So being laid off earlier this year was devastating. Much more devastating than I wanted to believe. To be honest, I thought I was completely over all of the emotional baggage that comes with such an adventure. That is until I ran into one of the people that I used to manage. Since I was laid off, the slimy little creature who had weaseled her way into being our manager has since converted this person to an FTE role.
I was upset. I am trying to understand why it upset me, but it did. It was nice to have her tell me how much they missed me. Apparently, they have realized how hard it truly was to do the things that I made look incredibly easy. (Duh, that was in the job description – ‘make this happen’. I guess I was really good at that. She went on and on and on about how hard it was to onboard new people and how much they miss my expertise. She said they brought on a few people the beginning of July and here we are 6 weeks later and those folks still aren’t fully productive.
This is one of the processes and procedures I had mastered. When the challenge was tossed my way to ‘solve it’, our onboarding was normally 90 days before someone was fully productive. Rising to the challenge tossed my way by our previous manager, I was able to create a process and a set of checkpoints that would have a new hire fully capable to be productive within their first 5 days on the time. Indoctrinating them into the environment and getting them to full productivity was entirely dependent upon the person, but overall, we reduced the time from 90 days to less than 2 weeks.
When I left, I was asked to make sure the process documentation was updated and in place. It was. What I couldn’t get the juvenile who had been promoted from graphic designer to be my manager to realize is that it isn’t always the steps in the process that matters, as much as it is how you execute those steps. The reason I could do it so quickly and effectively is that I had taken the time to build the relationships with the folks who actually execute the steps that our outside of my control. I did things in a specific order because there is time in back office processing that has to happen. I have a wee bit of knowledge about access management and networking, so I get what is happening and timed the required manual interventions accordingly so that when we were ready to do the next thing on the list, the systems would be ready too.
This morning, I am over the disappointment and any jealousy I might have had has passed. I am truly blessed to be out of that dysfunctional, unprofessional coffee clutch.
Not doing so well with my resolution to post more than last year – so much has happened since I last wrote.
Personality style – I am typically a laggard. Rarely do I ever pre-order anything, except maybe an old-fashioned book, the hard-cover type for my collection. Yep, another place technology has me trapped. Now I not only order the flipping hard-cover version, but I also now purchase an electronic copy. Really, WTF am I thinking?!?
This year, I stepped out of my ‘slow and steady adoption’ philosophy and I jumped on the bandwagon and pre-ordered the Samsung Note 7. ERROR. This was really a stupid move on my part. I am still trying to get my pre-ordered, delivered-on-time, amazing device replaced. There you go I have plenty of fodder for entries if I use this space to jot down my drama trying to replace my beloved, potentially explosive, phablet.
To date, I have responded to every, single warning message. I have physically been to numerous stores attempting to do a ‘ship-to-store’ replacement device. I have talked to the support people multiple times for both my carrier and Samsung. I have downloaded the update which turned my battery from green to grey and tells me constantly to replace my device. I am at my wits end! I am seriously considering buying an unlocked Samsung Note 4, like my sons and obtaining a refund. There are multiple good reasons for considering this move and I am damn near done waiting for the powers that be to get their act together. Stay tuned….
Yesterday was crazy busy! I work in an environment where all users are required to change their password incredibly frequently. Yesterday was that day for me.
Upon logging in and receiving the notification that my password was about to expire, I did my due diligence and went about the tasks that are necessary to complete that task. I know it should be as simple as logging into a single place and doing it once, but it isn’t. It takes a lot of time and at least one hard boot of my device to complete this task. Upon successfully finishing this laborious, time-consuming task, I went on about my day.
Fast forward:: Life would have been good if I hadn’t had to change sites to be able to get to my appointments. The password change came back to bite me. Thank God I had built in an hour for lunch and travel, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to resolve my technical issues and arrive on time for my meeting. To be honest, this is actually one of the things my favorite manager likes about me. He likes that when I encounter these little challenges, I don’t just throw up my hands and walk away.
I get it. I understand that not all of the servers that service the tools that I have to use to do my jobs all get updated in the ‘blink of an eye’. I get that ‘real-time’ means the configuration of the portal that I am currently using to access data and sometimes the tools. Guess I have been around long enough to realize there is processing required to use every portal, everywhere. There are reasons for daily maintenance windows and overnight batch processes.
Knowing that gives me a baseline to use to troubleshoot my own issues. This saves so much money for all of my employers. I can fix it myself. I don’t have to tie-up a minimum of one support resource to resolve my basic issues.
For me? This is a baseline metric for anyone who claims to be a IT professional. How much does it cost us to keep you productive?
Windows 10 upgrade hosed my mail on my android device?
This morning, randomly I could no longer retrieve email from my phone. Not a happy camper. I have an amazing husband. He took my device after I whined something about lugging a boat anchor around.
Through his dedication to solving the problem – it took hours – he got it fixed. It just hit me, I wonder if the ‘known issue/unknown resolution’ hiccup we encountered is related to the Windows 10 upgrade I just did? Hmmmm
Set the stage – for the last year the most uncooperative, self-important person I have ever encountered has been talking about how awful the new infrastructure is and how painful the process has been.
Every time she whined, I paid attention. The negativity is annoying, but there are nuggets in those statements. The way I see it? Listening to tales of woe are invaluable when you are doing a task or designing a task. If I can avoid encountering those issues by preparing on my side, the whole painful process will be less disruptive to productivity. In days of yore, we called this pre-processing. I think one of the buzzwords is operational excellence.
