Monday, January 02, 2006

Holidays? What holidays?

I wish I could say the lack of posting the past two weeks has been due to family obligations over the holidays. Instead, it's mostly been due to "going live" with a large IT (Information Technology) project at work.

The original plan didn't include this particular foolish timeline. I learned a long time ago to never turn on a new system on a Friday, near holidays and so on. However, outside influences dictated this timeline, with pretty much predictable results. While it has been a pretty smooth process, there have been some problems (minor, thankfully), and the solutions to the problems have been delayed because most people, technical support people included, are smart enough to take off some time around the holidays (all of them) in the end-of-the-year period.

You can tell that the long hours my team and our business end users have been working, when added to the normal stress that comes at this time of year, have dulled the senses, frayed tempers, caused a loss of perspective and proportion, led to family friction and just generally gotten everyone ready to rip out the throat of the next person who utters an unkind word.

The stupid part of the whole thing is that those "outside influences" have also been the major reasons that the project not only won't be done on the foolish timeline we have adopted, but probably won't get done on my original schedule.

As always, there are lessons to be learned. The two biggest ones I'm taking from this project are as follows. :

First, when forces outside your control (read bureaucrats at your parent organization) start dictating what, where, how and when you can implement a project, yet they have not been a part of the project planning, have never visited the site and don't have any expertise in the systems you're working with, expect to have problems out your ying-yang. They won't be easily addressable, either. These problems will lead to everyone involved being at each others throats. The project may survive and even be successful, but it will never be as good as it should have been.

Second, when the first problem happens, tune up your resume and get the job search mechanism in gear, because unless something miraculous happens, the place where you're working isn't long for this world.

Pity too, because I kind of like where I'm at.

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