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I came on board five months ago. One of the agreements upon my onboarding is that I would implement continuous integration for the team.

I have devised a demonstrable prototype of continuous integration within my first month in the job. Within the next one month, I had formulated a proposal that outlines atomic units of change which would attain a fully automatable build, meaning that the team integration would be done with minimal waste of human resources or none at all.

The problem is that the team I work on is a consulting company on a contract with a client. We bill hours for manual labor. They place people who will be mere button pushers because the client is not sufficiently educated about technology to be aware that it can be done much, much more cheaply. Of course, no one talks about it openly but the people who do "dev ops" for the team know that implementing industry standards would significantly reduce their impact on the team and the rest are mostly disposed friendly towards them, creating a political relation unsuitable for progress.

Since my prototype and proposal keeps getting pushed to the back burner despite the evident and verifiable benefit of its implementation to the client and most of the team members, I would like to notify someone, not because I feel proud about my work but because the client is being cut short of the benefit.

My options include going to the client directly, going to my boss's boss, or going to the HR of my company. I am fairly certain that blowing the whistle to the client would get me fired, however, under the right conditions, I wouldn't resent it. However, my objective and the objective of this question is to find the most optimal channel of effecting my grievance and actually get it in motion.

  • Do you have any direct contact with the client company? – Erik Jan 24 '17 at 6:53
  • @TeacherKSHuang -- I care because I don't think the "bottom line" should be the guiding principle in business. A conscientious contributor will make ethical decisions that benefit him less than another option. – amphibient Jan 24 '17 at 14:36
  • @amphibient, I understand and I have to tell you, as someone with a little decision-making power at my own work, I'm on your side. But what I'm saying is that since we are not the final decision-maker, why make a bigger deal of it than we already have? Plus, who's to say that this is the reason our proposal has not been implemented? Perhaps there are other mitigating reasons that other decision-makers are considering. – Teacher KSHuang Jan 25 '17 at 7:13
  • @TeacherKSHuang -- "biding time" is an option of defeat – amphibient Jan 25 '17 at 19:51
  • Is it? I think you're mistaking biding time with doing nothing.... – Teacher KSHuang Jan 26 '17 at 7:39
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If I understand your question correctly, you work for a consulting company that bills by the hour, and you've come up with a technical solution that would drastically reduce the number of hours they could bill.

Why would your consulting company be interested in this? It would be good for the client, but possibly very bad for the consulting company. They might have to fire some of the button-pushers.

You're right -- going to the client with this will get you fired. Going to HR won't help because your concern is technical and out of scope for them. Going to your boss's boss (someone once called this a "grand-boss") could work, but for political reasons the grand-boss is unlikely to give you a straight "we make more money doing it this way, so we're not going to use your solution" answer.

You may want to consider whether you are happier in a consulting company vs. in a company with its own software development group (where your continuous integration work would be strongly welcomed).

  • 1
    And then people say the market works to make things cheaper and more efficient ;) – Erik Jan 24 '17 at 6:52
  • Why would your consulting company be interested in this? Good question. But also: Why would a consulting company that runs on this business model hire somebody and ask them explicitely to implement continuous integration for the team? This I can't get my head around. Maybe there's something going on behind the scenes? – AllTheKingsHorses Jan 24 '17 at 9:06
  • We are doomed as, not a company, but a specie if we adopt the "bottom line" as the guiding principle in life and accordingly, business. I don't think we should guide ourselves by profit only. The consulting company is HIRED to make the best decisions for the client, IMO, which may conflict their business model but they should guide themselves by what is best for the ultimate work they perform. Under your worldview, an automechanic would break something in the engine every time a customer brings it in for an oil change. Is that an ethical business paradigm ? – amphibient Jan 24 '17 at 14:38
  • @amphibient - not my personal worldview, just an attempt to suggest a possible explanation for the consulting company's behavior as described by the OP. You're right about the "non-ethicality" of the situation. – Dan Pichelman Jan 24 '17 at 15:43
  • I would like to add that my concern is not exactly "technical" only -- the technical advantage of it translates to a concrete benefit to the client operation and obstructing the proposal can be viewed as sabotaging the client. it does have a bottom line implication – amphibient Jan 25 '17 at 16:01
0

OK first you need to think politically not technically. You will get nowhere in any business without figuring out how to meet the political needs of the business. I know you think that is sordid, but that is a counterproductive attitude and will result in your continual disappointment.

The company will lose projected income if they implement your solution. That is reality. The only way to fix this is to find out how to prevent that loss and sell that as part of your solution.

What you need to do is find a way to reprogram those resources whose jobs you are removing into other new work for the client or another client. That way the monetary loss to the consulting firm does not exist, the client gets what they need and some new work is available and everyone's jobs including yours (as the person with the vision to see how to change this from a loss into more profit) are safe.

Conversely, if you don't mind firing the people currently doing the task, you find a way to show your new process to management in terms of additional profit from having fewer employees. Perhaps you can get them to negotiate the contract for a higher per hour rate since there will be fewer hours. If you can make it so that there is a financial benefit to what you suggest, then you have a win. Perhaps you can convince them that the client's recommendation will be worth more business.

In any event you need to sell this as something of political and business benefit - never try to sell things on technical merit alone.

  • i certainly do not mind having some people around here fired and would do it first thing i got power to do, which is not likely. but i am not in that position. – amphibient Jan 25 '17 at 19:37
  • what you're saying makes relativist kind of sense. but it involves a lot of something that i would call "cognitive overhead" – amphibient Jan 25 '17 at 21:23
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Calm down. You may not know whole the picture of the situation. Imagine executive of the company being good friend of service purchasing manager, if you will whistle-blow you may put those people under real risk, and then it will be personal.

If you are told that you did good job, but your results are not needed any more, archive what you did as Teacher KSHuang said, to be able to reuse it in the future.

Do not think that you have some personal obligations to customer or to employer, unless there's something specific in your employment contract. It is just business - you were ordered to do the job, you did it, you were paid, and that's all.

It's clearly understandable that you want your improvements to be implemented, because you spent your precious time developing it. But you should be sure that you have right to intellectual property you created, otherwise your employer has full control over what he will do with it - use or discard.

If you find out or decide that it is yours, leave this company and start your business.

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