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Good Day!

I recently landed an IT support job. The job is basically what a tech support does -- assisting in configuring, deploying/assigning units, handling some basic AD stuff (creation of new accounts), etc. Before I got this post, I used to work here as a tech support intern. My boss also knew that I have background w/ programming.

In the past weeks however, he started giving me programming tasks such as creating intranet portals and SQL querying. These tasks were not an issue since I'm open to any additional work w/out asking for anything in return. But then, he got this big project (an online payment / booking system) and he wants me to do it -- alone. There are currently no web programmers here at our firm (only support and one DB/Network admin) and I, being someone who has web dev. background was chosen.

My main task is still to provide IT support but he wants me to do programming as well during office hours. My issue here is:

1. There are a lot of days here that support is fully booked. With support people on shifting schedule, there are times that I'm the only support for 500+ employees.
2. I have read the project documentation (online booking w/ payment gateway) and I think that it is something that must be done in a group and not pass it to one person.

How should I go about this? Should I turn down the project? The firm has no plans on acquiring additional programmers at the moment so it will be a tandem of 2 people (I and one DB admin) who will do the system. The DB admin has no web development background however.

Any input is greatly appreciated!
Thank you for your understanding!

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    You have more that one person providing support for 500 users? Your job sounds like heaven. – agentroadkill May 8 '16 at 4:07
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    Why would it take more than one person to do an online booking with payment? I've done a few and never needed help. – Kilisi May 8 '16 at 5:08
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    I assume you want more than one person so you can review each other's code to avoid mistakes, security errors etc. Can the DB admin do this anyway? If not you could probably hire a consultant for a few days towards the end of the project to review everything: it's not as ideal as having someone to work with for the whole time, but it can work. You should raise your specific concerns - review, correctness? - with your manager though as early as possible. – Rup May 8 '16 at 7:51
  • That's also one thing Sir Rup. I think that testing (QA) your own code is very different than having it checked by another person. – Saudate May 9 '16 at 23:10
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You can prepare a project plan with estimates. Assign yourself for 60-70 % of yourself for support the daily ( or whatever number you feel comfortable). Assign the rest to the the other BIG project. In big project , assign time to tasks ( requirement gathering/design/development/testing /deployment etc ). Add padding to each task to whatever you are comfortable.(20-30 %). Add vacation days of yourself to this. Add one more level of padding to this ( 20-25% to account for delays which are out of your control). Now you have a rough plan. Present this to your boss. Say it comes out to 8 months or 10 months.

If you feel you need training in some feature implementation , mention this in the project plan .

If your boss is OK, then you are fine or he will understand he needs to hire one more contractor to help you.

Also mention that these are ball park figures as per your knowledge of the project.

Before you do this , think whether your boss will like this approach. Some bosses do not like this. SO treat this as a suggestion and do this only if the boss is receptive to this kind of thinking. Some bosses may think you are being over smart for preparing such a project plan and it being a tactic to push them in to a corner.

Keep in mind that doing something alone is a challenge sometimes and frustrating but it give us experience in solving many problems, issues and increasing our confidence to resolve anything that comes our way ( personal experience). It helps you in strategic thinking ( post project maybe ). If you are up for the challenge , go for it as not only will it give you tremendous experience but also ultimate satisfaction , a sense of independence in execution and fearlessness in getting involved in any future projects. You must be ready to face many challenges and issues.

It will also force you to do a bit of self learning and/or external training.

  • Thanks for this Learner_101. I'm actually quite nervous since this project involves a reasonable amount of $$ and it will be my very first as a new comer in the workforce industry. Thanks again and to everyone who helped! – Saudate May 9 '16 at 23:08
  • This is the correct approach. That said, if you think it falls outside of your ability, even if given time to teach yourself the necessary skills, say so. Your employer's lack of qualified resources isn't your problem. That said, it's a great opportunity to learn. Perhaps you could work on it together with a qualified subcontractor? – fubar Dec 10 at 3:04
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Be sure to tell your boss, in writing (email, for example)

  • The time estimate for the case where you do just that new project and nothing else...
  • The time estimate for the case when you do that AND the current support for 500+ users.

Make sure that your estimates are realistic, and, since you haven't done serious web development before, add 50% more time just in case. It's a pretty safe bet that it will take longer than you think.

And constant task switching support-development will in itself consume +30% time on its own.

If he's fine with that, you can give it a try.

I personally think it's madness - not that you can't do a project by yourself, but to do it on maybe 20% to 30% of your time per day, while doing support for other projects the rest of the time?

That's just asking for problems and for schedule overruns.

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