I have moments in my workday where I seriously wonder if my sanity should be questioned or if it is the other person(s) that are truly crazy.
My own sanity can be questioned on a few levels – the first being what the fuck am I still doing working at this crazy ass place. That one goes without saying really. But then again, I seem to thrive in places of chaos, mainly because I’m good at being tossed into the mess and getting it in line. (Un-)Fortunately, this results in people like the CIO tossing me into shit that I have no connection to simply because “you’ll get us the real answer”. Yay?
The second level of where I have to question my sanity has to do with my approach to problem solving. It is simply to start with making sure we understand the problem we have to solve or the question being asked. Then we move onto solutioning whereby we measure the solution against the problem to ensure it is being solved. A mentor in my past drilled this into my head after he replaced our outgoing leader and realized how the guy had developed a shitload of bad habits in the team – mainly this one – solutioning first, asking the questions later.
I was given a pretty insane project – spanning several IT organizations – all with different leadership and project delivery approaches. And I am to whip them into shape to deliver shit together and on-time for each of the phrases in this project. Good times.
Oh, and the country is in the Middle East – so yay for 7am meetings….yawn!
Before my espresso had taken fully effect after an evening of drinking beer and energy, I am faced with asking myself the vital question “am I the crazy one in this meeting??”
You see, the technical team responsible for coming up with a solution to this project started the conversation by asking the vendor “can you give us all of your technical information on what you store in your database, how you store it, what you use to write to your database, how you move info within it, and your overall application design structure at a technical level?”
The vendor rep on the call responded in much the same way. I suspect he was wondering if we had all consumed crack for breakfast thereby allowing our side to think that was a good question to ask. In his shoes, I would have told us no, he was not sharing the detailed document of how they built their system because that’s their intellectual property, thank you. Instead he commented he would have to ask if they have anything to share – in English. I think that last part is what he’s going to use to say he had nothing because “it’s not in English – so sorry.”
Meanwhile, I am wondering what crack they smoked for breakfast or if it is me being crazy. I saw one of the directors who is a good voice of reason during times like this was on IM as well as listening to the call, so I pinged her.
“Why are we starting with the solution and not the problem? And why are we talking to this vendor if we, ourselves, don’t understand the problem we need to solve? Or am I the crazy one?”
Her response was to laugh at me.
After she stopped laughing and making snide remarks (as is our relationship thru IM normally), she agreed 100% with me. This was a waste of a conversation. And ironically a redudant one given the fact we know what needs to feed into the various systems because, well, we already do it with other systems!!
Ok, so I’m not the crazy person in the room – they are.
Now, as I asked this woman as well as her counterpart who is ultimately my boss – how do we fix the insanity that is running amok?
Or do we pretend we see the rabbit too?