I won't say how many work hours I logged during my vacation, but my managing director would have my hide if she knew. She is very strict about not working when we are on vacation, but usually I don't take off in the final stages of a complicated project. We are coming up to the final push to go into production with what we have, but the business is starting to push back pretty hard, to the point where they are threatening to stall it past the firm production date if we can't deliver on their latest demands.
And I don't blame them at all.
I think I have bitched about this project earlier (if not here, then other places) with its vague requirements and moving targets. The thing is that it did not start off with vague requirements; the business gave a list of eighteen core reports they needed replaced because the systems that house those reports are slated for decommissioning. At the start, we took that list of reports, started gathering requirements on them, and began delivering some of the easy hits, with a tentative time line on the rest.
That's when IT stepped in and said, "This suite of reports does not match our current reporting paradigm in the new environment. What we will give them is a single, massive dashboard with the bulk of their metrics in one place, with one or two supplemental reports to provide them with some of the details." That would be great if it was what the business had wanted, but it wasn't. The higher ups in IT assured them that they would love it once they got their hands on it and realized that it was the New Way Of Doing Things.
The business finally got their hands on it, and surprisingly they don't like it because it barely gives them a fraction of what they currently have and need. They are pushing back hard because they believe (rightly) that they were bullied into this by IT, and are not being given what they were promised.
They are not the only business unit that is starting to get annoyed with the new direction of IT. I have been caught in the middle of a battle between our service centre and IT over their refusal to deliver an important dashboard that the centre has been after for years. IT has built the dashboard, but it suffers because of bad records coming in from customers and other carriers alike.
Bad data is just a fact of life in this business - when Joe Shipper in Atlanta is sending a carload of sulphur pellets for export at the port of Vancouver, he doesn't know or care about the finer points of whether the facility he is shipping to is in Port Moody, Lynn Creek, Van Wharves, or Vancouver Wharf; he's sending it to Vancouver. We just have to accommodate that bad data because if we don't the other guys will. Most of our systems have tolerances built in to deal with it, but suddenly the new paradigm at the top of IT is that we are not going to do that any more. Even though our routing and billing systems will handle it fine, our reporting systems are now going to be G.I.G.O. engines.
On the one side we have the business saying, "Just give us the damned dashboard." On the other side we have IT saying, "We will give you this broken one, but we are under a strict embargo against modifying incoming data for it, so you'll have to live with something useless." I am stuck in the middle saying, "It's called an umbrella table, people. It's not modifying anything, and they exist in almost every application we've produced to date. Why the change now?" Oh, and the developer who was working on the dashboard has left the company. Guess who is probably going to get saddled with his unfinished work?
I worked with it a bit earlier when I had to try and interpret his work. I can figure out most of it fine, but there are some parts where I have no clue what he is trying to do - though I suspect that's because he also had no clue. He's a good coder, but is working from zero business knowledge. Our department head hinted that she has a project in mind for me once I get back from vacation. I am praying that it is not this.