Well, today I took on a daunting task.
It’s a revisit of something I did more than a year ago. I worked my fat fingers right to the bone on it. The process was to allow a customer to access a website within our website, without giving them access to the company network. We got that set up after some discovery and investigation. With minimal toil, we had it working.
Then I needed to code up a way for the customer to leave comments or questions on a spreadsheet. Those comments and questions have to be retained, uploaded, downloaded, and always be with the correct row of the spreadsheet. It wasn’t easy, but we got it done. I did a lot of Internet searching to find solutions which were workable. Done and done.
But then…a new person takes over the position for the customer. The customer is smaller, and an “build-to-order” customer. That is, they make equipment which requires them to build one when it’s ordered, not keep them around. Unlike Ford, GM, and DaimlerChrysler, they don’t push out x-number of units to sell from dealers. I guess.
Well, that means they do a lot moving around and altering their forecasts. They push orders out, move them in, alter demand. They can do it on pretty short notice. And they expect their suppliers to be fluid and flexible with them.
So the new guy takes over for the former person. He’s a jerk. No two ways about it, he’s a straight-up jerk. (I have a better word I like to use for people of his general attitude, but I’ll keep it family friendly here.) He’s going to revise how things are done there, because that division of his company doesn’t do things the way they’re “supposed to” (to hear him tell it – aren’t we all the hero of our own story?).
This new guy is on a conference call a few weeks ago with me, my boss, the Customer Service Supervisor, and someone from his team. I’m dropped into this call on almost no notice, and find out I’m supposed to walk the customer through using our solution once I get on the call. We discover the user doesn’t have Windows LiveMeeting installed. We can’t demo the product online with him, we have to talk him through it. He thinks his fecal matter is odorless and he can handle it, so I proceed.
Part of the way through the call, he starts seeing some past-due items, and takes that opportunity to derail the course of the call and start grilling us about those items. Then he states maybe there’s a “size and direction” mismatch between the small, build-to-order customer, and the large, “unresponsive” supplier.
I rolled my eyes so hard during that call I got a headache. But later, the hard work I put into the system – which worked for the most part – starts getting changed.
The Customer Service Supervisor has lots of ideas she wants to implement. The CSR – who doesn’t like me and for whom I have no lost love either – wanted to complain openly about it, to me. I shut her down strongly, and then told the CSS I’d look into the changes. I did.
It took me months to do the work the first time. The changes I expected to take at least days to complete, to test, to implement into production.
Nope. Got ’em done today. They weren’t hard at all – and I got my preliminary testing done too. Now I can pass it off to the CSS and CSR and let them play with it. Once they sign off on it, they can put it into production. (And by “they”, I mean “me”.)
It looked so daunting from Monday’s seat. It looked worse the more the CSS added wishlist items. It wasn’t.
I bless the Lord God Most High for the knowledge He’s poured into my head. I never dreamed, even when I wrote the original program, it would come so easy to me.
So help me, I’m almost a computer programmer, by gum.
Tomorrow I’m burning a vacation day. Have a great weekend, everyone.