5-4-Friday… 5 project things

I suppose it is my blog, so I shouldn’t have to apologise for the subject matter of my own 5-4-Friday, even if this week’s offering is work-related once again.  But, I tend to write about what’s on my mind at the time and, aside from a few hours’ sleep and the odd episode of the West Wing, I haven’t done much else this week apart from work. So, work theme it is.

It’s a hectic time at the moment here, especially this week as we run up to the launch of a major new system for which I am responsible. It’s the kind of week when you need all outside factors to run smoothly to at least give an outside chance of your project getting over the line.

Normally, however, the inevitable appearance of Mssrs Murphy and Sod with their famous laws, seriously hinders the chances of that happening.  Strange things are bound to crop up unexpectedly to threaten to trip you up as you approach the final bend, and you never see them coming.

I know that, as a project manager, they (they being people who are not project managers) always say that you should be prepared and ready for such eventualities. And yes, some of them can’t be even remotely classed as game-changers, just things that can throw you off your stride, get in the way and generally piss you off.

All of the five items listed below have happened to me at some point in the past. Not all of them have happened to my project this week, though I’m sure the eagle-eyed football fan will spot the one that definitely has. Anyway, just because they haven’t happened yet doesn’t mean there isn’t time for it to happen. There is still plenty of time; it’s only Thursday night and we don’t properly launch until tomorrow.  

Sky TV – talking of game changers, as we were earlier on, Sky didn’t help in the run-up to my launch this week.  Ten and eleven hour days with late starts and finishes have been the norm over the last few months but, on the final lap, I really didn’t need the Wigan v Ipswich game shifting from last Saturday to Monday night. Still, as important as the project is, it ain’t that vital that it’s worth missing a pre-match pint and kick-off for. So I left early. Ish.  

Absence – Anybody can be off sick at any time, of course, but it is the curse of the project manager that at least one of the people on whom you will rely heavily in that final stretch will bog off to the bog with the trots. Sadly, it is never one of those useless morons that you would really like out of the way that fall ill when you need them to. It’s always someone you need.   

Crash – I once had a very philosophical conversation with an ex-boss about whether shit really happens. He contended that there was always somebody to blame, and that things just didn’t go wrong all by themselves. But, then again, he was an argumentative twat at the best of times. It is fair to say, though, that pieces of kit and systems that have never caused you a moment’s concern in the past will suddenly decide to fall over when you least need them to.  And at the worst possible time

Bare cupboard – I could have been forgiven for thinking that I was very popular this week, given the absolutely crammed nature of my diary and the queue of people at my desk lining up to mither and complain about something. Give that the concept of a lunch break has therefore been a very movable feast this week, I made an executive decision on the way in on Wednesday to get myself a full English breakfast in the canteen to keep me going for the day. Imagine my intense disappointment  when I got there and there was nothing ready. Apart from muesli. Really? Muesli? Do I look like a tree hugger?  

No number 5! – Sorry, no time to even write the fifth one. A function that we use for a very small, but vital, part of our operation has just keeled over and died.  This despite it working perfectly well in the current world and having been tested to death in the new world. Ah well, shit happens. Or does it?  

Disclaimer – for clarity, and at the risk of repeating myself and for the avoidance of anyone feeling persecuted or offended, only 1, 3 and 5 actually happened to me this week

Griff – see you on the ice

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