FAQ
I'm curious how many of you belong to DBA teams where you rarely, if ever, go into an office and work side-by-side with other DBAs on your team. For those who answer "yes, I rarely go into the office ...", then have you come up with any effective methods for managing communication and support across the team?

My current team is spread across the world in 4 timezones and we use email almost exclusively for communication and monitoring. OEM & crontab monitoring is handled by sending us emails for various warning/critical events, on which we need to respond within a given amount of time. We also get various information emails from these monitoring jobs to keep track of what's going on across the many systems we support. All this leads to a tremendous volume of email.

What have we done to still be effective? All emails from monitoring jobs have a Subject line prefix that categorizes the email, so we can write all sorts of Outlook rules to manage the incoming emails. We've also worked hard at making sure we only get emails from these jobs when absolutely necessary for our job. I've also given examples of how to set Outlook rules to auto-forward incoming email to your cell phone when it's an emergency and you're oncall, even an example of how to create rules with multiple ANDs and ORs by flagging emails and then rules against those flagged emails.

Yet with all this, emails are still getting ignored and/or half read. Volume shouldn't be an excuse, because we all get tons of emails and organizational solutions have been presented. Emails I send out are also ignored/half read, so emailing about the issue won't work.

I'm not sure what else to do, which is why I'm asking you all for strategies/rules/guidelines that you follow. Is every DBA REQUIRED to set up a set of Outlook rules for managing support-related email? Do you have other methods and are they a requirement? Email doesn't appear to be going away, more systems seem to be 24 x 7 and DBAs seem to be given higher demands on what they monitor. To me it doesn't appear our current methods are working, much less handle future increases.

I'm not sure I want responses to this, but is the problem with me and that I'm too wordy, have too high of expectations and am a perfectionist?

Hopefully this thread can be a worthwhile discussion and not just ranting on others, which I can't help but do when trying to explain my current frustation. Thanks to anyone who is still reading this!

DAVID HERRING
DBA
Acxiom Corporation
EML   dave.herring@acxiom.com
TEL    630.944.4762
MBL   630.430.5988
1501 Opus Pl, Downers Grove, IL 60515, USA
WWW.ACXIOM.COM

The information contained in this communication is confidential, is intended only for the use of the recipient named above, and may be legally privileged. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please resend this communication to the sender and delete the original message or any copy of it from your computer system. Thank you.

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  • Testaj3 at Nov 2, 2011 at 2:31 pm
    Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"
    I've seen this problem with people sitting next to each other, email is
    unfortunately easily ignored and now there is no tracking of what is done,
    requests, etc.

    Eventually all of our oem alerts will be sending out help desk
    tickets(just as if someone called in), which cannot be ignored as they
    have escalations if no one picks it up and resolves it.

    Not sure that helped much.

    joe





    From:
    Herring Dave - dherri <Dave.Herring@acxiom.com>
    To:
    oracle-l List <oracle-l@freelists.org>
    Date:
    11/02/2011 10:24 AM
    Subject:
    Slight OT: Remote DBA team & effective support & communication
    Sent by:
    oracle-l-bounce@freelists.org



    I'm curious how many of you belong to DBA teams where you rarely, if ever,
    go into an office and work side-by-side with other DBAs on your team. For
    those who answer "yes, I rarely go into the office ...", then have you
    come up with any effective methods for managing communication and support
    across the team?

    My current team is spread across the world in 4 timezones and we use email
    almost exclusively for communication and monitoring. OEM & crontab
    monitoring is handled by sending us emails for various warning/critical
    events, on which we need to respond within a given amount of time. We
    also get various information emails from these monitoring jobs to keep
    track of what's going on across the many systems we support. All this
    leads to a tremendous volume of email.

    What have we done to still be effective? All emails from monitoring jobs
    have a Subject line prefix that categorizes the email, so we can write all
    sorts of Outlook rules to manage the incoming emails. We've also worked
    hard at making sure we only get emails from these jobs when absolutely
    necessary for our job. I've also given examples of how to set Outlook
    rules to auto-forward incoming email to your cell phone when it's an
    emergency and you're oncall, even an example of how to create rules with
    multiple ANDs and ORs by flagging emails and then rules against those
    flagged emails.

