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What Constitutes An Emergency?

February 27, 2019

Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.
– My Dear Mother

The email was unexpected.

Rodney, we need to start the testing of the Verbo software. We have scheduled a meeting for tomorrow at 7:00AM. Please have your workstations configured. The files were sent to you on Monday.

It was quickly followed by a meeting request for 16 hours later. And it was only Wednesday.

We had talked about the Verbo rollout for weeks. We would eventually have to install it on all of our user workstations. But, to start we were only going to install it on ten stations.

The problem was, I wasn’t in my office. I had the day scheduled off. And we had not discussed the scheduling for this testing. I told them no. I was one of several partners for this client.

Rodney, all the other partners are able to work on this timeline.

Ever get compared to your brother when you were a kid?

Your brother managed to get home before curfew. How come you are late?

I didn’t like it much when I was a teenager either.

The problem with this request was that I had to coordinate with multiple teams across multiple locations. Specifically I needed to work with my operations team and my desktop support (DS) teams. Operations I could get on board immediately. I worked with them daily. But, DS had an SLA, a Service Level Agreement. Basically, that was the amount of time they requested to complete a support ticket.

Typical SLA requests required 5 days. I also worked with my DS team a lot and I knew that I could get them to push through a request pretty much as fast as I asked them to.

What should I have done? Should have dropped everything and pushed that request through at all costs? Should I make my partner wait 5 days.

What should have happened was a meeting request should have been sent as soon as the Verbo files were ready. Then, I would have been able to prep my teams and we could have done the testing on Thursday like they wanted.

What ended up happening was that I went back to work on Thursday and immediately rallied my team. I didn’t drop everything, and I even gave my DS team as much time as they needed.

As I expected, they made it happen on Thursday and we rescheduled the testing for Friday. It wasn’t out of any sense of pride or a desire to exert my authority. I just didn’t see the need to use up some of goodwill with my local teams to meet an artificial deadline that I had no part of setting.

Their lack of planning wasn’t my emergency.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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