Work Stories – The Subtle Truth?

Sitting here at my desk in the headquarters of a bank in Glasgow, I’ve been here a month, brought in as a consultant to sort out a system that was meant to be delivered in summer last year, its still nowhere near yet, but I have a Plan B.

Without boring you with all the details, they are replacing one of their main banking systems, upgrading the version of the software, migrating the data across and changing the reporting technology form Excel and Access to Business Objects.

Business objects is a reporting tool that creates a “semantic layer” between the end users who generate the reports and the complex transactional database.

It’s supposed to make things simple, unfortunately in my experience thats hardly ever the case because the BO developer don’t make any effort to understand the business or spend time with the business users.

The current issues are that the the customisation of the new system and the migration of the old data is taking longer than required, the business objects universe provided is not fit for reporting purposes and the “super-user” team within the business who were then left to create the reports.have an impossible task.

Right now, my manager, who is a nice guy but non technical is fire-fighting, it’s a blame game, everyone wants to shift the blame to everyone else and buy themselves a little more time to get their part right because they are waiting on the guys at “fault”.

Higher level management just want it operational, its already way over budget and way over timescales .. its making them look bad!

Why is the project so late?

Because of the people involved, because of the lack of knowledge in management and the technical people brought in to design and implement this project.

I’m a late arrival, but I’ve already made a tangible difference .. my plan B is coming on and its taking me weeks to get something done that they haven’t managed in a year, it’s a work-around, but will let them progress and buy them time to come up with a better solution.

But a few thoughts ..

It never fails to amaze me the arrogance of people who are well paid but don’t deliver, take the money but no responsibility and are first to blame someone else.

It never fails to amaze me the stupidity of organisations who employ expensive contractors who don’t deliver instead of employing and retaining well paid staff, retaining the knowledge within the business rather than losing it to contractors.

It never fails to amaze me the lack of coherence in organisations who employ contractors in various groups, but one hand doesn’t talk to the other, no wonder there are problems.

Me?

I don’t do politics, I don’t do problems, I do solutions .. that’s my job, I take personal and professional pride in it.

Sometimes, I’m not popular, because I tell it as it is, but that’s okay, I’m not here to make friends.

What I’ve found is that the truth hurts, at work it can embarrass, it shines a light on things people would rather remained in the dark, but truth is what matters and if someone is hiding then they don’t.

However .. What I’ve learned over my career is not to be too direct,  as that only causes resentment.

Experience has taught me that it’s much  better to speak the truth quietly without apportioning blame, provide solutions not problems, get people on your side and let them work out for themselves where the failings lie.

As I said, I’m Plan B, my solution is interim but it gives them something to work on, a deliverable that works and keeps them up to date with regulatory changes.

And additional bonus wiuldopefully they bin a lot of the chancers who are here taking money for nothing.

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