[workstuff] Welcome to Matt’s work journal!

If you are reading this, it’s because you asked to be on the filter for my workstuff journal. I do ask that you don’t share this journal with anyone, mostly because I want to feel comfortable posting things here that I might not want people I work with to see. There probably won’t be anything terribly juicy, but you know how that goes.

So for starters, a little background on my new job. I am the Manager of IT Operations for Apartments.com. I started here about six weeks ago. Apartments.com is a part of a larger company called Classified Ventures, who is owned by Belo Corporation, Gannett Company, The McClatchy Company, Tribune Company and The Washington Post. We work in three major “verticals” – automotive classifieds (Cars.com), rental property classifieds (Apartments.com), and real estate (HomeScape.com and HomeGain.com). Within the verticals, we pretty much do our own thing – so I am in charge of all the infrastructure for the Apartments.com website(s). We have a central Corporate Technology group that handles things that cross all verticals (messaging, desktop, network, storage, etc), so I don’t deal with those things directly (although I am the main interface to that group for Apartments). I am a direct report to the CTO for Apartments.com.

Currently, my team is not super huge. I have one system administrator who reports to me, and am currently interviewing for a second sysadmin to join my team. The current sys admin (we’ll call him “B_____”) has been with the company for 8 years, and has a lot of stored information in his brain. One of my challenges is going to be getting all of that information documented, so we no longer have a “single point of failure” in the knowledge department.

Another issue we encounter is that as Apartments (and CV as a whole) has been growing like gangbusters, the process has not grown with it. A lot of things are still done according to the “small shop” mentality around here – and that’s something that needs to change. Of course, I can only change the things that have to do with my group, but hopefully it will help drive larger change as well.

The first major change I have implemented in the process by which my team in engaged. Currently, people are used to doing everything “ad hoc” – they are used to approaching B_____ whenever they need something, and just asking. This makes time management very difficult for B_____, and also makes it next to impossible for me to properly forecast resources towards projects and support. So I have requested that the other groups follow the engagement process I’ve drafted for anything they need from Tech Ops. So far, nobody’s complained yet, but then again, it’s still really new.

B______ is actually on vacation for the rest of the year, so it’s up to me to hold down the fort while he’s gone. We’ll see how that goes.

~ by Matt Stratton on December 17, 2007.

2 Responses to “[workstuff] Welcome to Matt’s work journal!”

  1. No complaints that you know of is a good sign, even if the process is very new. And timing is rather good if the usual PoC is on vacation. That gives you a much better shot of some people actually using the new process early on, and viewing it in a positive light, since it solves the problem for them of what to do when he’s gone.

    I’ll be interested to hear how that works out (presumably you don’t mind, since we’re not in competition.) Our IT section is evolving pretty quickly, and although it’s headed by someone very capable, he’s also very young & tends to take on too much himself because everything’s always urgent. Right now, things are pretty informal, and it works well enough, but we’re always expanding, and currently looking to hire a new junior IT person, and I think there’s a good chance we’ll need to get a little more formal about distributing the IT work.

  2. wow – sounds great! have you talked to tom about this? you all would have lots to talk about. i think that conversation should occur in kansas city. while carrie and i are getting pedicures. 🙂

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