Sleep? What’s that?

Well, this site has been without an update in over a week. I’ve had my dad ask me for one, I’ve had text messages from Santa, and the Tooth Fairy is apparently getting impatient as she sent me a note saying something to the effect of “Update your damn site, or I’m putting the molars back in. And I don’t use anaesthetic.”

In the past 2 weeks, I’ve worked approximately 110 hours (thanks in part to the long weekend). We’ve been putting in 12 hour days pretty much every day and I swear to God that my feet hurt more now than they did when I was working in jobs that required you to stand for the full shift.

On par for the project, I’ve transitioned roles again, going from DME (the guy who works overnight to migrate these machines) to Day After Migration Support (aptly abbreviated as “DAM Support”; say it out loud if you don’t get it). What does this mean? Well it means that instead of co-managing 10 people who I wouldn’t trust with a plastic butter knife or a ball of play-doh, I directly manage 2 other people and go desk-to-desk in the morning, and making sure that the number of issues the user is having with their new computer can be represented in no more than 2 digits.

Well… I was managing 2 people. As of 2 days ago, one of my people were poached with sniper-like skill and dropped onto the DME team. Normally, I would be thinking “OK, that’s good, we’ll have at least one qualified person on nights who will hopefully be able to answer questions and quash any problems before they become problems.” I’m sure you can guess though, that this isn’t my train of thought currently. With 3 people on the DAM team, we were usually out of the office in 12 hours. No biggie, I can handle 12 hours. Now, we’re looking at close to a 16 hour day. *sigh*

But wait! There’s more! The night team up until now, has had a goal of 6 hours of migration time. Wait, what? They’re already working 6 hours less than me, and now they’re pulling resources from my team so that they can work even less? Something doesn’t add up here.

I’m going to reiterate that I don’t mind putting in long hours. I will do everything in my power to show Avanade that I am 100% committed to busting my hump day in and day out (especially since my lack of a full college diploma has a 90% chance of keeping me from working with them on any projects in the future), but when my team and I are being asked to make that many more sacrifices (yes, they are sacrifices as we are salary and don’t get paid overtime) just so that people who are borderline Down’s syndrome can have shorter work days, I get a little upset.

Anyways, enough of the ranting. The weather has been great, even if I haven’t been able to enjoy it as much as I’d like. I also got to go camping just outside of a town called Sundre this weekend.

For those of you who haven’t yet memorized the name of every town in Alberta, it’s about an hour north of Calgary, and just a little west of the #2 highway (which connects Calgary and Edmonton) where the hills transform from hills, to mini rocky mountains (maybe 100-200 feet in height). We left Friday evening, and after having to sleep in my 2 seater car because my best friend Dave forgot his 10 man tent slash outdoor living room, drank enough vodka to make even the most veteran KGB agent proud.

The site was literally right on the river; if you are sitting at the picnic table and take 3 steps back, you’re falling off the 10 foot “cliff” and going for a swim in the water that can only be described as not so much “cold” as “painful”. Swimming wasn’t exactly an option for those of us with less than 1% body fat, but it did make for a great refresher to soak your head in in the 29 or so degree weather we were blessed with. One of my buddies Brett was pretty much drunk from about an hour before he woke up till a few hours after sleep time, and as such didn’t feel the pain so much and made an effort to show us “how much of a man [he was]” by taking a swim in the river daily. Coincedentally, he was also the one who complained that after being in the river, he went from being “THE MAN OF MEN” to having an innie. Go figure.

All in all, it was a great weekend, and I took a ton of pictures with my new camera. When I get home (I’m still at work), I will be uploading the 175 odd pictures that I took of the scenery, as well as Brett in the river, and the 2-man beer bong that he built hours before leaving the city with 2.5″ PVC plumbing pipe and ball valves.

Anyways, I will try to keep this blog updated next week with all the goings on, but if this week is any indication, it might not happen until Friday or so. Dave has gone to Venezuela this week to visit our buddy Logan who moved down there to work on the rigs, which means I have 2 weekends of freedom which will hopefully allow me to catch up on the rest that I have been severely lacking the past two weeks.

Talk to you guys soon!

Yahoo!

Well, it’s 10:13am, Friday, August 25. I’ve already been in 1 meeting and a on a conference call that have decided the fate of the project I’m working on right now. Describing the atmosphere in this office as “tense” would probably win the “Understatement of the Year” award, if it were not for the fact that it’s Friday, and everyone’s looking forward to 2 days of rest before the explosion of molten crazyness that is about to spew forth from Mount I.T.