    Yet with all this, emails are still getting ignored and/or half read.
    Volume shouldn't be an excuse, because we all get tons of emails and
    organizational solutions have been presented. Emails I send out are also
    ignored/half read, so emailing about the issue won't work.

    I'm not sure what else to do, which is why I'm asking you all for
    strategies/rules/guidelines that you follow. Is every DBA REQUIRED to set
    up a set of Outlook rules for managing support-related email? Do you have
    other methods and are they a requirement? Email doesn't appear to be
    going away, more systems seem to be 24 x 7 and DBAs seem to be given
    higher demands on what they monitor. To me it doesn't appear our current
    methods are working, much less handle future increases.

    I'm not sure I want responses to this, but is the problem with me and that
    I'm too wordy, have too high of expectations and am a perfectionist?

    Hopefully this thread can be a worthwhile discussion and not just ranting
    on others, which I can't help but do when trying to explain my current
    frustation. Thanks to anyone who is still reading this!

    DAVID HERRING
    DBA
    Acxiom Corporation
    EML dave.herring@acxiom.com
    TEL 630.944.4762
    MBL 630.430.5988
    1501 Opus Pl, Downers Grove, IL 60515, USA
    WWW.ACXIOM.COM

    The information contained in this communication is confidential, is
    intended only for the use of the recipient named above, and may be legally
    privileged. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient,
    you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of
    this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this
    communication in error, please resend this communication to the sender and
    delete the original message or any copy of it from your computer system.
    Thank you.
  • Herring Dave - dherri at Nov 2, 2011 at 2:39 pm
    Joe, good point! I'll have to check if OEM has any plugins for CA ServiceDesk.
    DAVID HERRING
    DBA
    Acxiom Corporation
    EML dave.herring@acxiom.com
    TEL 630.944.4762
    MBL 630.430.5988
    1501 Opus Pl, Downers Grove, IL 60515, USA
    WWW.ACXIOM.COM<http://www.acxiom.com/>


    ________________________________
    The information contained in this communication is confidential, is intended only for the use of the recipient named above, and may be legally privileged. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please resend this communication to the sender and delete the original message or any copy of it from your computer system. Thank you.

    From: TESTAJ3@nationwide.com
    Sent: Wednesday, November 02, 2011 9:30 AM
    To: Herring Dave - dherri
    Cc: oracle-l List
    Subject: Re: Slight OT: Remote DBA team & effective support & communication


    I've seen this problem with people sitting next to each other, email is unfortunately easily ignored and now there is no tracking of what is done, requests, etc.

    Eventually all of our oem alerts will be sending out help desk tickets(just as if someone called in), which cannot be ignored as they have escalations if no one picks it up and resolves it.

    Not sure that helped much.

    joe

    [cid:image001.jpg@01CC9942.EE2B2D00]

    From:

    Herring Dave - dherri <Dave.Herring@acxiom.com>

    To:

    oracle-l List <oracle-l@freelists.org>

    Date:

    11/02/2011 10:24 AM

    Subject:

    Slight OT: Remote DBA team & effective support & communication

    Sent by:

    oracle-l-bounce@freelists.org


    ________________________________



    I'm curious how many of you belong to DBA teams where you rarely, if ever, go into an office and work side-by-side with other DBAs on your team. For those who answer "yes, I rarely go into the office ...", then have you come up with any effective methods for managing communication and support across the team?

    My current team is spread across the world in 4 timezones and we use email almost exclusively for communication and monitoring. OEM & crontab monitoring is handled by sending us emails for various warning/critical events, on which we need to respond within a given amount of time. We also get various information emails from these monitoring jobs to keep track of what's going on across the many systems we support. All this leads to a tremendous volume of email.

    What have we done to still be effective? All emails from monitoring jobs have a Subject line prefix that categorizes the email, so we can write all sorts of Outlook rules to manage the incoming emails. We've also worked hard at making sure we only get emails from these jobs when absolutely necessary for our job. I've also given examples of how to set Outlook rules to auto-forward incoming email to your cell phone when it's an emergency and you're oncall, even an example of how to create rules with multiple ANDs and ORs by flagging emails and then rules against those flagged emails.

