Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Don't Go Into The Room

Sounds like a horror movie, doesn't it?
My project is in the testing phase.  In previous projects, this would mean that the project team would be locked in a room with candy and soda and not allowed to come out until the testing was done.  So when the project team asked me if I planned to be in the testing room, I was like, "Duh."  Of course I'll be in the room.  My colleague, who has been here longer than I have and who has implemented two other projects with the team I'm working with now, angled his notepad so that I could see it and wrote "Big mistake."  I think he underlined it four or five times.
It has been a big mistake.  Not only do I not get other work done, which is actually fine (I have to do it at home later, and sometimes later is a lot later, but it's okay) but I don't actually get work for this project done.  That's because instead of well-organized tests, we have a group of tabulated fiascos.  (What is the plural of fiasco?  This project is teaching me a lot of things I didn't think I'd ever need to know.)  Every single script is halted by at least one defect.  Frequently when one defect is cleared, another pops up so fast that we don't even have the chance to erase the first defect from our white board.  There is no chance to make any sort of progress.  Last week I did 58 hours, and we got almost nothing accomplished.  This week will be fewer hours and proportionately less progress, mostly because a lot of us can't spell our own names any more.  Monday I felt like a stroke victim.
Next week, though, I'm on vacation.  Against all the odds, my vacation was approved, and I'm going to be out Tuesday to Friday to go to the UK with my folks.  It's their 50th wedding anniversary, and my mother is clearly thinking that this could be our last family vacation (her father was dead shortly after his 50th, and I know that's weighing on her mind, even though she's tons healthier than he ever was).  I'm excited about it and I plan to have a good time.
There are two people covering for me.  We'll call the first one Mo, short for Maureen, and she's the sort of person who's blindingly intelligent but not overly concerned with methodology or protocol--she seeks the most expedient solution, and her solution will fix whatever the root cause is.  I'm spending an hour with her going over the information this afternoon, and she'll be set for the two days she's responsible for.  The other person who's subbing for me while Mo is gone, we'll call Raj.  Raj is a methodical little workhorse and he does everything by the book and gets everything done to exceptional standards, but he does like his i's dotted and his t's crossed.  Plus he'll be my backup to support this sucker if it ever manages to pass its tests.  I'm spending about 3 hours with him and I'm not sure he'll be comfortable, but that's all I can spare.
At our staff meeting today, everyone gave Raj one piece of advice.  "Don't go into the room!"  Cue the scary music...

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