Friday, December 02, 2005

Operation Clean Sh*t

Where should I start? The scene in the meeting room can be an interesting one. The scene was the starting point of this whole ordeal that my team and me have to go through. On second thought that wasn't exactly the starting point.

It all started when I received a message from my boss through another colleague. I was having a discussion on one of the existing on-going projects with my team members.

Abruptly cut short the discussion and went back to my desk. Saw the messages from my boss in the IM on my PC. A new business partner (for sake of this narration, will from known as DongKie Corp) needed our assistance in their existing project. That's my initial impressin after having read a few lines of messages from my boss.

Give him a buzz, and didn't get any extra information than what I read from the IM. All I hear was DongKie Corp needed a technical assistance that he think our team can offer. He asked me to join him for a meeting, that I initially thought between us and the business partner to gather further info. Little did I knew we were actually heading right into the eye of a storm.

On the way to the meeting, we were stuck in a traffic jam. The meeting has started the moment we arrived at the door step of the meeting room. With almost zero information, we stepped our foots into the meeting that was well underway and well heated.

Our business partner's project manager was being grilled. Within less than one minutes of putting our poor arses onto the chairs in that cramped little room, we still have no clue on what was all this about. The only thing that I knew at that moment was our business partner had screwed up big time, and being fucked by their customer (from now known as Doraemon Corp) (actually, only yesterday I found out that the other party was not really their customer, but their business partner. This project is on profit sharing basis, so technically they are partners.)

All six of them from Doraemon Corp were attacking these two little poor fella. Till now I haven't mentioned another party in this story, a company from oversea (again for this narative sake, known as KimChi Corp.) which is the business partner of DongKie Corp too. So there we were in the meeting room, six from Doraemon Corp spewing bullets toward DongKie's project manager and KimChi's project manager.) Since we were brought in to rescue DongKie Corp, indirectly the bullets was spew ed in our direction too.

Seeeing that the bullet was spewing all over the room, and sense that the meeting wasn't going anywhere and not going to achieve anything meaningful; and still without a clue on what going on, my boss suggest we adjourned the meeting so that we (DongKie, KimChi and our company) are able to have some time and space to discuss and give an assurance that Doraemon was seeking. I knew my boss pretty well, not so surprise with this stunt from him.

* bullets spewing *
M16 #1: *bullets* give us assurance *bullets* *bullets*
M16 #2: *bullets* *bullets* *bullets* give us assurance *bullets*
M16 #6: *bullet* give us assurance *bullets*

my boss: can you give us some time, and we will get back to you with the assurance that you are seeking from us.

M16 #2: WTF? In the first place we are calling this meeting to get the assurance (that you are not going to f*cked-up the fucking deadline again) from you. Now you are telling me that you need some time to discuss? You are wasting our (precious) time having this meeting now!!!!

this is a direct hit onto my boss

M16 #1: Sorry... I didn't get your name.

The situation was very tense, but I don't why the moment she said that, I almost chuckle in my seat. Maybe because I would expect another round of bullets from the M16 being fire, or maybe it's the way this lady responded to my boss's interjection just make it sound funny to me. lol

Anyway, cut short the story. My boss did actually manage to convince them to give us until the next morning to get back to them. I think M16 was pretty sharp and I think she can sense that we are new party that came to defused the situation, or prolly she reckon that the meeting wasn't going anywhere even if they keep firing rounds and rounds of bullets toward us.

We moved out from the meeting room and move to the vendor room to have a discussion. DongKie and KimChi brief us on the issues. They had totally fucked up and slipped a couple of deadline, and it was just amazing that they wasn't being kicked out from the deal earlier. Anyway, on my part there was an impossible deadline that my team and me gotta meet to salvage the sinking ship.

We only had 5 days to rewrite one of the module, which was supposed to be written in two months. This is a mission impossible. While my boss was having a discussion with DongKie and KimChi, I called up each of my team members to see if they can work over the weekend to rush through this "nightmarish" job. A couple of them already have plan on the saturday, but willing to come back on sunday. I feel pretty bad to have to ask them to come back and work over the weekend, but I just do not have other choice. Luckily them are pretty supportive. I just told them this is a really rushing job, and one of the can sense something was brewing that she send me an sms afterward asking if I was excited or worried because I sounds very "kancheong" when I talked to her over the phone. I told her, I am was both worried and excited.

Another member already had plan and needed to go back to her hometown over the weekend. So I told her to go ahead with her plan. She agreed. Yet a few moment later, I received a couple of funny sms-es (well it sounded funny to me, I can't remember what she had written) from her. She wanted to be in this project. I replied that I will discuss with her when I see her in the office tomorrow. I was glad and blessed to have such a corporative and commited team members, and still am.

After DongKie passed us the source codes, some systems documentations in a DVD-ROM we left the place and headed home. I planned to sleep and have a good rest that night, so that I could be fresh next morning. Unfortunately, was too worried. My home PC doesn't have a DVD-Drive and I needed to access and assess the documents to come out with an action plan.

At 3:00am, after a couple of failed attempts to sleep I decided to head to office. Took bath and head over to office. Arrived office at 4:00 am. By the way, to travel along Federal Highway at that hour of the day was very pleasant *grin*.

Another colleague was surprised when I went into the office. They were there to carry out a migration for another project. (In case your are wondering if the staffs in our company has to work at this unheavenly hours all the time, the answer is no. The migration only happen once or twice in every three months, much depends on the nature of the project.)

Three of my team members has been seconded to the Service Team to help them in this migration. The Service Manager thought I'd came back to lend some support to my team members. Anyhow, there was some hiccup in the migration. I did give some assitance, put the other project aside for a while.

Once that was done, I went back to original task. Read through the documents, and the codes for the Phase I of the system. DongKie is supposed to deliver Phase II of the system, with about 5 additional modules this time round.

We have never really work on this technology before, though we are very familiar with the programming platform. That's another reason why I was worried. I needed to know how much learning we had to do before we can start the real work. After run through the codes (luckily not as messy as I thought initially) and googled for about half an hour on this technologies, I reckoned that my team will need one day to pickup this new technology and that left us with just 4 days to carry out development (ya, 4 days include Saturday and Sunday.)

I thought, we will able to do that. Though it was very though, I was confident my team can deliver by the end of the 5th day. Once I got all the plan sort out, I was less worried. By 7:00 am, I finally feel sleepy again and slumped on the office chair until 9:00am when everyone started to come in the office.

To be continued...

On side note, I was told by the Service Manager that he had scolded a couple of the migration team member for not done enough preparation for the migration, caused the hiccup. He asked if hear him scolding them? I didn't. When I sleep, even on a chair, I am just as good as dead. I hear nothing. Anyway, he told me one of the team member that I seconded to him walked off without saying a word after the scolding. I don't blame him, he told me her major target was one of his team member, but somehow it was just too obvious if he were to scold her alone. My team member was a "Collateral damage" in case. Anyway, when I talked and explained the whole situation to this guy on following Monday he admitted it was his mistake too and I was relieved to hear that. I reassure him, it was just about work and not to take it too personally. He responded pretty positively to my advice. phew... We are already short handed, I can't affort to lose a capable and comitted guy like him.