Saturday, 7 October 2006

Exasperation - an anger fuelled emotion

Swing low, swing moodily

After the project I am currently on, I do wonder if I would have to take an Anger Management course or Exasperation Curtailment Therapy. Because in the past few weeks, my moods have swung between anger and exasperation, in some cases, I expressed both emotions simultaneously that the pain of it all leads to almost hysterical laughter.

If things could get worse, this project has the propensity to plumb the depths of of everything bad about project management.

Microsoft Church

Yesterday, I took the day off to attend a Microsoft jaunt, basically, every April; highly technical people meet at some expensive hotel somewhere in America for the Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) which could pass for a big-time religious camp-meeting.

There, Technical Evangelists prognosticate and almost outdo Nostradamus about where we are at, what is being planned and what to expect. These meetings afford the opportunity to engage the people who know about the problems we know and seeking radical thinking for effective solutions.

Six months after that camp-meeting, Microsoft sends out a couple of missionaries with the precious bread-crumbs and news of those events, only this time, we are much more closer to the timelines that were first mooted in April.

Besides, we have what they call Technical Drilldowns which are talks and demonstrations which make complicated things look easy; we are more than an appreciative audience when these super-gurus visit us.

Breadcrumbs worth gold dust

So, this was my second Best of MMS Roadshow which took place just outside Amsterdam – we get invited and it is free – a day of just catching up with what is going on and after the one last year, it is the most valuable knowledge enhancement activity you can participate in, if you manage systems with Microsoft products.

One of the highlights of the day was when we were told that application dependency chains have been improved upon in a product I have worked with for the past 10 years.

Application dependency which is the way you install applications in a pre-determined sequence has been hellish to-date – you had to make changes to each application in the chain to create the desired sequence. In one of my projects, the chain was 24 applications deep; it got me thinking seriously about what could be done about it.

For years, experts in Microsoft Systems Management Server soon to be called System Center could wager that the product was developed by hired hands that had no concept of the way Microsoft did things – the interface was both stodgy and lacked intuitiveness.

Anyway, I fired off a wish list to Microsoft about Application dependency, combining ideas of different technologies that Microsoft would be aware of; well, just as I was preparing a question to ask the speaker about it, he launched into this new feature that could be found in System Center – my wish had been granted and the implementation so well thought through, it was like 3 wishes in one humongous delivery.

Rotten act after class act

The day drew to a close with a delivery from one of the local partners which was not just appalling it was outrageously lack-lustre, I scored the presenters 1 on a scale of 1 to 10 where excellent was 10 and believe me, that was generous.

How could they unleash on us such tripe after 6 hours of listening to other exciting people speak about interesting things a sloth’s equivalent of a car race?

At the Q&A session, my question just like last year, won me this time, a pair of System Center headphones and a 512MB USB flash drive, previously, I had won a pair of noise reduction headphones.

Just a little issue

The day closed with a call from work that the desktop prototype we were about to launch had an application which should not have been installed as part of the core list of applications.

Well, I would not go through the whole story of how I tried to get the people in charge to make up their minds about what applications should be where – that is however not the painful part – it is the fact that this prototype was the 17th and people have been testing this things for almost 2 weeks, online for some Smart Alec to find this issue now.

No, I did not go into apoplectic rage, I was more reserved in the I upbraided all involved; when I tried to remove the application, I found that it had been so messed up with, I decided it would have to stay in the prototype.

Basically, if the people I work for cannot be decisive or make decisions that would help experts like me achieve the goals I have been hired for, well, I would make those decisions and those decisions would be the prevailing decisions.

Somehow, one just has to take the bull by the horns and wrestle to the ground and subdue it completely – where resolution is lacking, the hired hand gains ascendancy – that is the law of the technical jungle to put it blandly.

Breeding 101 for coat check assistants

Well, really, my job as an expert is to bring it all to a head and deliver a solution.

It was time to go home and I went to the coat check to collect my things – bag was fine, umbrella was dry, overcoat was OK, and where was my hat? Tucked into the sleeve of my overcoat. Sacrilege!!!

I understand that not everyone wears hats, in fact, I have only seen a few places where the concierge knows what to do with a coat, a hat and a cane – my own personally designed hat ruined by some uncultured cretin of a coat check assistant – I was livid, but for the quality of the material, I would have had the manager of the hotel ordering a new one from my milliner’s in Cologne. Struth!

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