    Yet with all this, emails are still getting ignored and/or half read. Volume shouldn't be an excuse, because we all get tons of emails and organizational solutions have been presented. Emails I send out are also ignored/half read, so emailing about the issue won't work.

    I'm not sure what else to do, which is why I'm asking you all for strategies/rules/guidelines that you follow. Is every DBA REQUIRED to set up a set of Outlook rules for managing support-related email? Do you have other methods and are they a requirement? Email doesn't appear to be going away, more systems seem to be 24 x 7 and DBAs seem to be given higher demands on what they monitor. To me it doesn't appear our current methods are working, much less handle future increases.

    I'm not sure I want responses to this, but is the problem with me and that I'm too wordy, have too high of expectations and am a perfectionist?

    Hopefully this thread can be a worthwhile discussion and not just ranting on others, which I can't help but do when trying to explain my current frustation. Thanks to anyone who is still reading this!

    DAVID HERRING
    DBA
    Acxiom Corporation
    EML dave.herring@acxiom.com
    TEL 630.944.4762
    MBL 630.430.5988
    1501 Opus Pl, Downers Grove, IL 60515, USA
    WWW.ACXIOM.COM

    The information contained in this communication is confidential, is intended only for the use of the recipient named above, and may be legally privileged. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please resend this communication to the sender and delete the original message or any copy of it from your computer system. Thank you.
  • Amaral, Rui at Nov 2, 2011 at 3:02 pm
    There's also one for remedy if you use that as well. But... Depends on whether your group pays attention or not. I was in a similar position as you but we all got fatigued with a lot of multiple alerts from several hundred prod machines and clusters that critical communications got missed.



    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Herring Dave - dherri
    Sent: Wednesday, November 02, 2011 10:38 AM
    To: TESTAJ3@nationwide.com <TESTAJ3@nationwide.com>
    Cc: oracle-l List <oracle-l@freelists.org>
    Subject: RE: Slight OT: Remote DBA team & effective support & communication

    Joe, good point! I'll have to check if OEM has any plugins for CA ServiceDesk.
    DAVID HERRING
    DBA
    Acxiom Corporation
    EML dave.herring@acxiom.com
    TEL 630.944.4762
    MBL 630.430.5988
    1501 Opus Pl, Downers Grove, IL 60515, USA
    WWW.ACXIOM.COM<http://www.acxiom.com/>


    ________________________________
    The information contained in this communication is confidential, is intended only for the use of the recipient named above, and may be legally privileged. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please resend this communication to the sender and delete the original message or any copy of it from your computer system. Thank you.

    From: TESTAJ3@nationwide.com
    Sent: Wednesday, November 02, 2011 9:30 AM
    To: Herring Dave - dherri
    Cc: oracle-l List
    Subject: Re: Slight OT: Remote DBA team & effective support & communication


    I've seen this problem with people sitting next to each other, email is unfortunately easily ignored and now there is no tracking of what is done, requests, etc.

    Eventually all of our oem alerts will be sending out help desk tickets(just as if someone called in), which cannot be ignored as they have escalations if no one picks it up and resolves it.

    Not sure that helped much.

    joe

    [cid:image001.jpg@01CC9942.EE2B2D00]

    From:

    Herring Dave - dherri <Dave.Herring@acxiom.com>

    To:

    oracle-l List <oracle-l@freelists.org>

    Date:

    11/02/2011 10:24 AM

    Subject:

    Slight OT: Remote DBA team & effective support & communication

    Sent by:

    oracle-l-bounce@freelists.org


    ________________________________



    I'm curious how many of you belong to DBA teams where you rarely, if ever, go into an office and work side-by-side with other DBAs on your team. For those who answer "yes, I rarely go into the office ...", then have you come up with any effective methods for managing communication and support across the team?

    My current team is spread across the world in 4 timezones and we use email almost exclusively for communication and monitoring. OEM & crontab monitoring is handled by sending us emails for various warning/critical events, on which we need to respond within a given amount of time. We also get various information emails from these monitoring jobs to keep track of what's going on across the many systems we support. All this leads to a tremendous volume of email.

