Talkers and Workers

A higher priority problem from the customer came in. We were in the middle of fixing other high priority problems as well. I decided to take the new problem myself. I hate working on these.

Here is the normal pattern. Some manager wants a conference call. A lot of people join. They all try very hard to suond intelligent. However they ask a lot of questions. The only person who can usually answer those questions are people like me who do the actual work.

That means I have two jobs. I got to answer questions of clueless people trying to sound smart. Then I also have to determine the right questions to get to the solution. This is just a total fail.

Luckily with this latest problem, I was able to take the initiative. I dove in and said I had some ideas and was investigating them. I finished the total solution before any conference calls got started. Winning.

Who to Hire

I just read an article that says you should hire for the person and not their specific skills. For my project, I don't know whether I agree. We have very specific technical needs on our project. We don't have time for you to learn on the job. Techn skills are king here.

But what if you had the lineup shown in the picture here? At first glance, you might want to hire the female because she looks good. Those who look good usually get the advantage. The other two guys look not quite right.

However you need some hackers to get the job done on your project. Maybe you do want someone who looks like a hacker. Along this thinking, I might have to choose the guy in the middle. He is squinting like he stayed up all night writing code in the dark. That is my kind of guy.

Visual Studio Debacle

We are upgrading to a newer version of Visual Studio for our next big software release. There was an event in the schedule where we were supposed to get the new software. That milestone day came and went.

After a few weeks, I heard some managers talking about the schedule. I mentioned that the scheduled was wack because we did not have the software. I explained that without the software, no progress would be made. Furthermore we were losing weeks that could not be made up later.

Suddenly the Visual Studio software became a hot item. Why does it take an emergency for me to get the tools I need? The customer arranged for somebody to install the software on my system. The big boss told me I was going to be getting a call from the installer. It never happened.

Instead I found out that somebody installed the software on my system. They put it in the wrong place. I let them know the install was wrong. This simple software upgrade is turning into a nightmare. Now the real work can begin. Let's upgrade our projects to use the new compiler and IDE.

Just in Time Departure

I had a rough weekend. Had to work on a high priority problem for the customer. So when I came to work on Monday, I was tired. I was on a mission. There were some set tasks I needed to accomplish. There were also some risks I needed to mitigate in order ot meet the schedule I proposed.

As soon as my tasks were done, I hit the road to go home. My team lead delayed me a bit because he needed some info. But after that conversation I was out the door. It turns out that was the best move of the day.

Right after I left, a couple more high priority problems came in. Now I would not have been able to do much on these new problems if I stuck around. I was already burning out. Plus I needed to concentrate on the problem I was working on first.

I came in early the next day. A lot of developers were already busy working early in the morning. That sounded strange. They were working on the new problems that came in. This is a good thing. Me not being there forced management to get other developers involved. There is only one question. Should I bolt early today too? We shall see.

Tricked Again

There was another high priority problem reported by our customers. I thought I was safe. The problem was obviously in a part of the system I don't work on. The team had a conference call to talk about this problem.

I should have know I was getting set up when the team lead responsible for the problematic part of the system started saying this was not his problem. I fell for the bait. That's when I did some research to prove it was in that part of the system.

Next I alerted management to the fact that the developer who manned this specific program actually left the company. I advised them to appoint a new developer to be responsible. Next thing I know, I am in another conference call to work out how we were going to fix this problem.

Initially they were talking crazy about the fix being done in a day or two. I told them no way. Next thing I know, I got signed up to set up the data and do the testing for the fix. They actually somehow got the guy who left the company to develop the fix. Dang. The testing is the hard part of this problem. I should have volunteered to do the fix. Ok. I helped shape the rollout schedule for the fix.

Now to meet the schedule I was going to have to do some weekend work. That was not optimal for me, but I was going to do it. Then I get a call from a manager saying the customer wants the fix even earlier. That's when I knew I had it all wrong and I was being set up. After some heated debate, my original schedule was accepted. In the future, I got to do Dilbert style and pad the heck out of my estimates.