The little task I was bragging about yesterday? She started that process last February! I think she completed it in January. I forgot. I don’t really care. The only reason I know about is frequent audits of her historical artifacts identifies missing responses from my teams.
I started the task on January 26, 2016. I negotiated to minimize the impact on team operations. The development team made my site read-only last Thursday – St. Patrick’s Day 2016. Cool. This is a system, infrastructure migration, a little maintenance time is necessary. We didn’t decide to do this. TPTB did. We are merely complying.
I am proud to say that I was able to complete the mirrored migration in less than a week. It isn’t a brand, new, beautiful, fully-functional site, but it is enough to keep us working in a brave new world. I am readying myself for the adoption complaints, but that is when I see opportunities for improvement!!
Here’s a little insight into me, when you whine, I listen and learn….
I need to brag just a little bit. I just successfully completed migrating my team’s intranet from an old, old version of a sharepoint to a new version, with minimal interruption and downtime. The average length of time to complete a migration has been 4 months. We completed ours in less than 2, with minimal staffing.
To me, it is common sense. Answer a few basic questions. Find the right people. Communicate and verify the messaging.
What do we need to save? What can we eliminate? How can we optimize the processes? Who do we need to work with to get this thing done?
It is all about the relationships! Last Friday, it was going south, quickly. So, I reviewed the documentation, identified the key resource who should be able to help me, I followed defined procedure without complaining and BAM – today we are back in business on the new platform.
This week was absolutely crazy, busy. Nothing like hanging on in the middle of a storm. This week, I helped bring on a couple of new team members to one of my teams. I take a lot of pride in my onboarding process and it is really nice when someone truly recognizes the value.
Maybe that is the difference in the onboarding of seasoned folks verses initial entrances into a new career? The folks who have significant, large organization experience seem to “get it” significantly better than the newer entrants.
Through this week’s experience, I was able to put my finger on another ingredient in my ‘secret sauce’ – networking. It is all about networking. The first couple of tasks open the gates to the network, but how those tasks get accomplished is through networking.
One of the guys told me I was a ‘natural networker’ and I took that as high praise and a smidgen of appreciation goes a long way.
This has been a week. This has been a year and it is only March! Yikes!
Today’s challenges – attempting to convince a corporate IT guy that it is okay to technically break the rules, because my boss said so. Yea, that went about as far you might think it would or should. Why do we have all of these processes and procedures if all it takes is a handshake agreement to get a ‘pass’?
I don’t care and none of this would be bothering me if it wasn’t interfering with the rest of my workload! I am not one of those people sitting on a lackadaisical job here. The woman who reminds me a minimum of 3 times per week to do a task that I have been doing religiously for almost 5 years – she has a lackadaisical job, but I digress.
These are the things that delay my progress in onboarding a new team member. I reiterate, my process works as long as you dot all the “i’s” and cross all the “t’s”. Folks there are no shortcuts. Every step is there for a reason. Each task has a prerequisite. If you skip one or the other, or take a left instead of a right, that will cause a delay in your processing toward productivity.
I digressed again. I think this is bothering me so much because this delay in processing is really putting a crimp in my week. If we had followed the process, we would be done. I would be able to focus on my personal life during my off hours. But no. Not this week! This week, I have to keep noodling on creative ideas to solve this randomly introduced hiccup into the whole process. What pisses me off! (Here comes the truest statement I have written in weeks!) This whole damn thing could have been avoided! I stated very clearly in August that if we did this option, my process would not only break, but I would not be able to use my secret sauce to get ‘er done.
If I wasn’t already annoyed about the whole chaos step introduced into my world at work, my life gets a nasty wrinkle too. Guess this is a reminder to care about what is important. We have an appointment to do our taxes tomorrow – that means homework for me tonight. Then had my nightly family call. The news is the oncologist will be doing additional research, putting together the history and present it to essentially a board of experts. We should have treatment recommendations next week at this time.
I have an onboarding process that works. It is valuable because it gets everyone productive in a very short time frame. So what is the one way to set me up to fail? Drop the ball.
I gave them my checklist. I have been defining, writing, revising, producing the right steps for years. When I have the time, I use it to keep it updated. Well, of late, I haven’t had any time to do that because I am already trying to complete an 80 hour per week job in 40 hours as it is, so there isn’t a lot of lull in my schedule that allows me to produce updated tools in one of the most evolutionary environments I have ever experienced!
The interesting part is that even with my checklists, they can’t execute. The reason my process works is because I do it. I personalize every encounter.
Why does this have to be done this way and in this order? Well because I understand the cadence necessary to optimize the transaction. Maybe it is my old school database theories rising up from deep in my soul, but ultimately I am trying to optimize the employe eXperience for the newest team member.
I need to work in a ‘trusted’ environment again. When I look back on my career, I realize I was the happiest when I was deep in the belly of the beast and optimizing transactions. In some way, this has tainted my view of the world. I see everything I am doing as a transaction to be optimized; so if I can remove roadblocks to completing that transaction, shouldn’t I do everything in my power to do so?
But it is more than that. In my effort to be effective and efficient, I try to never forget that these are not just messages I am sending about, these are people! At every step of the way to get the job done it is all about the people and the relationships. I think I am one step closer to defining my own personal secret sauce!