Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Road to Recovery

Okay, let me slow myself down a bit here and write an online journal entry, since I seem to be sending nonsensical sentences to one of my vendors.  Where to start, where to start, where to start…

I am physically tired, bordering on exhaustion.  I’ve been sleeping about 10 hours a night as my body struggles to fully recover from the violent bout of food poisoning I mentioned.  I suspect I need several more days of sleep, perhaps through the weekend, to reach the point of full recovery.  It was one rough session.

I am back to work and one of the first things I had to do, on Tuesday morning, was push back, hard, on an unreasonable request. I’ll tell you a little bit about it.  As I mentioned before, this project has four major sections.  One of the major sections is trying to get lined up to enter system test and user acceptance test.  In order to do this they need test cases prepared and staged for them.  Unfortunately, due to poor planning, there are no resources assigned to this intensely manual task.  Since I could see it coming, I volunteered to help them coordinate it. I provide metrics on the estimated person hours the task would require and the complexity required.  We can create about two cases per person hour (it is that manually an intense process given the complexity).  Based on available resources I provide them with an estimate on what the capacity was (pulling the person hours from in between other tasks) and I estimated about 100 cases in four weeks.

Well, needless to say, my recommendations when in one ear and out the other and they decided they wanted three hundred test cases in four weeks, which is simply not achievable given the math - the time to create the test cases and the available resources.  So, they had an alternative - create fewer cases, find more resources.  Of course, they did neither.  When I came in on Tuesday they were already behind and started putting pressure on me.  Since I was near exhausted, I was actually very calm in that first meeting. I told them, straight up, that I could help them catch up, but given that I was recovering from food poisoning and in the crunch time for my own portion of the project, I would help them play catch up over the next couple of weeks.  (I think there is room to improve the cycle time in creating the test cases by lumping similar segments together and have the operators create them in waves.)  Their response was to try and make me responsible for the deliverable, which I simply refused.

So, at this point, they are struggling forward without me (which is fine since I was never actually assigned to the task anyway) and I, for a variety of reasons, simply don’t care.

What is the old saying?  “Poor planning on your part does not make an emergency on my part?”



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