Sunday, May 13, 2007

Choices and Mistakes

We're in the middle of a very challenging project. We lost our developer early on and it took nearly two months for another one to be found. None the less, the client (an internal client) insisted we stick to the original date -- esentially compressing 5 months of work to 12 weeks.

I put a more junior level analyst at the helm of this project for several reasons:
1. I wanted her to have a chance to test software with requirements;
2. I wanted her to have a chance to show whether she could see the big picture;
3. She asked for this assignment because she knew all angles of the software that will be used in conjunction with the new software.

But it was a mistake. She ended up needing to be gone during the middle of the project; she's unable to see the big picture; she is unable to keep her fears of the projects' weaknesses from the client (causing the client to panic) and when she shares her issues with the project, she does so without offering solutions; and she's unable and unwilling to work around the requirement inadaquacies without complaining about it to the client.

All of these things have caused me to come into the project, pull in another contractor to write test cases, test, and be present with the client, and I'm managing the client and the testing effort.

What have I learned from this?
1. This particular employee cannot be considered for a senior position anytime in the near future.
2. I will remember listen to my gut. My original thought was to NOT put her on this project, but I over ruled it because I thought there was potential there.

There are other issues in this situation, too. The client is very very micromanaging the testing effort. Every meeting she wants to have she includes my boss which frustrates the he!! out of me.

I have a hard time being up front with her and so the communication is a big deal.

So there are other lessons in this project for me to learn.



Friday afternoon one of my direct reports and I were in a meeting. We came out of the meeting and she said to me, "ummm I don't feel well... I kinda can't get a deep breath" and then she laughed.... I suggested, as she looked pretty good, that she go sit down, have a glass of water and see if that helped.

A few minutes later she was at my office door and she was ghostly white. Cath was with her -- asking whether or not she could drive her to the emergency room.

I reached over to the phone and dialed for the operator and asked them to call for emergency help. First responders -- first aid trained employees -- were on site in a heartbeat and we made our way down stairs to await assistance. The ambulance came shortly after the police arrived and my employee was whisked into the ambulance. They checked her out thoroughly before slowly pulling out of the drive and heading for the hospital.

Everything went as planned -- smooth as clockwork from the moment i called the main desk. Why didn't I take her seriously at first? Why was I not engaged with this woman? Hmmmmm