53
vigidis
240d

Almost a decade ago (damn I'm getting old) I was working on a virtually dead project - i.e. it was the third, and final, iteration of a very failed project in a huge company with literally millions of Euros poured into it.

I came in as a junior SysAdmin/CM to substitute someone who was happily fucking off to another, better job. And alongside me a senior started as well to deal with the management/interaction between vendors and internal "teams" (6 peeps to deal with infrastructure requests from vendors - DBA, SysAdmin, Networking, Hardware commissioning, that sort of stuff).

Now, nothing against this senior - really cool dude - but he was objectively doing a poor management job. Partially due to some personal issues and a little bit of incompetence/disinterest.

So me, and the rest of these peeps that the vendors interacted with, were getting massacred with impossible requests/deadlines and blamed for almost everything wrong with this project.

Two weeks after we started, SeniorMan had to take a week off due to some personal issues so I was asked by higher management to take over his tasks as well until he's back.

The next day, I took all the peeps to get coffee and told them that from now on, regardless of what anyone tells them, unless it's from our direct manager (who pretty much didn't give a shit) every information/decision/deadlines negotiations goes through me and me alone. And they're not allowed to even consider anyone asking them for favours without talking to me first.

Now, this also came with the understanding that I would become the sole person to blame in case of fuck ups, and I gladly accepted because I would have quit anyway if things didn't change.

So everyone agreed.

And oh boy did we put the heat on those fucking vendors, because those two weeks that SeniorMan was busy drinking coffee with the upper management, I studied the entire project - I was familiar with every single network switch, VM, application and most importantly, all the agreements between vendors on which applications they would deliver and when.

They guys from my team also followed through with ignoring vendor requests that didn't come through me. They would literally hang up on them. CCed me on every single email. It was great.

A week later, we learned that SeniorMan would be gone another week, so upper management gave me a company phone because things were going well. SeniorMan would later quit because he pretty much wasn't needed by the time he came back.

With the phone and the blessings of the management I was pretty much the only entry point for vendors to deliver their applications. And I was strict as fuck. My negotiation policy was to multiply everything the peeps from my team told me by 3. If they didn't like it, well tough luck, give us more resources and wait 3 weeks to get them up to speed.

And within a month we became the highest performing team on that project. Outperforming the second best by as much as 6 to 1. All this with much less stress for everyone in the team.

Thanks to these changes, vendors actually had to do their job and deliver the promised services without blaming us. So we magically passed the first milestone, and suddenly went from failed project to the most promising project in the company.

Ah good times, good times...

Bonus story:
I participated in a meeting, before hitting the second milestone, where the project lead from one of the vendors was trying to pin their incompetence on us being slow to deliver infrastructure requirements.

So I pulled out the Visio file that everyone in the room agreed to a few months prior, and one by one showed that not only everything was delivered on time but even earlier on some items. And that due to them being slow on testing their shitty software on our infrastructure everything is going to shit.

The CTO of the company was present in this meeting, and what followed can only be described as someone who had no idea what was going on, being hit in the face with some else's balls of steel. This CTO proceeded to yell out how much all the vendor contracts cost and that if these fucks didn't get their shit together he'll release the lawyers from the dungeon of debt.

Comments
  • 5
    This fucking epic!
  • 1
    SPOC for teams is probably the single most important thing to make sure work flows as intended.

    My last team lead at my old job restructured everything the same way you did, and everyone in the department suddenly had time to do their stuff and he had a boatload of ammunition for getting us some more hands for all the tasks he didn't pass on to us because there wasn't time for it. Was great for a few years until it went to shit :-)
  • 0
    @ArcaneEye True... There is an unfortunate lack of good managers with realistic expectations. In fact, I was told that even that project eventually went to shit after I left to move on to grater things.
  • 0
    @F1973 Holy shit, Floyd? You back man? Haven't been around here in the past few months so I missed your return...

    Welcome back from the ashes of the archives!
  • 0
    @F1973 it's always been this, you just don't know me... I just remember reading your shit some two years ago when you were active... Good times...

    Still, hope you've been well!
  • 0
    @F1973 Yeah, I could always relate to your rants as I also started off my career as a QA. Did that for 2 and a half years.

    Personally, things going surprisingly well considering the situation. Started smoking again during the pandemic because I'm an idiot... But I landed a new job recently so I can't complain.

    You? Handling the pandemic well?
  • 0
    @F1973 Damn, that's a real shame. It's been a weird period all around, I also waited two months for this contract (although nowhere near the bullshit you went through)...

    Still, I'm glad you got out of the thankless job that is QA... I really hope you land something good soon.
  • 0
    @F1973 Really wish you good luck.

    I'll keep my ear to the ground, although I can't promise anything. But I have a few Indian friends in Denmark and I'm gonna ask them what's the situation with hiring/moving from India. If you don't mind the shitty weather ofc 😅
  • 0
    @F1973 If Sun and cold are your only weaknesses then the Nordics are not that bad. In Denmark at least, it barely goes bellow 0 in the winter and the Sun shows up like that one cool friend at a party - late and only for a few hours... But, it's incredibly windy and rainy.
  • 0
    @F1973 you don't have to take it from me, you can see for yourself...

    Coming from an Eastern European country where January hits -20, I was surprised as well by how mild the winters are here.

    Screen source: https://weather-atlas.com/en/...
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