Thursday, June 13, 2013

Half of This, Half of the Other

I thought I would take a few minutes here in the evening and try to deliberately slow things down a bit.  It was a busy day at work - pretty much the constant weave in and out of meetings, with a bit of productivity in the late afternoon, followed by an irritating schedule meeting.

One of the things I struggle with under our current management has been their remarkable ability to create schedules that are only distantly related to reality, then get all worked up when reality does not coincide with the schedule.  I've got two projects running right now, both on an aggressive schedule, that I am trying to bring into place as quickly as I can.  I was assigned to both projects about two weeks ago, as were most of the people on the project teams.

Management wrote out the schedule with no input and no buy in from the teams who actually have to implement them.  As a result, both projects are completely stalled, as the resources are all trying to come up to speed.  I did manage to get both of them moving in the right direction this week - but only by basically ignoring the schedule.

So, today, I go into a meeting and management keeps asking "did you meet this milestone" and "when is this going to be done" and I kept responding with things like "no, there are no resources to do that" and "no, this item is out of sequence" and "no, these two items are tied together for no apparent reason other than they use the same word in the title".  It was a challenging and uncomfortable meeting.  Management really, really wanted to check the boxes off and I am not inclined to check the boxes off for the sake of checking the boxes off.  We skated along the lines of being a very testy set of exchanges.

The thing is, neither of this projects should have reached this particular impasse.  They are not difficult projects technically or functionally. It is just that, in our top down management style, almost everyone seems to be afraid to make any decisions and no one seems able to say no.  As a guy who can both make decisions and say "No", it often puts me in a very uncomfortable place. 

But, in the plus side, I actually expect both problems to go live on schedule - even on the aggressive schedule because, again, they are not that complicated.  One is implementing a mature piece of technology, and the other is making a set of clearly defined changes in a web application.

Elsewhere in Corporate Land, the Game of Thrones continues.  We are in the midst of a big reorganization that is seeing some alterations in the positions of the Powers-That-Be.  I am hoping that, during the course of this, my Director gets removed.  Either removed from our sphere entirely, or removed from her management position.  The level of stress and chaos she causes has taken a big toll of the people who work for her.  There are a host of other problems that land directly back on her doorstep. Her sheer incompetence astounds me - and reflects poorly on the people above her.

You might ask "Well Rod, why do you stay there?".  It is a question that I have asked myself more than once and I do have a set of answers.  First, in spite of my complaining, there are really only four things that irk me at work, and of those four, my Directors incompetence is the one that makes the working world a very difficult place, not only for myself but for other people as well. 

I also don't like our performance review system (which is undergoing another major revamping this year as they try to figure out how to stop alienating their employees), I don't like our raises of late (which I blame pretty squarely on a poor performance management system, an incompetent Director, and the tightening contractor environment), and our facility (which is old and ugly, but which has been sold, so assuming we get to keep our jobs, we will move into a different building either at the end of this year or the beginning of next).  I like my work cohort, I like my immediate manager, I like many, many of customers, and I thoroughly enjoy the work I do.  I am compensated well and the benefits package is good.

So, like many things, work is half of this and half of the other.

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