Jun. 19th, 2012 08:43 pm

I just happened to check work email from my phone. In it, I saw a note from our director of program management, announcing that he'll be opening new positions very shortly, and would like to know if I might be interested in being considered for one of the openings.

I will interview for the position in French if I have to do so. To say that I'm interested would be an understatement of Brobdingnagian proportion- moving back to a PM role and out of testing again would be incredible.

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ravencallscrows: (mountaingoat)
After about four years of working for a company in a travel-related field and not having gotten sent anywhere, my string my finally be coming to an end. It's possible that [ profile] sneakyfreak and i may end up getting sent off to New York on the 5th and 6th of November (yes, as in a week from Monday and Tuesday) for training and certification on the new simulation software we'll be using. Personally, i'm hoping they wait until after the turn of the year to ship us off for training- i'd rather take the time to brute-force my way through the learning curve so that i can go to training knowing what things are more difficult than others for me to figure out how to model properly.

Hmm. On the bright side, the Rangers host the Flyers on Monday the 5th and the Islanders host the Rangers on the 6th- don't particularly care for any of the three teams, but if i'm travelling on someone else's dime and can possibly get to go to an NHL game one evening, that'd be nifty. Hmm. Wonder if any of the training sessions next calendar year would happen to coincide with the Senators or Red Wings playing in that town- looks as if they do it in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Detroit.

Come to think of it, i don't know that i know anyone in any of those areas. Wait- i take that back- i think [ profile] octoberveil still lives reasonably close to metro Atlanta, and [ profile] joolzie lives somewhere around metro Detroit. Anyone else i'm missing whom i should look up and say hello to should i happen to be in your town? Novi'y Yorku or el Ciudad del Los Angeles del Norte?
Managed to make it out for the fĂȘte last night for an hour. Saw several wunnerful people whom i haven't seen forquite a while, even managed to fail to recognize someone i should have known. Bah- i fail! It's nice to observe the social elite from arm's length, and [ profile] prncsmoonbeam holding court is truly remarkable to see, even if most of the assembled gentry in their finery were people i didn't- or only barely knew. Staying any longer would just have ensured that morning came far too early.

Serotonin levels seem to be rebounding- yaaaay for better living without psychopharmacology. And for the concomitant levels of feeling better in general.

Work continues to show promise. Maybe this time we're going to stop cobbling one layer of fixes onto another making a hideous patchwork over something which was broken in the first place and actually start doing things properly. It'd be about time.
Well, our work reorganization was finally announced today. I'm no longer the release manager, i'm now the project manager (possibly officially senior project manager- my boss kept saying senior, but it's not that way on the org chart) for software maintenance projects. The title doesn't particularly matter to me except for its utulity in determining salary ranges.

On paper, I have a team of outsourcers to get the work done. In practice, i've been told that the New Technology team will be a resource as well- which means i get to work with [ profile] lokheed again. This would be a good thing.

After a year of absolute futility where i was both responsible for making sure things were done and abjectly not empowered to enforce any sort of standards or requirements, it'll be nice to have something resembling both authority and support, at least in theory. I'll reserve judgement for the time being, but at this point, having been bitten by the organization a few times, i'm a more than a little inclined to take a wait and see approach. I'm definitely not thrilled about having outsourcers to work with, especially ones in Ft. Worth (well, better than the ones in New Zealand). There's something about having a degree of vested ownership which is just missing with hired guns.

It'll be nice having something approaching a peer group again. This last year has been miserable from a work perspective due to both the double-bind situation noted above, but just as significantly having no peers and feeling completely isolated. In the last year, if something needed to get done, often that meant that i did it myself which really stretched my skillset- i've fixed SQL stored procedures, .Net ASP pages, and antique ColdFusion pages, but which realistically wasn't an optimal use of my time. Still, when something needs to be done and there aren't any other resources...
ravencallscrows: (snowleopard)
A most joyous of natal anniversaries to [ profile] ithilien. :-)

Today ended up being a nine and a half hour workday because someone made me a mandatory attendee at a meeting from 4-5:30. Since I don't take lunch out and generally get in at 8ish in the morning, i leave around 4, which makes it possible to miss much of the traffic on the way home. Leaving at 5:30 pretty much ensures i hit the point where even the express lanes are at a near-standstill.

