Friday, June 18, 2004

Since I'm on a kaiser, pet peeve #2 for PMs

So I'm a few hours away from my first cooking class.

I'm nervous yet excited. I always picture myself doing something horribly wrong. In this case, I'm imagining I set a fellow classmate's hair on fire or
chopping a digit off.

So I'm wondering what if anything I should get for my stepdad for Father's Day. Usually, my brother and I don't purchase anything. Instead it's been
dinners. I honestly, wouldn't mind getting him something if I knew of something he might like. I think a nice dinner is fine.

After pulling an all-nighter, I got the upgrade documentation and executeable files up for the clients. I'm still suffering the after effects of sleep
deprivation and I think I have a tooth ache. What a way to enter my first cooking class.

But for the time constraints I was given, I think I handled it pretty well. As discussed before, I'm not going to get a pat on the back so I will give
myself one now. ::pat pat pat:: I should make a like hand cut out on a popsicle stick and pat myself throughout the day. :-D

They have scheduled me for two weeks of demos for the users. Honestly, in this day and age,if you don't know how to click on a link on a website and
follow the instructions, you're either 90 and/or living under a rock. But I oblige because I know the help desk is going to get calls.

Just like writing the install instructions shriveled my intellectual parts, so I fear these demos will be. How many times do I need to go through typing a
url and clicking "Click here to upgrade."

I literally had to pull screen shots of every screen they will encounter, just to avoid the frantic emergency call that they saw a screen that wasn't on
the guide. The install guide for a simple gui based product is 16 pages long. 16 freakin' pages long! And no one. And I mean no one from the account support team
has reviewed it. Now, call me crazy but, if your the person dealing with the customers directly, wouldn't it be a good idea to skim the bloody book?

The training department has reviewed it and even downloaded the software.

The install technicians have reviewed it and even downloaded the software.

I suppose it's too much to ask.

Besides, they can always contact me or someone from the technical team, right?

While I'm ranting, I will continue with my second pet peeve of being an IT project manager: Account Managers.

Off the top of my head the top offenders in the AM world are:

1. Account Managers that promise the world.

2. Account Managers that routinely break protocol.

3. Account Managers that nag

Reasons why I'm bugged by the above type AMs:

1. By breaking protocol, 8 times out 10, skip a key point/information that is necessary for us backend techies to accomplish your client's request. This in
turn leads me to play the rousing game of tag email where I hold the project in order for you/or me(usually when you're too abashed to tell the client you have
no clue what you're talking about) to obtain this piece of info.

Which btw, remind me, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO EMAIL ME A THANK YOU. I hate one line emails. "ok." "thank you" Let's infer your thanking me for putting up with
your idiocy.

If a process for requests has been established use it. Use the request management tool. Don't call the request in (exceptions made for the head huncho
of course) or worse IM me the request.

2. Account Managers have not had any experience with the programming or technical portion of the request. Therefore, more often then not, they give
unrealistic time goals without consulting us 'geeks' in the isolated chamber room. [More on that another day]

As a courtesy, speak to us before giving out a timeline.

3. Nagging gets you nothing but a title, a negative one at that. I understand your client is anxious. I understand you're the ones getting the calls from
them. But a) you should have never promised them a rose garden and b) there is a thing called managing your client.

Now I've been a account manager. I know the special needs of clients. I know that you always want them to feel they are your priority regardless if they are
a small or big organization. But I can honestly say, I never promised them something without full info on the process it would involve. I'm sure some felt
I was a bit too hard fisted but my groups always got their projects done before or on the deadline. All followup reports were high marked. And to this day those
clients call me for advise or simple chit chat.

According to my darling hubby, I'm not alone in the AM hater's club. In his world, it's PMs he hates, which is actually funny since I am a PM. But in all
fairness, I have met some good AMs. But like everything in IS/IT/IR (whatever they call it now) they get sucked into that vortex. It's a strong force, that
vortex. I hope my sanity and intellectual bits survive for as long as they can.