To answers everyone’s question, yes I am back. I have been back since the 15th of May but because of the bucket load of work waiting for me, I hadn’t been able to blog about anything until now.
10th April 2013 :
When we arrived at the client’s site, we discovered it was a public holiday as their new elected president was being sworn in today. We thought we had caught a lucky break so we went back to the hotel to either work on the golive plan or rest. Though it was shortlived, we got a call from our client while it was a holiday but we were expected to come in and work with the skeleton crew there.
Finally now that we were there our worse fears were confirmed, in the six months since we had left, client had done no UAT nor did they do any of the mandatory certifications with the other systems meaning none of the possible issues that would have been uncovered by UAT have yet to be fixed. Golive is only possible once the UAT had uncovered all the issues and client was comfortable with using the system, none of these conditions had been satisfied at all even though our PM had informed us everything was ready to go on client side.
They were neither comfortable or ready and we knew high hell there would be heaps of issues since this system was very new and because of cost cutting measures at our company, there was no QA done for this product and the PM instead relied on the client to help uncover them- sort of like how Microsoft got their customers to test their flagship product for free.
From there on until …..
We immediately knew that golive was not possible as we would be spending all our time doing 6 months of UAT and 4 weeks of certification in the 4 weeks allocated for this phase. We immediately emailed our own project manager to have him discuss with the client but then that was when the shit really hit the fan…..
No matter how many emails we sent or tried to contact the PM through phone, SMS and etc, we just couldn’t get a hold of him completely. It was as if he had vanished off the planet without a single trace. To make matters worse, our own Team leader was away on a family emergency essentially leaving us at the mercy of the overzealous client who wanted us to do 6 months of UAT and 4 weeks of certification in 3 days so they could go live the following week. We knew it could not be done especially the fact we were very inexperienced. It would be a very long week.
By the second week, the client was pretty pissed at both of us since we couldn’t pull off the miracle they wanted. We told them that because no UAT had been done, they couldn’t expect the system to be flawless, that was our big mistake, client had been under the impression (no thanks to marketing) that the system would work out of the box once installed and setup. Considering the nature of the product, this was an incorrect assumption…..
Just as we thought we were in total shit as our project manager had abandoned the project (heard that he was onsite at another client’s site to work on another one of his mess as that client was even more pissed with him than this one), luck sent us help in the form of the regional manager from our company who by coincidence was visiting this client for a friendly face to face visit but instead was horrified by the situation at hand.
Immediately the regional manager setup a meeting with us to find out what had bloody happened. The client had put the blame squarely on us for them not carrying out the UAT since they thought the product would installed and work flawlessly. The regional manager immediately first contacted the emergency suport team to assist us in fixing the issues found in the system as we carried out UAT while she called for another emergency meeting with top management to setup a new plan instead of us having us aimlessly fix issues. It was then made known that the PM (the missing idiot) should have been working along with the client to ensure that they did carry out the UAT. Clearly he had failed in his duties and had abandoned the project to work on his other messes.
It would be another 2 weeks though before management came back to the client with a real plan but by then problems were still coming in. Our stay was extended by another week to carry out additional work, it was very bad because a lot of promises had been made by the now MIA PM to the client, management had to make a lot of consentions to the client. They even had me stayed on longer while my partner went back as they claimed they wanted me to assist in testing but in actual fact they just wanted to hold onto resources so if in the off chance they managed to complete their testing (1% chance only) , they would try to golive next. In short, they held me hostage on site forcing the company to keep focus on them. I don’t blame them, recently we had done something like that where I was pulled off this same assignment at the last minute because another assignment really needed the assistance but at least they treated me nicely.
Though the long duration and pressure from the client on site was getting to me as I couldn’t think straight and was incredibly tired. In the end management managed to come to an agreement that I could be allowed to return home but fully assigned to the client and working under their Kenyan time. They of course were not happy about it as they are worried about being shafted again but I was too tired and honestly speaking I couldn’t care.
In the end :
So what happened next? Well I’m back as I said but still working on client issues on client time and we would again be going back to Nairboi in June. What happened to the brainless PM? (I had actually thought he was good) Well it seems managers at my company are never held accountable for their mistakes and instead get big increments and promotions for it. I guess that’s how the working world works, I had already complained to my management but seeing how they dealt with the PM during my Prague assignment, I am very doubtful anything will happen.
Though I did make a promise, if I ever go to Cyprus again I will go look for him in his cubicle when he least expects it and carve him a new smile with my combat knife. The bastard left us to die in Kenya and I aims to repay the favor ten fold.
But don’t think I didn’t try and enjoy myself at least in Kenya, on the contrary on the weekends we didn’t work, Stella and I did go for another Safari~~! More on that later, as I still have the blog entries from last December to write.