Wait, I’m supposed to have results in 3 and a half more weeks?

A shrine for best wishes
A shrine for best wishes

Random Observation/Comment #30: “I’d say that in a full week, I do about 15 minutes of real work.” ~Office Space

My weekends are always more exciting because I actually get off my bum and go somewhere to experience new things.As previously mentioned, the routine has been increasingly mundane, even if I try my hardest to stray from familiarity.The internet is the same here as it is back in the states and I find myself looking at the same sites for news, communities, and shyts-n-giggles.Luckily, the Colbert Report is taking two weeks off, which means I have time to do more work – well, not exactly, but I’d like to be optimistic.I’m half way through the project, with half of my time here completed.This may sound like I’m on schedule, but any good planner knows to expect problems and management changes.

Usually I’m on top of my game, but I’ve been spending a lot of free time day dreaming about weekends and planning new trips – I guess I’ll just have to buckle down and produce some results for next week.The work I do is not difficult, but there are many unexpected obstacles because of the sheer magnitude of the project.My part must integrate into the bigger picture, and it must be flawless and heavily tested before my final submission.On top of the working product, I will also need full documentation to pass any unfinished or potential offspring of my idea to the next generation.This seems to be the trend with all generic projects, whether it is software or hardware.Here are a few random guidelines of what to expect and advice at each step:

  1. What the shyt am I doing? – Understand the problem. Do the research around the subject and read the existing papers within the field.Talk to everyone around you to get their opinions and keep an open mind to alternative applications.
  2. Who can I exploit? – Recognize all possible resources at your disposal.The big “I” internet is a good place to start, but your coworkers will also have insightful input.
  3. What the crap will I do about that gaping flaw in my logic? – Plan your course of actions.Don’t just leave the big problems to “we’ll figure it out later.”This always blows up in your face if you don’t at least have an outline of how things are going to get completed.Take an approach of separating the problem into layers between the developer and the user.
  4. Stop bothering me about when things are due – Make a lenient and reasonable schedule.Your boss will love this whole schedule thing.At the end of the day, he’s just waiting for your progress so he could report to his immediate superior or make useful decisions based on data.Start with the assumption that you’ll need more time.Don’t show off your speed, but rather impress them if you complete your task early.
  5. Goodbye social life – Work your ass off to meet deadlines.Good things take time, and you’ll probably have to be a hermit for the hours you’re slaving away.Don’t forget to eat – seriously.
  6. Yeah, we ran into a few problems – Remake the schedule and come up with more excuses.Managers hate excuses and they see them from a mile away.I think they expect the first thing coming out of your mouth to be a lie if you haven’t met the deadline.Man up to it and just explain the problem and possible solutions.How will your delay effect the end product and what will you do to make sure this works out.
  7. Those aren’t flaws; they’re features – Test your project with a metaphorical hammer.It’s embarrassing if your project breaks during the first week of launch because someone did something you didn’t plan for.Most users are idiots.Make sure your product/project is idiot-proof.
  8. This project is going down with me – Document your lines of code or some important findings. Projects are always left with the need of improvement, but don’t leave the poor sucker who has to follow-up in mid sente–
  9. It kinda sorta works – Present your results in a meaningful manner.Emphasize the dollars if you want more funding or the essence of your accomplishment and future improvements.Knowing your audience is best.Face it – a business man doesn’t care about the gruesome details as long as it works and he’ll make some money off of it.

I’m not sure how this entry became a guideline towards project life cycles, but it’s all very solid advice.I learned it from all the experiences I’ve had throughout Cooper, Red Hen, Credit Suisse, and this research lab.At least you can take a little comfort in expecting these same problems in almost every career with a boss.Three and a half weeks left.Gambate.

~See Lemons in Deep Shyt

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