Daily Journal – Mar 14, 2017

After today’s incident at work, I decided that I will start blogging again.

First, let me start off by saying that my so call working life has been rather smooth sailing for me because I tend to avoid potential challenges that will put me in uncomfortable situations. All in all, I have worked for four different companies, internship included. Now I’m with my fourth company.

Let me give you some background.

This job with this fourth company, I specifically choose it to avoid continuing down the path of being just the programmer. I feel that I should start developing myself to be  a “professional”. That’s where the money is, isn’t it? So it was time to get uncomfortable.

So what I do is that I help implement identity management solutions for clients. I won’t say which company I work for but since I already mentioned it’s niche, you can figure that out. I have been with this company for nearly 6 months.

Two weeks ago, I went downhill in terms of my performance. Today, everything just exploded in my face in front of everybody in the company. I have no one else to blame but myself.

Now let’s get to the juicy part. First of all, I will start off by listing down what I have contributed or achieved.

During the past 6 months, I have got myself familiarized with the identity management product and it was something that I have never touched before. Then, I started actually implementing the solutions through configurations of the product to achieve what the customer wants. As part of the project scope that was assigned to me, I got myself acquainted with Active Directory and SAP as those are some of the systems to be connected and be managed by the product. Along the way, I got involved in meetings with customers to collect requirements and to sync up on various issues like what to do for SIT, UAT and how to go Production. While implementing the solutions, I also help to discover on how certain things work and contributed to the knowledge base, and set certain standards. I also corresponded with users to ensure that we are able to connect to various other systems that are in the project scope for the Production environment.

Then come February and it was time for SIT. So I got involved in preparing to port over the implementation that we have in the Development environment to the UAT environment. During this migration, I found a way to speed up the porting process and did it. Finally, I tried to conduct regression testing and prepare the necessary test data. Also, I help prepared the SIT and UAT document.

Late February and early March, which is now, I conducted the actual SIT with users and help logged down any issues discovered.

That’s all for the things I have done. Now let me talk about the mistakes I made.

In preparation for the SIT, I made the mistake of not pulling myself above the “implementation” mindset. I still got my hands dirty with the details to implement a solution. As a result, I lost sight of the big picture. Once I lose sight of the big picture, things start to fall apart. My manager was actually depending on me to plan out everything but I didn’t. In the past, people help me plan, I simply do. I brought this mentality to this new company, which is a costly mistake. So what happened next was that I’m scrambling to pick up the pieces and try to make everything work for SIT, which leads to even more mistakes and corner cutting.

In the remaining days leading to the actual SIT, I was suppose to do and plan the regression testing but as I am scrambling and in a panic mode, the regression testing was delegated out to another junior colleague without proper instruction. So the end result was that, during the actual SIT, there were multiple errors and issues.

Also, during the actual SIT, I did an extremely poor job of managing the testers, the testing schedule. The end result was that I’m idling most of the time and got controlled by the users instead. Then I didn’t coordinate with my colleagues who were helping me to conduct the SIT and let them know what’s going on. I also didn’t follow up with my colleagues like checking on their status, how are they faring.Everything was done remotely. I was simply overwhelmed by the whole thing. In my defense, I have never done any SIT and was never a Team Lead in my working life.  I have always be a lonewolf being managed by someone. Last by not least, when it comes to logging down an issue, I didn’t check back with the signed functional specification, user requirements to help me determine if I should log down the issue. I also didn’t spotaneously open support case with the product vendor of the things discovered. When it comes to loggin down an issue, I wasn’t being very clear on what’s the problem. I keep making the mistake of writing in pure layman English.

As a result, today, I got a massive scolding from my management. Everyone is just there watching. I can say it is one of the worst day of my life. But, there is always opportunity for learning.

So here are what I can learn from this mistake:

  1. I should pull myself away from getting my hands dirty with the implementation details. Anything that I have to try, should be done in the quickest manner.
  2. I should study everything I can about a project, especially the background, and get myself to see the big picture.
  3. I should be assertive when it comes to managing the customer and schedule it with them in advance when doing anything such as testing so as to maximize my time.
  4. Whenever I delegate something out, I have to be sure of the big picture, the end goal and explain clearly what is to be achieved.
  5. I need to plan out the things to do in the coming week and ensure my team and I stay on task. Always find ways to maximize my time spent during office hours and get the most done.
  6. Need to learn to prioritize work over relaxation during critical period of any projects. Work-life balance is bullshit during such situation.
  7. Learn to move forward and get things done instead of focusing on the bad things that has already happen.

Here I conclude my journal for today.