    What have we done to still be effective? All emails from monitoring jobs have a Subject line prefix that categorizes the email, so we can write all sorts of Outlook rules to manage the incoming emails. We've also worked hard at making sure we only get emails from these jobs when absolutely necessary for our job. I've also given examples of how to set Outlook rules to auto-forward incoming email to your cell phone when it's an emergency and you're oncall, even an example of how to create rules with multiple ANDs and ORs by flagging emails and then rules against those flagged emails.

    Yet with all this, emails are still getting ignored and/or half read. Volume shouldn't be an excuse, because we all get tons of emails and organizational solutions have been presented. Emails I send out are also ignored/half read, so emailing about the issue won't work.

    I'm not sure what else to do, which is why I'm asking you all for strategies/rules/guidelines that you follow. Is every DBA REQUIRED to set up a set of Outlook rules for managing support-related email? Do you have other methods and are they a requirement? Email doesn't appear to be going away, more systems seem to be 24 x 7 and DBAs seem to be given higher demands on what they monitor. To me it doesn't appear our current methods are working, much less handle future increases.

    I'm not sure I want responses to this, but is the problem with me and that I'm too wordy, have too high of expectations and am a perfectionist?

    Hopefully this thread can be a worthwhile discussion and not just ranting on others, which I can't help but do when trying to explain my current frustation. Thanks to anyone who is still reading this!

    DAVID HERRING
    DBA
    Acxiom Corporation
    EML dave.herring@acxiom.com
    TEL 630.944.4762
    MBL 630.430.5988
    1501 Opus Pl, Downers Grove, IL 60515, USA
    WWW.ACXIOM.COM

    The information contained in this communication is confidential, is intended only for the use of the recipient named above, and may be legally privileged. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please resend this communication to the sender and delete the original message or any copy of it from your computer system. Thank you.
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  • Kellyn Pot'vin at Nov 2, 2011 at 2:56 pm
    I've worked in remote scenarios and admit fully to simply missing office banter, but when it came to communication between remote DBA teams, my previous employer and team did a good job at this with ICQ chat sessions for the specific team that was open throughout the day and phone calls when we needed to hear a voice.
    The person on call addressed issues.  If you had a really bad run of issues in a 24hr period, it was great having people in so many timezones, as team members rotated the on call with their workday.  I worked with a great group of guys, (Yells out to Fahd Mizra, Andy Klock, Paul Logan and Mark Brinsmead... :)) I know of a couple weekends where I was having some challenges, had been up for extended hours and Fahd took the pager from me even though there was no expectation for him to do so, he just took on call because he's a great team member, (and for me not be grumpy on Monday and turn into Skippy, my evil twin sister!)
    With so many people working around the world, it was essential to have solid hand-offs from those on the east coast to me on Mountain time, then from me to Australia, then for them to do so again to Europe...  This was all tracked in a ticketing system.  Nothing is perfect, but I felt that if the hand-off was done effectively, notes were well written out, one DBA was easily able to take over for the next and support was smoothly transitioned.

    Outlook rules or any email systems filtering is almost mandatory when you have multiple clients served with multiple notifications, escalation preferences, etc.  This always seemed a bit more complicated and wasn't always the easiest to manage, but again, multiple clients and complex rules were the biggest hurdle to that issue.  Where I am now, one client allows you a lot more control and I am one that if it is not a notification I need to respond to, no page better occur.  The problem of "white noise" paging and email notifications swamping the DBA team and making them unable to know what to respond to and what to ignore is a huge factor for me.  I simply won't tolerate it for very long and have been known to notify a boss or two in the past that I will be filtering white noise, no discussion otherwise.
    I do have rules filtering my backup emails, etc. to folders.  Unless there is a failure, don't want to see it in my inbox.  Most of my DBA team is the same on that one, but one of my favorite DBA's to work with in my career wanted everything and he went through it all each morning.  His personal preference and I didn't argue the point with him, he was exceptionally competent, but I was the fire-fighter on the team, where he was the project DBA, so he didn't need to be as aware of problems ASAP as I seemed to be.
    I believe that remote DBA teams do work as effectively as the team members on them.  If a DBA is naturally a good communicator, they will do well in a remote DBA situation, if not, there will be challenges.



