Thursday, March 28, 2013

March Whirlwind

The project I am working on as analyst changed project managers; the 3rd PM in less than a year. This situation places stress as I am the only one left in the systems side who was involved at the start. The co- manager in IBM has also changed; 2 managers in less than a year. There will be changes soon on the business side as well in the consultant side where significant members will also be leaving the project. We are expected to go live next month which further puts pressure on everyone. This has be a difficult project for me at the start with the first project leader being aggressive and ruthless to her own team; further abetted by her reliance on outside analysts who have worked with her in the past. The old guard who has been around the local office longer has continued their criticism via an email war. But I am used to this pressure and I am possibly the oldest among the team being with the company for more than a decade. One has to send blistering emails to stand their ground.

Admittedly I am new to the technology used in this project but this situation has not stopped me before. My usual strategy is to move forward while learning on the go until one gets the experience and knowledge along the way and hopefully achieves passable expertise at the point when the expertise is needed; sometime close to testing and go live, some months down the road; a strategy that has always served me well in the past, at work and in my life. The players are all new and heavy hitters, so the pressure is more intense and being new in the local office, one needs to shine and show their talent. I was more like a wanderer assigned a small but significant project in my first three years since moving from Asia; a high profile project where a few veterans may have expected failure but had managed to squeeze out some victory plus a fair amount of success despite the continuing problems. But I had moved beyond this point, developing some reputation which I need to build on by working on new projects.

A smaller project as the manager has gone live last December and closing out soon, a minor achievement that little by little adds to one’s repertoire. But the true challenge is this ongoing undertaking where 10 factories will be impacted, not an issue for me as the first troublesome mission entailed 7 warehouses. One has shown that deployment is not difficult in this place where delays are the norm and where confusion and self-inflicted disasters are occurring. The strategy is to lie low, learn and perform like a Zen master, moving quietly like the wind. This technique can be called the ‘crouching tiger, hidden dragon’ tactic. How one misses Asia as the 4 years in this new place has made me see the boring dullness but nevertheless refreshing provincial hometown feel away from the hustle and bustle of the big a cities one has been used to: Manila, Singapore, Bangkok, Shanghai, Shenyang and Tokyo. Today, the small project crossed a major milestone that signals it’s end, whereas the current project is a mess three weeks from the planned go live.

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