Another day in the office

Quote of the day:
To get something done, a committee should consist of no more than three men, two of whom are absent. – Robert Copeland

I have a somewhat odd role at the moment. Not unusual for me. This time I have gone from leading some slightly odd development projects as part of a larger programme of work to acting as the trouble-shooter on the more intractable problems that come up as defects during testing in the overall programme. At least, that is the advertised role. In fact I spend far more time nudging things here and there to try and avoid problems later.

The problem with both of these roles is that can be a bit soul-destroying. Dealing with defects is a lose-lose proposition, just like running just about any kind of support desk. No one wants defects in the first place and the longer it takes to solve them the more problems they cause. If you are not seen to be obsessively and obviously working on the defects, it is assumed that not enough is being done, you do not care enough, or you are not following the plot. On the nudging side, no one is interested in what might of happened. You do not get remembered for what you have avoided but what you failed to avoid.

Fortunately, there is a terrific team of people around me who are passionate about getting the job done and who generally trust each other.

I get an odd satisfaction from getting things sorted out and heading off problems here and there. I am also doing a little coaching at the same time. One of the hardest lessons in this game is remembering to focus on the result not on the journey. You do not have to win every argument, persuade people of your point-of-view, take the awards for fixing things. You just need to get the required result. Even if people do not realise you made it happen and you had to swallow a little pride on the way. (Career wise though, you had better make sure a few people realise and that you have some evidence rather than just achieving the required result – not everyone will play as fair in the long run!)

I think many of my colleagues think me a little mad. I try to always be upbeat, happy and positive (whilst maintaining a healthy degree of cynicism appropriate to the industry). I try to enjoy my work. What I do is fun. Despite the job being difficult, frustrating, and wearing it is a privilege. Most days I ask people if they are enjoying themselves. Them seem surprised. My point though is that they should be. They should remember what the alternatives are.

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