Our breaktime discussions range from science, news, and stuff like UFO’s. I mention this only because it represents how strange some of our topics are. We usually try and refrain from griping about impossible schedules in our projects.

A word about what we do

My team is a core set of super-self-motivated engineering techs, each with their own off topic specialties.

  • IT Guy handles …. well IT, and gadgets, communications, networks, exchange servers, and that expensive PITA GPS thing on our roof.
  • Topic man – He is a news hound, and level headed project manager, and seems to have some experience with any topic. Local news and politics, what is happening in some remote part of the world, what kind of crap are they trying to shove in the leaking gulf well now? (OMG that last one was lame, but he can tell you)
  • Me – Engineering Software specialist and troubleshooter. I am the guinea pig for new methods of data sharing, interaction, and methodologies. When it comes out, I am supposed to make it work here. When it fails, I am supposed to get it moving again.

Together we can plot a solution to any situation, and get it done by some ridiculous deadline.

High Speed, Low Drag

Beyond our troubleshooting and team work, we are (or were before the layoffs) paid better than your run of the mill techs because we can juggle projects and priorities like nobody else. Project management here is a fluid thing. We are responsible to keep 5 rapidly changing projects moving in a positive direction, and maintain the ability to pick up a new one at any moment.

Why?

3 reasons

  1. Failure is most regrettable, and so I put everything I got into it.
  2. Because this is the best company I have ever worked for. Even though things are always changing, always on deadline, they still understand the importance of family. I have dinner (that’s lunch to most of you) with my boys at school every Friday.
  3. Because, someone said it’s a killer issue it’s got a drop dead due date, and we HAVE to get it done or we’re all gonna die….WHAAAAAAAAA!

You know the drill. Well we get the drill EVERY DAY.  I got a great client, that for all intents and purposes has kept half this office employed in the recent recession. As much as we love him, he can drive you to drink.

He shows up with a new emergency, and needs all of our skills to move a solution before some new unintelligible deadline. Everybody shifts gears and all hell breaks loose for about a half hour. IT guy uses his famous description of the scene: “twelve monkeys fucking a football”.

A fair example would be moving an entire corridor region, and subsequent out parcel balancing and redistribution to save one 18 inch tree. The bid set was sent out, the large scale designs are done, perspective outparcel stores are in design stages. The revision cost was estimated between 5 and 10 thousand USD of backlash. It overtook two other project deadlines in order to shift it all and get it back out IN TIME.

And that is really just a cap on a typical week…

What happened?

What about the other two deadlines that were lost as a result? You know… you never hear any more about them.

The new slogan

So Topic man has a new slogan that we will introduce. Is it Important YET?

So many times we get down to the wire and we need some input from someone. We call and call, and find out that “I can’t talk right now, I’m getting on a plane.” (Dude, you were supposed to pick up the plans) “We can sit down an go over it when I get back”.

So you ask about the 3 deadlines you are fighting. The response is almost always “oh, don’t worry about that one today, but THIS !  Oh THIS is important.”

So we have learned. When we reach a dilema where there is lacking communication, and we have conflicting schedules, we will now ask “Is it important yet?”

Will it help…no. But we will all get to laugh about it for a few weeks.  🙂