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<quote>Technical Writer wrote: > If it takes "experienced people" to perform what should be relatively routine tasks Oops, I mean, is this a strip club or something? What happened to the Technical Writing and Rock Climbing department that used to be on this floor? Darned elevator. Ned Bedingerdoc -at- edwordsmith -dot- comIt is flattering to the ego to believe one is doing work of such complexity that one is the only person capable of doing it, and that one is, therefore, unreplaceable for all practical purposes. It is also seriously misguided. In a labor market filled with highly skilled, competent people willing to work for modest salaries, the "be-nice-to-me-or-I-will-quit" threat rings hollow. In fact, most TWs can be replaced in a flash, and usually by someone as (or better) skilled.
In the occasional cases that employees have managed to create "job security" by keeping management in the dark about what they are actually doing, it is a failure of management. From a manager's perspective, any time a specific employee is "unreplaceable," it is in the best interest of the organization to resolve that situation as soon as possible. Specifically, the "unreplaceable" person is a threat to the bottom-line and continuity of the organization. Any manager who does not realize that--and take action to resolve it--should not be a manager.
The exception would be specific task accomplishment, for which contractors can be used, and then only on an ad hoc basis to accomplish the specific task. In any situation involving long-term or "permanent" employees, it is in the best interest of the organization to assure that no employee is ever in the position of holding the organization hostage because he or she is the only person who can do a specific job, or complete a specific project.
Again, that is from a manager's perspective, not the perspective of the employee. Back in the olden days when waterfalls were considered reasonable software development, and months could go by when no one really knew what the IT department was doing or why, "star programmers" could hold companies hostage because they were the only ones who could understand the programs they were writing. Those days are gone forever in all but a handful of dinosaur organizations. Outsourcing of IT work is as much to retain (or regain) control of the process as to save money.
In is in the best interest of organizational longevity that tasks be developed in a manner that facilitates completion, not in a manner that caters to (and depends on) the performance of a few "key" employees. Again, any manager who fails to grasp that basic principle has no business being a manager.
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