Sometimes we @#$k up. I have @#$ked up in a way in which I know not to @#$k up. Although I would like to claim that my summer off from work made me a bit lax, my problem is a mistake that I will have to always fight as a consultant.
People ask you to deliver a certain thing in a certain time. Sometimes you've never worked in a tool of which your mgr assumes you to be the expert. It's a tool that your company wrote. Here. Do it.
Anyway, here's the draft that I just wrote in my mail box. I wrote it thinking I'd send it to my pm at the vendor I'm working through, but... for now I'll post it here, as a monument to my apparently not being a professional. Hopefully the scorn of others will keep me on my toes.
I have found myself in a no-win situation. It is of the same boring variety as most no-win situations when you are a consultant.
I was asked to perform a task. The task doesn't really matter.
I was asked to perform a task w/ the continual quesitoning over a period of a week: how much longer? Are you almost done with that? I had no idea how to comprehend the scale of the task that I had been given. I was still scratching the surface (I had never worked against the given tool) and had no idea if an assessment of a few days was asinine nor did I know if pushing back for a month was grossly bloated.
I just did not know.
My on-site manager pushed for a time. He suggested two weeks. I felt the out, it was a time, a concrete time. I accepted the estimation.
Then I started to learn more about the product. Huge. Complex.
I was screwed. I am screwed. I am writing this as I just now understand what I have gotten myself into.
What am to do?
I need to break down every element of the task (this will later be the sort of requirements gathering that I will forever now do, and that I know to do, rather than going off of the cuff as I found myself so f@#king ready to do).
I need to break down EVERY element of the task. Push out all elements that are impossible to achieve, demand... DEMAND my needs.
What are my needs?
I need time from person X.
I need the following resources:
To not be interrupted. I asked for this past week and I did not receive this. This is crucial. If the client doesn't deliver. @#$K him.
More time from person X. If I don't get it... I will not deliver.
Time to work. Time to focus.
... rereading my 'note to self', I recognize that there's only one way to recognize scale: break down every constituent element in a task. This sounds all fine and dandy... but have any of you been able to get the time to perform the req. gathering w/o the client or boss screwing you?
"Everyone I know has a big but...
come on Simone, let's talk about your but."