    Kellyn Pot'Vin
    Sr. Database Administrator and Developer
    DBAKevlar.com


    ________________________________
    From: Herring Dave - dherri <Dave.Herring@acxiom.com>
    To: oracle-l List <oracle-l@freelists.org>
    Sent: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 8:22 AM
    Subject: Slight OT: Remote DBA team & effective support & communication

    I'm curious how many of you belong to DBA teams where you rarely, if ever, go into an office and work side-by-side with other DBAs on your team.  For those who answer "yes, I rarely go into the office ...", then have you come up with any effective methods for managing communication and support across the team?

    My current team is spread across the world in 4 timezones and we use email almost exclusively for communication and monitoring.  OEM & crontab monitoring is handled by sending us emails for various warning/critical events, on which we need to respond within a given amount of time.  We also get various information emails from these monitoring jobs to keep track of what's going on across the many systems we support.  All this leads to a tremendous volume of email.

    What have we done to still be effective?  All emails from monitoring jobs have a Subject line prefix that categorizes the email, so we can write all sorts of Outlook rules to manage the incoming emails.  We've also worked hard at making sure we only get emails from these jobs when absolutely necessary for our job.  I've also given examples of how to set Outlook rules to auto-forward incoming email to your cell phone when it's an emergency and you're oncall, even an example of how to create rules with multiple ANDs and ORs by flagging emails and then rules against those flagged emails.

    Yet with all this, emails are still getting ignored and/or half read.  Volume shouldn't be an excuse, because we all get tons of emails and organizational solutions have been presented.  Emails I send out are also ignored/half read, so emailing about the issue won't work.

    I'm not sure what else to do, which is why I'm asking you all for strategies/rules/guidelines that you follow.  Is every DBA REQUIRED to set up a set of Outlook rules for managing support-related email?  Do you have other methods and are they a requirement?  Email doesn't appear to be going away, more systems seem to be 24 x 7 and DBAs seem to be given higher demands on what they monitor.  To me it doesn't appear our current methods are working, much less handle future increases.

    I'm not sure I want responses to this, but is the problem with me and that I'm too wordy, have too high of expectations and am a perfectionist?

    Hopefully this thread can be a worthwhile discussion and not just ranting on others, which I can't help but do when trying to explain my current frustation.  Thanks to anyone who is still reading this!

    DAVID HERRING
    DBA
    Acxiom Corporation
    EML   dave.herring@acxiom.com
    TEL    630.944.4762
    MBL   630.430.5988
    1501 Opus Pl, Downers Grove, IL 60515, USA
    WWW.ACXIOM.COM

    The information contained in this communication is confidential, is intended only for the use of the recipient named above, and may be legally privileged. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please resend this communication to the sender and delete the original message or any copy of it from your computer system. Thank you.
  • Herring Dave - dherri at Nov 2, 2011 at 3:33 pm
    Thanks to everyone for your replies, online and off. I've got a nice list to go back to management with to ask for their support.

    DAVID HERRING
    DBA
    Acxiom Corporation
    EML   dave.herring@acxiom.com
    TEL    630.944.4762
    MBL   630.430.5988
    1501 Opus Pl, Downers Grove, IL 60515, USA
    WWW.ACXIOM.COM

    The information contained in this communication is confidential, is intended only for the use of the recipient named above, and may be legally privileged. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please resend this communication to the sender and delete the original message or any copy of it from your computer system. Thank you.


    -----Original Message-----
    From: oracle-l-bounce@freelists.org On Behalf Of Herring Dave - dherri
    Sent: Wednesday, November 02, 2011 9:23 AM
    To: oracle-l List
    Subject: Slight OT: Remote DBA team & effective support & communication

    I'm curious how many of you belong to DBA teams where you rarely, if ever, ...

