First week

Finished my first week in the new role, and by Friday afternoon had it sorted in my head. Come Monday morning doubtless the story will be different, but right now a-ok.

Having said that, wasn’t terribly impressed. There was zero handover on the job, which meant I had to pick up the loose threads myself and make sense of them. That was made more complicated by there being no project manager to refer to, seemingly no project plans, and project docs either non-existent or the equivalent of something written on the back of an envelope. I get regularly astounded by the lack of professionalism and governance when it comes to project management, but I shouldn’t be – I should be used to it by now. Few companies do it well.

On top of that I was expected to get across some quite complex requirements that crossed into different functions – functions which I had no knowledge of. Without anyone to refer to or docs to brief myself I attended meetings where most of it went over my head. The only solution is to make it work for me – which means sitting down and studying the different functions closely, and mapping them out (seemingly never done previously). When I know how things work I can then make some informed decisions about it.

That’s one of the other challenges though. I rely on the cooperation of other areas and their managers to get that done. I’ve spoken informally to a few, and others I’ve sent emails hoping to schedule meetings and discuss situations. The people I’ve spoken to are agreeable, but fixing a time is an issue. My emails have largely gone unanswered.

Again, this is no great surprise. They don’t know me from a bar of soap and I haven’t been introduced, as I should have been. This was a concern going in. I have to do it all myself, which at the moment is a matter of persistence. I’ve got no cut through, and I need it.

I have the sense that these things were piling up waiting for me to begin. Then I arrived and they were basically dumped on me. I think work-loads played a part in that, but ultimately I think they were holding onto these things not knowing what to do with them. It was with relief that were finally able to hand them off to me. They became my problem.

I know what to do, but it’s at odds with the (lack of) system in place. I’m happy to push through and just do things when I have to, but I’m a firm believer that you need structure around your projects. I reckon 70% of the work goes into the planning – it’s then just a case of following the plan. There will always be challenges, but if you’ve done it right you have contingencies to.

There appears little real planning outside of the objective. It’s like setting out on an expedition with a compass, but no map. You know where to go basically, but not how to get there.

I’ll be implementing some structure, even if it only applies to my area. I’ll be insisting on some proper introductions, and looking to meet the key people in charge of key functions (there’s no application manager, and seemingly no clear-cut ownership of the major applications). I want to know what’s in, what’s out, what talks to what, and how, what is possible, and what isn’t. I want to begin tying things together.

The way I work is from knowledge. I like to understand things from the inside out. Once you do that you can spot the opportunities and the gaps. This is the only way I’m going to do it.

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