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Getting By With A Little Help From My Friends

June 27, 2019

It wasn’t my fault. And I’m not saying that to deflect blame. I really am trying to defelct the credit.

We did a good thing. Our client came to Salt Lake City. We’re doing a software upgrade. We were in Lexington last week doing a similar migration. Last week we ran into some issues.

This week there were a few, but fewer than last week. In fact, this week was a great success. Our agents begin taking calls at 5:30AM. We had to be there when they showed up for work. The tools migration affects their initial login.

I live in Pleasant Grove. It’s about 45 minutes South of Salt Lake City. That meant leaving home at 4:45. Which meant up around 4:00AM. Afternoons felt like late evening after 12 hour days. Fortunately, we completed the migration.

The thing about a big project like this is that there are lots of moving parts. There were desktop engineers, network engineers, Mission Control analysts. It’s like the credits we all sit through at the end of a Marvel movie as we wait for the end credits scene. There were people responsible for making badges and ordering lunch. There were hundreds of agents and dozens of supervisors. We even had script writers. Except ours were writing Powershell scripts and not movie scripts.

And everyone had to do their job correctly. In addition we all had to be flexible enough to react. For example, when the computers for the Online Assistance Team (OAT) got migrated on Wednesday instead of Thursday, we had to figure out how to get them migrated on the fly.

My title is Senior Program Manager. I’m the IT resource with our client. That means I move between the two companies. I help to call the shots on our side and tell the client team where to point the shots on their side. Everyone on the client side knows me and everyone on our side knows me.

If something goes wrong, I’m expected to do whatever it takes to make it go right. In Lexington that meant getting someone in North Carolina to write a script to push our updates. And then it meant going station to station with our desktop engineers to manually install the software when the script missed a step.

It also means that when things go correctly, I’m the one people look at. It’s reasonable to blame me when things go wrong, but unreasonable to give me the credit when things go right.

It’s like flying a kite. In order for a kite to fly, many things have to go right: wind, kite surface, string. If any one of them fails the kite falls. I’m the guy flying the kite. I’m expected to make sure we have the right kind of string, that we pick a windy day, that we have a well designed kite. If any of it is not right, I’m supposed to figure that out. But, I didn’t design the kite. I didn’t create the string. And I certainly didn’t cause the wind to blow.

If I didn’t plan well, that’s on me. For the kite to fly everyone had to do their parts correctly. That’s on them.

So, when I tell people that it really was the team that deserves the credit, I’m not just being modest. It’s the truth.

I can’t do this without a little help from my friends.

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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(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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