Monday, February 2, 2015

I Live in Iowa: Week 189

Hands down one of the most stressful weeks of my career, if not my life considering how much I bundle my self-esteem into my work. Why was it so bad? Well, I have visibility to several things before they rise to the point of affecting the whole team. Whether or not it is my responsibility to look at them in as much detail as I have been, I don't know, I'm just trying to be thorough. Anyway, I'm making calls on what is acceptable and what we need to rework. Twice this week I got it wrong, like really wrong, major delays to the entire group.

Maybe I'm not entirely to blame, in fact I think a lot of the blame can be placed on other people, but I feel responsible, and while feelings are not fact, they sure feel like it. I've found that playing the blame game is something people really like to do. "It's not my fault, it's their fault!" We like to say when there are problems. Well, I internalize all of these issues and make them my own. The problem is, some of these issues surround components and subsystems that I have no idea about what is acceptable or unacceptable. I'm trying to give visibility to the people who would know better, but I'm not doing a great job at it, or maybe they aren't doing a great job of responding. Man, communication is always such a challenge.

The other side of it is, I feel like we are moving too fast to do a high quality job. So many of the things we are putting together have never been tested with each other. Many of the people working on these issues were not the people here two years ago, much less four years ago. There is a pressure to deliver on time, and to deliver a high quality product, and I'm afraid we can't have both, at least not this month, maybe next month. I'm spending more time simply identifying issues than I am solving them. I nearly have a quality engineer working full time just trying to document aall of the issues I am finding. 

To quantify this, of the 60 hours per week I am working, about 10-15 are spent reviewing these issues that are coming back to bite me, another 10-15 are mostly wasted standing around waiting for something critical to get done and watching that it does get done right, 15-20 are spent helping teach people how to do something, or checking they did it right, and the remaining 10-20 hours are spent identifying and reworking a slew of other problems that we aren't identifying until there is a problem. 

I know this is what I signed up for. I knew for the last 16 months that this winter was going to be stressful and difficult. And I know, if I make it out of this to this summer, I will call it probably the greatest accomplishment of my career so far. My hope is as we solve issues the pace of new issues will slow down. The standard goes that for every ten issues solved, another four show up. 

Running went rather well. I got 51 including taking Saturday off because I was so tired from work. I even did a 5k tempo in 17:50. While it felt fairly easy it did take some effort. This week of training looks not very good for running, but great for cross country skiing because we just had 10+ inches of snow! I already did close to three hours Sunday morning!

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