Fall is definitely upon Ireland. Yesterday was a rare sunny day; but the air was crisp and sharp. Unfortunately I only felt the sun on my face on the walk from the hotel to the car and from the car to the office. It was already dark by the time we quit working.
It was an extremely disappointing and exhausting day—full of stops and starts and technical issues. We had everyone in at 9am, only to find Oracle had the system down for maintenance and we lost the first two hours. We should have known about that but didn’t—another in a long list of our structural and organizational imperfections.
A good number of the testers are stuck due to defects or missing data so frustrations are high since everyone is giving up their weekend but we are unable to make much progress. The day passed quickly and I ran from crisis to crisis; sometimes empathizing and at other times pushing them to get creative and try to make what progress they could.
At 6 we had a 90-minute defect call which consists largely of me trying to get Deloitte to step up and do their jobs. They are very discreet and particular in interpreting their scope. They do exactly ‘this’, but if ‘this’ does not work because of an element where ‘this’ must interact with ‘that’, they are not overly cooperative in working with the ‘that’ team. This happens time after time. They detach and will not progress functionality unless I or someone else from our team challenges them and pushes them to take ownership of the system rather than just the discreet item they are contracted to do. It’s as if I pulled into a gas station—Deloitte’s job is to fill the tank with gas but when doing so they notice a wheel fell off. They will not tell the guy that fixes wheels, who sits around the corner, that a wheel fell off so the wheel guy can come fix it. So off we go with a flat tire.
It’s a bizarre situation which I have never seen quite this bad before, especially from a group that charges 50% more than other firms. My old company consultants would work circles around these clowns. But we are stuck with this circus. Most of my PM’s are not working too much this weekend so I am handling all the calls; it’s good though as it keeps me closer to the realities when I have to dig in to the weeds.
Now I am at the airport living in a Jerry Seinfeld re-make. I reserved a car, since my ill-fated driver is leaving today. I was meant to pick the car up at 8:00, but they have no cars for me. As Jerry noted, they ‘took’ my reservation but they didn’t ‘hold’ my reservation; which is indeed, really the most important part of the reservation process. But the nice young woman said they would find me a car so I am having a coffee and croissant while waiting for them to work some magic and find me a ride.
The madness continues. Calls and meetings straight through from 7am this morning. Every time I try to walk through the building to get the bathroom or get a tea, usually in the few minutes between one meeting ending and another beginning, I get accosted by someone on the team who wants me to solve a problem or two for them. Around 4:00 I decided to go out for a walk just to get outside. I had a call, but one I felt I could safely take while getting in a short walk and some fresh air. When I got outside it was raining. Because it’s Ireland and it’s always raining. So I sat in the car and listened on the call while I closed my eyes and eventually fell asleep a little bit. It’s really exhausting here at the moment. Really too much.
In addition to ‘Passage to Juneau’, I’ve been slowly re-reading my draft and notes from a novel I started years ago. I put quite a bit of effort into it a few years ago when I had about a 4-week break between projects at WhiteLight Group. I find it very difficult to write while I am working so much, so I tend to set large projects aside for months and years at a time—then, when I have time away from work, I may advance the project a little but then back to work and the project goes back in to the closet until the next break. Since it’s likely that I will have to work until I die, it seems that if I want to ever finish the novel I will need to make a plan. I read once about a lady who wrote an entire novel by writing just a few hours each Saturday. She was a mother and this was the only quiet time she could negotiate. So, it seems it can be done; I just need to get more discipline in my life.
I fell asleep with my laptop on my belly last night around 9. I got up at 4:00 this morning, read a bit from my novel to get re-acquainted (working title is ‘Young Webb Ellis’) and then went for an hour long walk. It’s a perfect Irish Autumn morning. Cool with a slight breeze but no rain.