I’m going to go back a little and explain the situation I’m in and why I’m about 3 seconds away of having a mental breakdown that would rival that of most psych ward inmates.

On August 1st, I took a new position with a company called Avanade. I’m pretty sure you’ve never heard of it, which is surprising because we’re 80% owned by Accenture (god bless Arthur Andersen) and 20% by Microsoft. This company does something stupid like 30 billion dollars of revenue a year, and we only have about 1400 employees.

Anyways, to get back on track, the project I was assigned to was for the COE (Common Operating Environment) Deployment for ConocoPhillips/Burlington Resources. What does that mean? It means that we are giving 3400 Burlington employees new computers. No big deal, right? 3400 computers; 15 guys on my team. We can EASILY do this in 4 months. … Sorry, what was that? … 2 weeks?

Excuse me while I throw up.

So I am given the title of DME (Desktop Migration Engineer) but am promptly thrust into the DME Lead limelight with a few of my other more skilled co-workers. This means that on top of preparing myself for the hurricane that is awaiting me ahead, I also have to co-manage 10 other techs. Alright, I can do that. But wait, there’s more. It also means that every day, I am part of a conference call where we discuss what is going on, determine logistics of the project (as we will not only be deploying computers here in Calgary, but in sites all over northern Alberta, as well as in Texas) and ultimately determine whether each part of the project is go/no-go.

When we started the project we were told that we would be migrating computers no later than Monday, August 21. (If you will kindly take note, it is currently 4 days after that date, and I have not been migrating desktops or doing real work but rather in meetings and on conference calls.) Last Thursday, starting at 8am, we had conference calls every 4 hours until 8am Friday (yes, that includes midnight and 4 am) with each team involved in the project. Those teams would include the Calgary/North Alberta and Texas DME teams, the Application Packaging team, the Infrastructure team, Logistics, as well as the VP of I.T. of ConocoPhillips. As of Friday at 8am, 24 hours after the first “go” on the first call, we received our final “go” on the final call and we all agreed to schedule the project to officially start on Monday.

We get to the office at 1pm (we will be migrating the machines after business hours so as not to cause any inconvenience to the users during the day) and we are greeted with an e-mail indicating that the project has been delayed until Wednesday. Say what now? Well it seems that the app-pack team misunderstood when we asked “Are you 100% ready for a Monday deployment?” Apparently they heard it as “Are you retarded and should you be hit in the face with a brick?” Naturally, they answered “ABSOLUTELY!”

So on Monday, we have a few more meetings and a few more conference calls, and we all determine that while a Wednesday go time isn’t optimal, it simply means that the project has been pushed back two days, and isn’t going to cause any major problems.

Well it wouldn’t have caused any problems if we had gone on Wednesday. No, it seems that on Wednesday, the IT team who was to be our first deployment group (something of a test group) was going to be moving offices from one building to another. Whoopsie. Were you going to tell anyone? Nope. Didn’t think so.

So it’s now Friday, and after a meeting and a conference call already under my belt for the day, and more to come in the next few hours, we have tentatively been given the go ahead for a Monday deployment. However, you’ll understand if I seem a bit skeptical.

Anyways, that’s been my life in the past few weeks. While there’s been a lot of stress flowing through the office, there’s also been a lot of positive feedback coming through since we’ve been able to do more testing and work out some bugs in the process that we would have never found had we gone on time.

Thanks for reading, and I do plan on updating this very regularly (hopefully every few days; once a week at the very least). If you want to e-mail me, you can reach me at: nexxai _AT_ gmail [put dot here] com

My Sad Life in 30 Seconds

I’ve had a couple of conversations with people back home who keep begging me to start a blog about what’s going on out here in Cowtown and my new job. I know there isn’t really a lot of content here right now, but I promise that I will be updating this page at the very least weekly with what’s going on in my life.

I’m actually incredibly tired after my day at work today (hooray for 11 million dollar projects that are 3 months behind schedule and we STILL don’t have the go ahead to start), but tomorrow I’ll spend my lunch writing up a post.

If you think someone in the family might not have received an e-mail letting them know about this page, could you do me a favor and pass it on? :)

Good night!
Justin