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The Chest is locked. The only Key to the Chest is in the Chest.
beer, meetmeme, Backyard

I have been on the phone since 9am this morning, discussing two separate projects.

In the first call, they were frustrated since we did not have a silver bullet to solve their problems RIGHT NOW. We had the expertise they wanted with the people on the phone, we know the tools and technology. We offered suggestions, options, and a timeline in which to address their issues. There will be a patch in July to fix the main problem. They want a solution now. The solutions that we investigated would take much longer to properly implement than waiting for the previously mentioned patch. Hacking together a solution using OS commands (as/400 at that), scripts, a custom DB, and custom reporting will work, could work in a short timeline, but only minimally, and then is all throw-away once a real solution is available. Oh, well. I will still write my suggestions and send it to them.

Call two. Which is really a series of three conference calls. In this project, Part 1 is good to go. Part 2, which will run concurrently, is not. I have a resource who can start in two weeks. Not good enough. Even assuming I could convince management to give me that resource two weeks early (and make someone else finish his work for another client) or use someone else, the timeline is "quite aggressive." My management chain pushes back on a document that was not completed due to the nature of the project, saying they need that to make the decisions. Management already knows that I didn't write the detailed task list, and I don't know the time involved for each task in the list, so it makes me a little grumpy that they are asking for it (yes, it should have been done, but we as a company opted not to do it - FFS, we did business before this document existed). The resources that I need for the project would be the ones to build that tasklist. Yes, the resources that I cannot have. I am about to step on another PMs toes and make someone else very unhappy by making him fly here for two days to work with the client to build that task list, so that I can prove that I need the resources. Or make him build it today over the phone (always pleasant).

I love finding out that the less critical thing is now the more critical thing and that the people I had lined up for the now more critical thing can no longer start at the time they were supposed to.

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You make this sound so appealing... ;)

There are two reasons this ugly today.
1) Communication. Priorities were not clearly communicated on timeline. Well, they were, but not on the specific timeline that was discussed today (we knew the go live date, we were not aware of an internal deadline for UAT completion).

2) A different client has extended the scope of an existing contract and is executing a SOW Change Order for more time/tasks with the resource I need.

It's always about you. You. You. You.
Youcan't get the project done ahead of schedule.
Youcan't get the sun to shine at night.
Youcan't distribute a Pearl script that cures cancer.

Bah! You are teh fail!

It is partially my fault. Sadly. See Communication. Equally my fault and their PMs fault for not fully understanding/explaining the priority of Part 2, or their uncommunicated deadline.

I cannot distribute a perl script that cures cancer, but if it could be done, I know the two people that would probably write it. I am ok at perl, and I have plenty of experience with it. However, I have worked with these two individuals and seen them write 99% flawless code on the fly in about a quarter of the time it would take me to write it.

A thing of joy indeed. I'm actually enjoying our "resource board" because when we have meetings and some of the stakeholders bring up these cool things that it would be Neat To Have, I can point to the board and ask what of the currently highly prioritized projects they'd like to remove.

"I absolutely agree, that would be a wonderful addition. We might be able to address it sometime in 2010."

I like using the resource board/plan and priority/risk/level of effort to keep projects in line. And once we actually get started, it will be with me at all times.

Unfortunately, this is a new client, not someone where we have expectations established. Also, as I indicated, we did not have the opportunity, or we chose to pass on the opportunity (depending on how it is viewed) to write our own full task breakdown as we normally would. It was fast-tracked and went from initial meeting to signed SOW in about 10 business days. Hence, not full due diligence.

The corp vocabulary itself is crazy dehumanizing.

"The resource puts the lotion on it's skin..."

Wouldn't want people to start thinking they are important or something...

Damn fuckin' right.

I was saying today that "resource" sounds like an easily interchangeable part. Throw it away if it get old or worn out, and get a new one.

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