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2003-03-20 - 1:07 p.m.
Upon my arrival in Officeville I was thrown into a large project for one of the company's biggest clients. The task at hand was to redo the client's website and provide them with a back end application for administrative purposes. I was to do development on the public site. The learning curve was somewhat steep but I'm always up for a challenge and I had the good fortune of being assigned to work with North Carolina, a guy committed to quality workmanship and doing the job the right way -- my sort of chap. It wasn't long before we were on our way to developing some very well written applications. It also wasn't long before the project's roadblocks began to surface.
We were nearly a year from the project's deadline so no one was treating the project with any sort of urgency. Considerable time was spent in meetings, discussing specs, going and back and forth with requirements changes. Emails and other communication were given responses when people go around to it. No one was in any hurry to provide me and North Carolina with the material we needed to get our applications out the door.
I spent hours on end trying to drag vital information out of various people on the project. Unfortunately mind reading is not one of my super powers so I was dependent on my co-workers to give me information I needed to do my work. On the rare occasions that information was volunteered it was usually from some one passing me in the hallway after 6 in the evening when I had no pen or paper handy. I'd scramble for a means to record whatever information being provided but it was certainly tricky to keep track of information that came in that way. Mostly, I'd stalk people, checking their public calendars to see when they'd be out of their meetings and accost them at their desks for answers to pressing questions. A lot of time was simply spent in hurry up and wait mode.
The abundant wait time gave me the opportunity to become well versed in Officevillese -- an acronym based language. I eventually got to a point where I had some idea of what people were talking about in meetings. "Say, Bob, if an org is an SQP it really belongs in ESPL but some of those orgs are also showing up in LBP. Did you read the ERD?" This is actually how everyone in Officeville speaks. Daunting for new citizens but eventually everyone who moves to Officeville learns to speak the native tongue.
Roughly a month before this project's scheduled release date panic set in. People went into crisis mode almost over night. It was finally dawning on everyone that, thanks to the several months they spent screwing around, the project might not be finished on time. We started holding regularly scheduled status meetings where everyone would report on what they were working on and when they'd be done. The pressure was on for everyone.
The Patron Saint of Deadlines was appointed to oversee the project's progress. Her job was to keep everyone on their deadlines and eliminate show stoppers. I couldn't have been more thrilled about having her around. I don't really enjoy harassing people and babysitting them. In a perfect world I'd send some one an email and they'd reply with the information I need in a timely manner. There were plenty of people in Officeville who didn't share my vision. Once TPSoD was on the project a simple call to her would get me my response from whatever slacker owed me in no time flat. Things were starting to look up a little. With the help of TPSoD this project had some hope of making its deadline.
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