Wizard of Oz & The Twilight Zone

Question: What are the two movies or shows that you would use to describe your day?

Driving to work this morning, it did not take long for me to realize how incredibly windy it was outside. Looking at the forecast yesterday, I saw we could get some wind, but not nearly the 50 mph gusts that we were getting. No rain – just a lot of wind.

One of the highways I take in the morning is this pretty straight road that is lined on one side by a variety of trees and bushes. All of them are well manicured and kept. When I would feel the wind gust hit my car, I would see ahead of me pieces of the trees blowing free and casually floating down onto the road. Only as I got close to where the debris landed would I realize that it wasn’t a small twig. No, it was a huge fucking branch. Thankfully no one was hurt or hit by it. Drivers going the usual 60 mph on the, ahm, 50 mph road had slowed down given we needed to dodge both branches AND potholes.

There was once intersection where the stop lights were out. Another intersection that had those hanging stop light instead of those fixed to the pole had the light swinging around so badly that you almost couldn’t see if they were red or green.

I half expected to see:
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Once I got to work, the lights were flickering. Then an hour later, we hear, “holy shit – that trash can is going to his your car, Joe!” We run over to the window to see several guys stopping – not a trash can from hitting Joe’s car – but the dumpster! The wheels weren’t locked, and the wind had blown it away from the building into the parking lot. It was crazy.

We were all hoping the power would get knocked out so that we could go home. My boss was included in that because he called me to ask if we had power, and to text him immediately if that changes. Yeah, no one wanted to work today.

So while we waited to see if the Wicked Witch and her flying monkeys would fly by, we started working some more on the new application I got to manage project work.

At the last company, we used the same tool. I loved this tool. Quick, easy, looks at projects and resources the right way, and let me find easy ways to “report out” to the users without having to hand craft, with love, each and every update. Last Friday, we negotiated an amazing price for the tool w/ more licenses than we thought we could buy.

Yesterday, I tossed one of the projects most of my team is working on into the tool. I gave them a quick “show and tell”, then gave them access.

At the last company (and companies before that), developers have generally fought against anything that looks like “timekeeping” or “project management tool”. When I showed my guys this application, I talked about what I wanted to use it for and why. Lots of nodding heads around the table, then one asked the question I was waiting for, “do you want us to put our hours into the tool?”

I was honest. Ideally, I do. I explained why I do. But then I quickly tossed in the fact I don’t want to get a 3 page dissertation as to why timekeeping kills developers and their creative process of producing code.

“Someone did that??” they asked.

Yeah, more than just one person too – I have never had someone think it was a good idea.

They all looked at me dumbfounded. “Don’t they see the value of this tool? This is going to be great! And it has ways we can evoke it from outside of the application which will allow us to use our tool set and keep the things we do tied to this application. We’re so using this tool.”

Their chatter covered the sound of my jaw hitting the table.

Once I recovered, I told them to put their hours into the system.

“OK” – then they went back to their desk and immediately started playing with the application.

This morning, I came into a shitload of notification of things that had chanced on my project. I then got an apology for all of the changes they made with a “hope you don’t mind.” I went in and looked. Uhm, I don’t mind. They broke their work down better – they had assigned work estimates to their work. Hell, when something didn’t look right, I got to spend 10 minutes trying to figure out what was happening but only because it has been a year since I’ve played in it.

An hour later, I had two guys at my desk. “We have an idea! We think we should put this other kind of work in the system too because then it would like what we are doing to the project work a bit better. Plus, keeping all of that info in there would be the best because then everyone can see what we’re doing and how it impacts other things.”

We talked it through, then they left my desk to go put it together in the system.

When I was talking to my boss a bit later, I commented “we are in the twilight zone.”

He looked at me and chuckled, “Why’s that?”

Once I got done telling him the story, he was like, “holy shit – we have entered the twilight zone! They aren’t arguing at ALL??”

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I assured him they were not arguing but doing just the opposite. Then I showed him what they had done so far. “And another guy on the team is going to program something that links that tool with another one. He’s already reading up on how to do it.”

What a weird day so far! No wonder why I keep looking for flying monkeys!

What do you think?