Things moving

Went into the office on Friday. We had a strategy session in the afternoon and before that a few meetings, including a crucial presentation. Afterwards, we went for a drink and then a meal at a Malaysian restaurant.

It’s the presentation I want to discuss. The proposal is to switch from a current technology vendor to another and was basically a side by side comparison of cost and functionality. This had been submitted right on Christmas for review, and on Friday we put it to the digital manager. The presentation went well, and though it still needs to be accepted by the broader business (it’s a big deal) and formally approved, it looks likely to be a goer. The ensuing project will be mine.

The presentation was well-received, but at one point, the manager asked an interesting question. He asked if we’d assessed the structure required to manage this once it became BAU and the internal costings for that.

I hadn’t, basically because up till now, and for the last two and a half years, it’s been all me and only me managing this, and consuming between 40-60% of my capacity through this period. I expect that’ll rise to about 80% through the 6-month project phase, and that others will join the project on an ad hoc basis as required. As one of the benefits to this vendor is that it opens up much greater opportunities for integration and that it’s unlocked for dev work (unlike the current application), then there is a definite case to build a BAU team around it.

This is interesting because it was clear that he envisages a team with me as the product owner, and at least one other, a BA/dev type. And that’s what he wants added to the presentation.

This is good news for me, but also tricky. It’s like when a recruiter asks what your salary expectations are. Naturally, you want to get as much as possible – but then, you don’t want to price yourself out of a job. On the other hand, you don’t want to pitch a number that makes you seem a less credible candidate. In my experience, you’re better to err on the upside. Psychologically, it appears that if you put a premium price on yourself, others are more likely to see you as a premium candidate. But then, this isn’t a job interview.

I can structure this up easy enough, though there are still a lot of vagaries. I’m hesitant to nominate dollar figures though, for myself and the other person, which ultimately would be speculative.

Regardless, it’s a positive problem to have – and reassuring also. Forget the pay rise, here’s the role they’ve been mysteriously alluding to for months. It will come with its own built-in pay rise, as well as extra responsibility.

This has always been an obvious progression for my role. I had others advocate for this 18 months ago, and it’s easily argued that I’ve performed this function absent the title (and salary) for the last couple of years. It’s strange that I should’ve felt such surprise at this development.

I think that is part and parcel of the general uncertainty I’ve experienced over the last 12 months, and potentially longer than that. I feel as if I’ve been nowhere near the top of my game. I know that I haven’t been. It’s funny to think that and then realise that others see you in a different light. Despite all my doubts and misgivings, the motivational fluctuations and existential plunges, my superiors have the faith that I can do this (as do I, of course).

It just goes to show that what you feel isn’t always visible to others. In that, I’m lucky I look the part generally, and that always counts for a lot. I have the demeanour, behaviour, and habits to carry it off, regardless of what I feel inside. Fortunately, I’m still capable of hitting top gear, though much less often – but it’s good enough to leave them with a lasting impression.

They know what they see, but I know more than that. I can still hit top gear, but my cruising speed is a lot less than it was at my peak. Obviously, it appears good enough to get by – and maybe, to get ahead. I need to improve on it, though.

As always, nothing is certain. There are still a couple of hurdles to clear, and the structure I pitch may yet be rejected. Let’s presume that it will go through. The question will be whether I take on the new role at the beginning of the project, or at the end of it – there’s a good 6 months between start and finish.

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