Sunday, June 11, 2006

A Good Week Afterall

Despite my physical complaints, I actually ended up having a good week at work. Things are a bit crazy & stressful at the moment while the project I'm working on is going through a bit of a reorg. The project management is being shifted over to our client side, and I'm trying to get used to the transition and the new project manager in place who I now have to work with. He's a very nice guy and very enthusiastic and approachable, but I don't think he's quite gotten it just yet (as I wrote about previously). I don't think he's grasped the various priorities and scope of the project. I think he also has a too casual attitude about some of the work and the meetings we have on a regular basis. Every time I talk to him he is spouting new and grandiose ideas about all these bells & whistles-type stuff we can do, while I am right now concerned about getting the actual meaningful content and necessary core functionality out to the users. Bells & whistles are great, but there needs to be a natural progression for this stuff and I don't think this guy is really getting that. He also has this habit of dragging me away from my work willy nilly to run over to his desk to help him debug something that he's working on, or to teach him how to do something with the BI tool. It's fine, but it seems to be happening every day now and can be distracting to my own work when I have to drop everything and go sit with him for an hour or so.

All of this sounds annoying and the makings for maybe a bad week at work, but this past week I got the impression from the head guy in the client space that he really appreciates my efforts and that my role is valued there. New PM is apparently going to be on vacation all of this week. One of the problems is, there is an important meeting/presentation that is happening on Thursday. New PM had put together this Power Point document outlining all the various areas of the project and a bunch of other information that is going to be presented to this mucky-muck trader guy who is supposed to be at the Big Meeting. When I found out that New PM was not going to be present for the meeting, I asked him who was meant to do the presentation in his absence (I had put together a bunch of slides with screen shots to represent some of the reporting I've done, but this is only one piece of the thing). So he says, "R" will be doing it ("R" is the head of the tech group on the client side and New PM's boss). So, on Friday I went into "R's" office and asked him how I could help him for the meeting for next week. He looked blankly at me for a moment and then said, "I thought we were just doing a demo?" I said, "well, New PM put together a whole presentation, so I think his intentions were more involved than that". "R" then communicated to me that he was upset that New PM had just announced at the last minute that he was taking a vacation for a week and basically dropping the ball on a lot of stuff. It is particularly bad timing as we're still in this transitional period and the Desk (for whom this project is for) is also in a transition (the new head trader guy who is supposed to be seeing our stuff for the first time in our Big Meeting). We also talked briefly about some of things the New PM is proposing for the project that are positioned to take everything completely off track. "R" thanked me for being proactive about the meeting and my assistance to him and asked me to take care of a few things for him.

I also had a meeting on Friday with my head end user, the trader who is driving all of the requests and requirements of the project. I was able to show him the new module that I am working on for him and he seemed pretty happy with it. We spent some time brain storming on how we could exploit the functionality possibilities to make it the most useful tool for them and I came away with a very clear plan of action for this coming week.

So things are challenging, but I feel like I'm making valuable contributions and am pretty firmly entrenched in my position within the project. I've gotten comfortable with the various players and they with me. Of course everything can change in a heartbeat with one screw-up, but at least I don't feel quite as tenuous as I did for the first few months. It was hard coming from a position that I had been in for years & years to a brand new company, environment, business, project, etc. but my comfort level finally seems to be growing a bit.

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