Some test personnel in our customer organization wanted to meet with development to review some changes to our design document. My manager called me and asked when would be a good time for me. I told him this morning would be fine. Then I went and studied up the most recent design document. I found some errors. Regardless, I was ready to go through it.
Right before I went home from the day, some weird things happened at work. First I got forwarded a meeting invite to a different meeting at the same time. I ignored it since I had just talked to my manager about meeting the testers in the customer organization. Then I got a call from my team lead. He said he would take over the tester discussion. I was supposed to go to the other meeting.
This all seemed wrong. I had no clue as to the topic of the other meeting. It was supposed to be a review of our design for some other new functionality. My team lead told me to call some of the other invitees. I called up another senior guy. He said he was just as clueless as me about it. Then I got an email from my manager stating that he expected us to lead the design discussions on this new change.
Now I understand that I need to be able to present material in front of the customer. This is not a problem. I am actually quite good at it. However the reason that I am good is that I am usually part of the team that makes the hard design decisions. Then I make sure I learn the material deeply and prepare for any customer presentations. This setup was nothing like this,
I had to call up my manager and tell him I was not comfortable with this. In fact, I had a good mind to escalate this up to the senior management in my company. Luckily my manager heard me, and said he had a lot of ideas about the design and what we needed to discuss with the customer. At that point, I got him to be the guy to present his ideas to the customer.
Another senior guy later joked, asking me whether I was going to lead the discussions with the customer. I told him that it would be a short presentation if that was the case. I would introduce myself, bring up a question or two, and quickly adjourn the meeting. As it turns out, the meeting lasted a long time. We only stopped because there was another meeting which people had to attend after ours.
Edgy Rebranding - I just read that 37Signals is changing their name to Basecamp. That seemed odd initially. I know them by 37Signals. Why give up all that brand juice? Sure...