Process Documentation a Chronicle of Incompetence


Round Rock, TX – John Dempsey, 34, looked on the step by step process detailing the creation of a new UNIX user ID with a mixture of amusement and despair. The document, which is the sum total of every conceivable fuck up a junior administrator could make, is a chronicle of failure the depths of which he thought was inconceivable.

“Jesus, did someone really assign the same User ID Number to more than one person? I mean, Christ, that’s just bush league shit. How in the name of holy fuck can a SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) document for creating a fucking USER ID involve 79 steps? We must hire some dumb motherfuckers.”

“Holy fucking shit. This SOP says that you have to use vi on Linux, and only Linux, to edit a file. It specifically has a warning not to use vi on Solaris. It doesn’t say why. Oh my God… it even tells you how to save the document. If you don’t know how to save a document in vi then you don’t deserve UNIX admin privileges! Apparently, someone actually didn’t know how to save the fucking file, requiring this document. We’re so fucked.”

“This document actually says to use ‘xhost +’.  Dude, the 90’s called and they want their X-Windows back.  They don’t even know how to use X forwarding in ssh.  Shoot me now.”

Dempsey reviewed other documents and continued, “Dude. We still use RCS to control file revisions. We’re not even on GIT. And this SOP gives you very specific instructions if you want to roll back to the previous version. If I had written this bad boy, it would have just said ‘If you need to go to the previous revision and don’t know how to do it, either RTFM or Google it, motherfucker’. No wonder every single ticket that these asshats look at gets forwarded to ‘level fucking two’ for disposition. Christ, just let me take the ticket to begin with and we’ll save an hour and a half for every ticket that comes in.”

Rob Jamison, Manager, IT, confirmed the hire of complete fuckups indirectly and proudly. “Our outsourced helpdesk has saved the company literally thousands of dollars over the last four years. Yes, we had some learning curve issues at first, but I think that our team has risen to the occasion and written some truly epic SOP documents which allow us to deal with the massive turnover that we face every week and still provide the same level of service.”

Turnover on the helpdesk is roughly 3.4 employees per week. While high by industry standards, the SOP documents have provided the necessary institutional cushion required to maintain the ridiculously average standards the company’s employees have come to expect.

“I’d rather blow my fucking brains out than call that helpdesk. I had to put in a ticket to get my password reset, and it took a full week. A. Full. Week. During that time, I couldn’t work and we missed a critical deadline. I finally had to get my director to escalate. It was a fucking password reset.”

Rob Jamison addressed the issue by saying “The business has given us a mandate that IT services will cost a certain amount. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide the same level of service that we once did, but we are definitely making up for it in resource levels. We can hire 4 people for every US worker we let go, so as you can see, between our SOP documents and our sheer numbers, service levels will remain normalized over time.”

John Jonson, CFO, credited the IT department with maintaining outstanding financial controls while maintaining service levels. He then noticed a problem on his computer. After submitting a ticket, marked as “Executive” in the system, he was promptly greeted by a local IT technician who quickly and efficiently resolved his problem. “See, we’ve been able to maintain much lower costs and outstanding service levels.”