Even worse, it was a stupid-ass meeting. If director-level personnel are going to make policy decisions, they owe it to all the people who report to them and with whom they work that they know what the fuck they're talking about. By request, i brought a Visio diagramme which i spent nearly three hours of my day working on, mapping out the path reported incidents take from the point they're brought to light until they're fixed. So, of course, they decided to ignore the first two of the four columns of the workflow chart, and most of the fourth just to focus on the triage aspect. They can't decide whether we need to have triage meetings twice a week or only once. Course, they didn't have a clue how many issues get routed through the system in a month in the first place. For the record, for the month of August, there were seven issues routed to our triage queue, four of which were five minute fixes i did myself (which required fixing bad data, but no code modifications), one of which will be deferred indefinitely, and two of which are extensions of existing functionality.

We've been handling these for the last year in pretty much an ad hoc manner- for the most part, there aren't enough to require a formal process. The general structure of the department is built around two Microsoft frameworks- MOF, the Microsoft Operations Framework; and MSF, the Microsoft Solutions Framework; with the Agile methodology loosely applied on the MSF side. My position boils down to the intersection between the two, so I have to know both. My existing process for delivering user-requested changes can very easily be stated in MOF/MSF terms, and the 'Agile Manifesto' elements apply as well- it's about as streamlined as it can be considering i can't fix any code problems.

To make a long story shorter than it could be (since it's already starting to grow), the fixing stuff efficiently part of what i do is now technically separate from the triage process. It's still something i have to do/get to do, but apparently it's important to them to reclassify it as tertiary technical support. Intriguingly, i'm now supposed to both consult the development teams before touching anything within their demesnes, but also not supposed to interrupt developers during their work weeks. Exactly how the fuck i'm supposed to manage to do both simultaneously baffles me. What it'll boil down to is that i'm going to continue to do the same damn things i'm doing now, but once a week we'll all sit down and the business analysts on the two main development teams will tell me that they'll prioritize any new requests for change in their weekly planning meetings in a formalized, post hoc ergo propter hoc meeting rather than in an as-needed basis.

Stupid waste of my time. Style over substance is pointless, especially when there's damn little substance to begin with in what the development teams accomplish with regard to fixing user-reported incidents. Sometimes i wonder why i care still.
Today at work has encapsulated the highs and lows of testing, in the same event, none the less.

The downside: I spent three hours working at isolating a bug which was causing a crash under a very odd set of circumstances.
The upside: After said three hours, it was pinned down to a set of SQL table column spaces which weren't big enough to hold the data which went in them- causing two of the 460 possible query criteria pieces to truncate in such a way as to render them functionally identical, so that any query containing the two elements crashed because the query was trying to recover the same data bit twice. Realistically, chances were that it had to be one of twenty-three newly introduced elements, but it was still a namespace collision in a weird place.
ravencallscrows: (Callanish)
It has been a while since you've had to deal with a work rant from me, so scroll past if you wish.

I'm still having big doubts about the functionality of the Agile methodology, at least in our environment. Perhaps it can work in places where the needs of the business are well planned out and prioritization is all that needs to happen. We certainly don't fit that description.

We're now in a position where we have to deliver an amount of functionality. We thought we had a fair grasp on how much that was, only to have it grow three orders of magnitude in our Monday planning meeting.

So, development has some initial user stories to work on this week. Good for them. Unfortunately, the scope of them is mainly "stub out the presentation layer for this new page" "stub the business layer for this page" and so on. The scope of things which is testable for them is roughhly "yup, there's a page there."

We need to reach some level of full ownership in this project, because we're in danger of repeating the problems of the last one and reinventing the square- we're going to go from a point where test may have all of a half-hour of work (as will probably be the case this week) to points where several of these pages which are now being stubbed will be completely functional all at once, resulting in seventy or more hours of testing needing to be crammed into one week. I'd note that this is one of the things which is allegedly contrary to the methodology- which claims to deliver (citing from the principles of the methodology) "Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able
to maintain a constant pace indefinitely" or which writes test out of the bigger picture of what constitutes development altogether. As it is, there's nothing consistent other than that test gets regularly screwed. If that's going to happen, i'd rather deal with a good ol' fashioned waterfall deathmarch- at least with those, there should be some specifications and planning documents which let me write test planning in advance.

Full ownership may be the only thing which saves it, thinking logically. If I can get the development process to unify all the user stories related to a particular aspect of the whole and prioritized by aspects, and aspects completed before the next ones are completed, it may be sustainable. I'm not going to hold my breath waiting, though- cyanotic blue doesn't look good on me.


Vanya Y Tucherov

December 2016

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