Wednesday, February 21, 2007

All Consuming Fire

The problem with big projects is they can get pretty all consuming. That has its pleasures, there is a burning focus that has an endorphin high all of its own. You also can get staff to drive themselves up and beyond normal limits. Its quite enjoyable in a perverse masochistic sense. It also has its downsides. A few balls in the juggling act not related to the all consuming focus, tend to get dropped.

I’m now in sweep up mode. There are balls strewn about me and the last couple days has been spent picking them up, figuring out if its still an important ball, and then throwing it up back into the juggling pattern. Some of the balls have been damaged, so there’s a fair bit of fixing and sorting to do.

One of my key suppliers has suffered the same problem. In their drive to work with us on the big project, they ignored the small. Problem is they seem to expect us to pay extra for their inattention. I was a right angry bear yesterday, and likely will remain so for the rest of the week.

There are other distractions, like making sure I rotate a lot of staff who deferred holidays to get a rest. I’m a firm believer in holidays, but the needs of the projects meant a lot of people not taking them. I had a couple people even working on Christmas day. I don’t ask for that sort of devotion to the job, but its great to see when you get it. Now the thing is making sure they do take some time.

I’m also still arguing with facilities to get some new space. I have teams spread across three buildings in seven locations. Despite our CEO repeatedly promising to sort it, our facilities department is lost in the ‘70s and seems to take direction from no one. Last week, despite my banging the walls for months, ten desks suddenly appeared in an empty space that had been reserved for me for ages, and where magically filled with another department. I suspect a dinner or two, or conservatory appeared where it shouldn’t have.

Damn good thing its interesting work.


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