Thursday, 8 January 2004

Urging urgency urgently urges on

Work not urging enough
As patron to the Insomniacs Anonymous, one was up again at 02:30 hrs by the captain's log and found some work to do.
Harking back to the blog on customer requirements, one had to finish the report on one's findings, which had been delayed over the holidays for the reasons that holidays are supposed to be holidays and not workdays.
Therefore, the concluding parts were written as indications of what had to be done to alleviate the sufferings and solve the problems the customer highlighted. The topical issues covered performance, ease of use and communication, one felt quite gratified by the work.
By 05:45 hrs on the captain's log, a little lie-in with the week's Economist to serve as sheep-counting, one caught the slumber train and arrived at about 09:37 hrs. Late, late, what would one do?
One of the great successes of our team is the remote access via the Web to our Citrix environment, which gives a geek like one full access to all systems one has regimen over.
So, rushing in to work was not an option for a planned delivery of shortest shadow. Crumbs! After all done, the spell-checker in Outlook freezes, and all work is lost. No help could retrieve that laborious out-pouring of prose, forlorn but not hopeless, another opportunity beckoned through an alternative email interface.
Hardly, had the report landed on the boss's desk, a meeting to assemble at 13:30 on the vaguest agenda though referring to the report but covering a wider issue. Accepted and was at work for 12:15.
Urgency of personality psychology
During the holidays, the CEO had formally asked for information about the customer issues raised and wanted a reaction as soon as practicable. In a one-off response having checked one's office email on that day, one urged that political expediency should take not the place of carefully laid out plans to resolve a number of those issues.
Well, the boss had convened the meeting to arrive at ideas of what needs to be done to solve these problems. We were at pains to stress that we had started on this weeks before and had plans which were underway, and that the report needed discussion that is more technical before any conclusions could be reached.
Nay, said the boss, with the mercurial ability to belittle the critical for the sake of getting his own way.
However, seeing that the thought waves would not converge, the meeting attracted a lot more input from other interested parties, the kick-off managed excellently by the Operations Director who doubles as second-taker - since minutes mean nothing in our organisation - and consequently secretary - bless him!
Anyway, where one could not concur was where the boss being an expert in situation clairvoyance was of the opinion that the CEO's mind would be amenable to a particular slant in our presentation rather than the presentation as we saw it.
Well, where would we be without the benefits of that kind of profiling?
In fact, the driving factor was the urgency urged on us by the CEO through the CIO and when that wind blows, all trees bow and some get felled.
Not impressed, said one, but one has to gel at times in teams that seem to be going the other way. One is not the sole source of objectivity, at the risk of arrogance.
Urgently deploy
Just as the Goosy Gander in the nursery rhyme met the old man who would not say his prayers, it became apparent that the last year did not inspire positive New Year's resolutions in the office lives of certain well-known colleagues.
Once again, a major change to a critical application needed an urgent deployment and this by Monday. One checked, today is Thursday and one does not do weekends without duress.
This change happens to handle a rather less critical daily workaround and satisfies the requirement of certain regional sites to take no record of staff who work out of hours.
One is at times caught up in the unethical and downright nasty in the execution of management policy.
The user base on which this update was tested was one expert application analyst with a sign-off by the manager of the project. One can only portend that this clique had moved from bad to worse.
This rollout goes to over 600 computers in five regions and one is to roll this out on the wing of one non-representative user and the prayer of the manager, propped up by directorate escalations. I think not and one is not that easily scared either.
Containing the urges to rebuke
Being one who does not suffer fools gladly to a searing fault. Restraint and patience when one encounters those catalysts are a weakness almost too great to overcome.
In not too many words, one rebuked lightly stating that the test base was too insignificant to be of value, that the deployment would not occur for a week allowing for prudent deployment and that this presented an opportunity to collate all pending actions for this application.
One received thanks for the prompt response, whilst the scolded recoiled to lick wounds, though not mortal by any standards that one is wont to inflict.
By the way, another urge to deploy the urgent lost urgency when one of the protagonists was reportedly indisposed and it was reckoned that no tests had been done for that request to deploy by Sunday.
The New Year hardly brings the change one envisages in others, rather one just has to learn to grin and bear it more.
Applying to the Corporate Masochists Anonymous - the urge is compelling.

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