make the automatic process smarter.

When I finished, I contacted the department-managers (who are things-developers too) and presented them the results with a nice PowerPoint presentation explaining the changes. They asked me to provide some examples comparing a measurement done with the old software and another done with the new one, and I did. They finally asked me to make some changes so that they could read the data better, and I did (and of course informed them).

2 months passed. Meanwhile I sent them a couple of emails explaining that it would be important not to develop things accordingly to the results of the old software, therefore it would have been smart installing the new software on all the computers. The answer was both times "Yes, [name of colleague] will take care of a final comparison, and then we will see". [The colleague] didn't take care of it, his department-manager didn't seem to pressure him on the matter, so two weeks ago (please notice that I did this after 2 months wait) I escalated the whole thing to a higher level.

The higher chiefs sent those people the following email:

Please take care of the matter

After two weeks wait, I am yet to receive a feedback. In two months we have been developing things imprecisely and partially wrong because of the results given by the old software, and that really bothers me, knowing that my company last year did not do very good.

Do I need to escalate the matter to the highest level I know? I don't want my colleagues to start hating me for being blamed by the chief, but I really do want my company to do good, and I also am frustrated from the fact that it seems that the job I do is not important to anyone. I spend days concentrating, swearing, coding, and so on, and no one appreciates the final product!

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    Have you sat down with your manager and asked her what she would like you to do? If so, what did she say? If not, is there a reason that you haven't asked your manager rather than asking the internet? – Justin Cave Mar 9 '16 at 7:17
  • I spoke with 2 different manager (yet not on the highest levels): first reply was "Yes, we will have to speak about that. Maybe send an email to [other manager], to discuss the matter?" - I sent that email with the first manager in Cc, and the second one only addressed the people who weren't answering with "Please take care of the matter". – Noldor130884 Mar 9 '16 at 7:21
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    Have you walked into your manager's office in the last couple of days and asked how she wants you to handle the situation? Maybe she wants you to reply to the last email to see if there has been any progress in the last two weeks. Maybe she wants you to escalate it further. Maybe she wants to walk into someone else's office to discuss the issue. – Justin Cave Mar 9 '16 at 7:40
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    I'm saying that your manager probably understands the politics of the situation much better than random folks on the internet do. If you don't know how to handle a situation, asking your manager is always a useful step. Your manager might decide to take the responsibility to get a response. She might tell you to escalate the issue. She might tell you to give it another week. – Justin Cave Mar 9 '16 at 7:55
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    Your next step depends on what your manager wants your next step to be. – Justin Cave Mar 9 '16 at 8:10
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Getting heard from departments I need a feedback from

There is not much you can do except keep pushing. Escalating twice is not a good idea, you are then trying to make people at two levels above you look like they're not doing their job at best (even if it's true), this can backfire. You have no real way of knowing if there are any underlying factors to what is going on.

If it was me, I'd just keep pushing it with my manager and leave it to him/her to negotiate the blocks or apathy and just focus on my job. Many companies do not seem to do things optimally to the men on the ground. Sometimes it's worth the effort to try and make a change, but mostly it's not if it's too risky. And there is a chain of command that it's best to use however 'important' you think your contribution is.

It's not unheard of for people to spend months perfecting a project which never gets used.

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Do I need to escalate the matter to the highest level I know?

So your complaint appears to be that folks aren't using the software you developed yet and you are getting impatient.

But how you should deal with it depends on your role in the company.

If you are in charge of Thing Measurement Accuracy, then you need to find a way to enforce the standards for accuracy in your shop. If that means the new software must be installed and used, then you need to get management suppport first. You should then gather the people who can do the installs, schedule the cutover, get it done, and not rely on another group to do what you hope.

But if you are in charge of Developing Software, then it's up to the business to decide when and if they actually use it, not you. You might talk to your boss, and see if there's something he/she wants you to do in order to help with the cutover, but that's not really your responsibility.

Many of us in the software field have been part of projects that ended up being shelfware. It happens. I suspect you just need to be patient. While it's clearly important to you, often using your software isn't at the top of your users' list of things to do. They many have other business priorities that prevent them from jumping on your software.

  • I developed a tool which demonstrated a 32x improvement in efficiency of one task. It never got used, as far as I know, probably foot reasons having to do with how managers were being incentivised at the time. It happens. – keshlam Mar 9 '16 at 11:45
  • Both. My department is basically the "about-measurement department". I am not a software developer, but I have to make sure that the tools we have work compliantly to standards and so on. When we don't have a tool, then I have to invent it. – Noldor130884 Mar 9 '16 at 14:35
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Since you are in the Measurement department (according to a comment on an earlier answer), then I would get with my boss and determine how we were going to deploy the tool you wrote and scheduled each individual who needs the install and then go to their desk and do it according to the schedule. Be sure to remove the old tool at the same time.

Users do not want to install new software even when it is an improvement, there is a resistance to change factor. So the only solution is to do the install yourself rather than relying on them to do it. Since you are in the department that can mandate the measurement tool and the standard that are followed, use that organizational power and do the installs without asking them to do them.

At the time of install for each person, take the time to walk them through how to use it. Much of resistance to change is that they feel unsure that they will be able to figure out how to use it. At the time of the install, make sure you explain to them exactly what they are getting from this new software that is an improvement over the old one. People resisting change need much more hand-holding at the beginning. They are afraid of your new tool. I know that sounds ridiculous but it is true. They think they will make mistakes using it; they think they won't be able to figure out where necessary functions are; they think it will slow down their work due to the learning curve and they are already behind or under pressure. You have to diffuse those feelings.

  • OP has been told twice. "Yes, [name of colleague] will take care of a final comparison, and then we will see". You are suggesting the OP ignore a directive from management? It is a stretch to assert "Since you are in the department that can mandate the measurement tool". It is clear this is more a support tool. – paparazzo Mar 9 '16 at 16:57
  • It's not so easy though... People develop what we produce following some patterns that include the comparison between old stuff and new stuff. Being not able to compare anymore because the parameters are defined in another way is the thing that bothers them the most. Nonetheless I need approval from those colleagues so that we are all sure that they can actually find a way to compare old with new – Noldor130884 Mar 10 '16 at 7:13

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