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No, I Don’t Think It Was a Good Thing

July 16, 2014

Does that sound like the generators kicking on?

The lights flickered again.

Yes, I’m sure I can hear the generators.

And then the lights went totally out.

I’m in Virginia this week opening a new call center. We’ve been working on this project for months. I’ve been working on the project plan for this site since I started at this company four months ago. My coworkers had been working on it for many months before I was hired.

To say this was a critical launch would be an understatement. I have been obsessing about technical details for weeks. Would we get the license file to successfully process? Would our call copy servers record calls? Would our IEX data reports go out once we started taking calls?

One by one each piece fell into place. Our work was paying off. Each worry was resolved and as the day went on I felt better and better about the outcome.

See, we’ve had three launches and each time something went wrong. Not something that put the launch in jeopardy, but enough to cause me some anxious moments. I was determined that this launch wouldn’t have anything like that.

And then the lights went out. The Desktop Engineer immediately turned down a hallway away from the call floor.

I’m going to go check out the Data Center.

Okay, I’ll check the call floor!

And I headed down the long call floor past rows and rows of empty desks waiting for future agents, to where our group of brand new agents was gathered at the far end of the call floor.

Did any calls drop?

Nope. The phones and the computers didn’t miss a beat.

That’s a relief.

It’s great that this happened during the launch, don’t you think?

No, actually I didn’t think it was good that we had to test our emergency generators and our uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system during the most critical time of our very important launch.

I can’t blame my coworkers. While our call center windows are frosted over the thunder had been really impressive. And let’s face it, a power outage is an exciting event.

But, as an IT project manager, my goal is to make the launch as boring as possible from a technical standpoint. I don’t want any hiccups, anomalies, gremlins, or ghosts in the machine.

Sure we have processes and programs in place to handle contingencies just like this power outage we had, but that doesn’t mean I want to use them.

It’s like saying, ‘We went camping and used every single item in our first aid kit. Wasn’t that great?

No. No it’s not.

But, I will say that having the generators kick on was certainly better than the alternative.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children and one grandchild.

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