    --
    http://www.freelists.org/webpage/oracle-l
  • Dba DBA at Nov 10, 2011 at 8:11 pm
    The DBA team I am on is not as remote as yours, but we have
    5 people in an office in virginia
    1 person who works from home down state
    3 people in florida (2 permanently work from home)
    3 people in India (handle over night work)
    We have developers in several other states. The client headquarters is in
    the midwest. I talk to them on the phone, but I have not met any of them.
    There are also Systems Administrators in Europe and India as well (they
    follow the sun for 24x7 support). 2 days ago, I was on the phone with a
    customer in England who was having performance problems. I can work from
    home whenever I want.

    Before joining this team in May, I spent 2 years on a micro-managed
    government project where we were not allowed to work from home unless it
    was explicitly approved in advance. So I can compare and constrast. This
    company has been managing remote groups for years.

    Here are some things I have noticed that make this situation work.

    1. Managers know how to manage remote employees. They have experience doing
    it. I am not sure how to explain this. I am just comparing it to the silly
    micromanagement no one got anything done ever management from the
    government project I was on.

    2. There is not any micromanagement. I tell my manager far more than he
    ever asks me. I can pretty much do what I want (with in reason).
    " Is every DBA REQUIRED to set up a set of Outlook rules for managing
    support-related email? "
    No. Never mentioned. Micro-management does not work on remote team.
    I don't have an SMS plan on my phone, so I would not auto-forward anything.
    I have a pager, but I only need it when I am oncall(the India team handles
    overnight work during the week).
    You need an oncall rotation and oncall pagers or blackberries. Our crontabs
    can send pages.

    3. The people that are hired here are the kind of people that can work on
    teams like this. People who work to 'not my fault' and think working on a
    problem is send an email and then surf the web. You get a response 2 days
    later, it is not 100% of what you want, so you send 1 more email and surf
    the web wouldn't last long here. Or people who think working from home is
    a day off.

    4. Instant messenger is critical. Need to be on all day when you are at
    work.

    5. Like all operations team, we get tons of emails. I send them to folders.
    Other people don't. I don't read 80% of my email. Other people read all of
    it. See 'lack of micromanagement'.

    6. People should be assigned specific tasks/databases to monitor. Probably
    need backup. People here can pick up different tasks, but there is 1-2
    people that handle most things. This way everyone does not need to read
    every email or be involved in every meeting

    7. Weekly 1 hour meeting where we discuss everything. The Indians call in
    from home. It is harder to do this with as many timezones that your team is
    in. You may need to rotate the time and people who would be overnight at
    that time, will miss it. Can always have someone take notes and send a
    short email.

    8. Team Wiki page is very useful (we use plone. it has more features). This
    way people can document what they worked on and you don't need as much
    email. you can also document procedures, scripts, etc... People need to be
    willing to do this.

    9. You need an oncall rotation. Setup oncall responsibilities and which
    critical emails go to a pager. Company should provide this. As I said, I
    don't have an SMS plan, so I would not be willing to send emails to my
    phone. I don't use text messenging. Oncall person needs to be able to
    actually fix problems. From experience, it is utterly annoying to get paged
    for the exact same issues at 2 AM for 2 years and not be allowed to fix it.
    But be expected to get up, click a couple buttons and be required to send
    out an email stating "I am watching this".


    I think most of it is the type of people who work here and that managers
    know how to manage remote teams. You need people who don't need to be
    micromanaged(lets face it many people won't do anything without
    micromanagement) and you need managers who get it. That is more than just 1
    manager. Since some places have micromanagement as a culture where the
    managers are micromanaged by their managers. If someone told me I was
    required to set up mailbox folders there way, I would go 'ok' and then
    ignore them.

    The other problem you may run into is the 'we have always done it this
    way'. So things are a mess because they have always been a mess and no one
    wants to bother changing since it has always been that way. You can't fight
    city hall. If that is your situation, look for a new job. Those jobs suck.
  • Mark W. Farnham at Nov 10, 2011 at 10:56 pm
    What an excellent post!

    One thing I'd like to add: It is likely that the manager that is successful
    in managing remote employees succeeded during the hiring process. No one on
    God's green earth can manage a remote employee who does not want the team to
    succeed. (Unless you call firing management, but even that tends to depress
    the remaining teams.) Motivated people who want to succeed and are
    reasonably competent are relatively easy to manage remotely.

    Again, thanks for the wonderful blow by blow description of a case where it
    is working. And a global team to handle the 24 hour a day world is a boon.

