Thursday, February 14, 2013

Into the Great Unknown

.“God – grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference” – the Serenity Prayer
Emphasis mine…because this control-freak needs the reminder.
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I have quickly discovered that what I am trying to build is a hairy scary thing that does not fit terribly well into our current models.

Our project management models appear to work better with single application implementations and upgrades. Even our most complicated project (revamping our communications system) is centered around the selection of a single-vendor and a previously integrated toolset.

My stuff appears to be special.

Essentially – I am trying to integrate multiple, unrelated things into a scalable whole.

Portal – likely NOT through an LMS vendor, because people aren’t working in an LMS and the vendors still won’t provide everything I need it to do. Besides, I want to be able to get folks where they are actually working vs. making them go elsewhere.

Reporting – I want to be able to leverage actual business information. That information isn’t appropriate for import into an LMS. I also want to be able to pull information from content that is outside our primary content library vs. trying to force an import into the content library. That solution isn’t scaling all that well, and with the issues with Java – won’t be sustainable unless our primary vendor comes up with a solution quickly.

I want to be able to plug and play.

I want the system to be so awesome that the individual terrorist cells that comprise our staff training “program” decide they want to use it too.

I want our employees to actually be able to find training and support without having to rely on the experience, knowledge, and aptitude of their manager. Ideally when and where they need it.

As a result of my attempt to do the hairy scary – I am finding myself in the interesting position of being a lab rat for:

The SWAT team’s attempt at creating a process for developing enterprise solutions

The business process folks attempts at creating an orderly project process

The Data Whisperer’s attempts to go from an artisan shop to a major Business Intelligence program, including governance

Because we don’t have defined processes for what I am trying to do, and because what I am doing touches other big hairy scary projects, everyone seems to be making stuff up as we go along.

It’s a pretty uncomfortable position to be in. I seem to be at the mercy of people much more powerful than I am. I’m still trying to figure out how to play well with others.

The next couple of years look to be an interesting lesson in managing upwards and letting go of the details.

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