    Regards,

    mwf

    -----Original Message-----
    From: oracle-l-bounce@freelists.org
    On Behalf Of Dba DBA
    Sent: Thursday, November 10, 2011 3:10 PM
    To: oracle-l@freelists.org
    Subject: Re: Slight OT: Remote DBA team & effective support & communication

    The DBA team I am on is not as remote as yours, but we have
    5 people in an office in virginia
    1 person who works from home down state
    3 people in florida (2 permanently work from home)
    3 people in India (handle over night work) We have developers in several
    other states. The client headquarters is in the midwest. I talk to them on
    the phone, but I have not met any of them.
    There are also Systems Administrators in Europe and India as well (they
    follow the sun for 24x7 support). 2 days ago, I was on the phone with a
    customer in England who was having performance problems. I can work from
    home whenever I want.

    Before joining this team in May, I spent 2 years on a micro-managed
    government project where we were not allowed to work from home unless it was
    explicitly approved in advance. So I can compare and constrast. This company
    has been managing remote groups for years.

    Here are some things I have noticed that make this situation work.

    1. Managers know how to manage remote employees. They have experience doing
    it. I am not sure how to explain this. I am just comparing it to the silly
    micromanagement no one got anything done ever management from the government
    project I was on.

    2. There is not any micromanagement. I tell my manager far more than he ever
    asks me. I can pretty much do what I want (with in reason).
    " Is every DBA REQUIRED to set up a set of Outlook rules for managing
    support-related email? "
    No. Never mentioned. Micro-management does not work on remote team.
    I don't have an SMS plan on my phone, so I would not auto-forward anything.
    I have a pager, but I only need it when I am oncall(the India team handles
    overnight work during the week).
    You need an oncall rotation and oncall pagers or blackberries. Our crontabs
    can send pages.

    3. The people that are hired here are the kind of people that can work on
    teams like this. People who work to 'not my fault' and think working on a
    problem is send an email and then surf the web. You get a response 2 days
    later, it is not 100% of what you want, so you send 1 more email and surf
    the web wouldn't last long here. Or people who think working from home is a
    day off.

    4. Instant messenger is critical. Need to be on all day when you are at
    work.

    5. Like all operations team, we get tons of emails. I send them to folders.
    Other people don't. I don't read 80% of my email. Other people read all of
    it. See 'lack of micromanagement'.

    6. People should be assigned specific tasks/databases to monitor. Probably
    need backup. People here can pick up different tasks, but there is 1-2
    people that handle most things. This way everyone does not need to read
    every email or be involved in every meeting

    7. Weekly 1 hour meeting where we discuss everything. The Indians call in
    from home. It is harder to do this with as many timezones that your team is
    in. You may need to rotate the time and people who would be overnight at
    that time, will miss it. Can always have someone take notes and send a
    short email.

    8. Team Wiki page is very useful (we use plone. it has more features). This
    way people can document what they worked on and you don't need as much
    email. you can also document procedures, scripts, etc... People need to be
    willing to do this.

    9. You need an oncall rotation. Setup oncall responsibilities and which
    critical emails go to a pager. Company should provide this. As I said, I
    don't have an SMS plan, so I would not be willing to send emails to my
    phone. I don't use text messenging. Oncall person needs to be able to
    actually fix problems. From experience, it is utterly annoying to get paged
    for the exact same issues at 2 AM for 2 years and not be allowed to fix it.
    But be expected to get up, click a couple buttons and be required to send
    out an email stating "I am watching this".


    I think most of it is the type of people who work here and that managers
    know how to manage remote teams. You need people who don't need to be
    micromanaged(lets face it many people won't do anything without
    micromanagement) and you need managers who get it. That is more than just 1
    manager. Since some places have micromanagement as a culture where the
    managers are micromanaged by their managers. If someone told me I was
    required to set up mailbox folders there way, I would go 'ok' and then
    ignore them.

    The other problem you may run into is the 'we have always done it this way'.
    So things are a mess because they have always been a mess and no one wants
    to bother changing since it has always been that way. You can't fight city
    hall. If that is your situation, look for a new job. Those jobs suck.




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