Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Made my list and checked it twice

SO we’re in this “final” push to production for this warehouse. I can’t honestly say it’s the biggest such migration of information I’ve ever worked on, but I can definitely vouch for it having been (and continuing to be) one of the most complicated, twisty-logic, no-two-pieces-alike ones.

It’s also something like two years past the original due-date, and an awful lot of money has been spent on it, for which the buyers have seen exactly…well…they’ve seen…


Lots and lots of bills.

But not a whole lot of, you know, data.

Which, when one is shelling out lots and lots of bills for a data warehouse…can cause one to become…slightly testy.

And/or anxious.

And/or demanding.

I have frequently have trouble remembering that Certain History when someone charged up to me and asks for something pointless and/or inane and/or somewhat insulting and/or irritating.

Liiiiiiiiiiike, say, when the command was issued forth that yea, verily, we should tabulate our estimated hours-remaining on this project, to be submitted post-haste.

{cold stare}

Now mind you, I understand. I understand that they want to know what they’re in for on this deal. They don’t want to hear “blah blah whine whine problems problems not my fault and she took my favorite bear” and so forth and so on.

I actually have a lot of sympathy for these folks. This project has been…ahem…slightly less than ideal from the get-go over two years ago.

AND, honestly, if I were in charge of All This? You’d better believe I’d be snapping my fingers rather imperiously and pointing at my desk. Remaining hours. Project plan. Task list. Daily. IMMEDIATELY.

But still in spite of All That…

{cold stare}

FIRST OF ALL (I wanted to inform Various Parties), believe you me, there is nobody on this team who wants to see this thing in the rearview mirror more than yours truly.

I ain’t dawdling, kids. Fact is, I’m that voice yelling, “PUSH HARDER, C’MON, GANG, WE CAN DO THIS, LET’S HAVE THIS BAD BOY PUT TO BED BEFORE THANKSGIVING!!!” in a semi-hysterical, shrill and slightly breathless voice…because I’m pushin’ the broken-down bus as hard as I can.

MOREOVER (I wanted to continue), I think if there is one thing we should all know by now, it would be that this whole ordeal is more prone to Imponderables than I would have previously considered even remotely possible.

Seriously? I’m beginning to wonder if the project is cursed. Like, literally…cursed. By an angry god. Or demigod. Or something.

Like, take the last week. (Please. I don’t want it.) The server I’m using for the vast majority of my work suddenly got…unreliable.

Today, “something” kept restarting it. Randomly (from where I was sitting, anyway). Without warning.

Just when I was thinking that maybe I should rethink my decision not to start migrating over to the new server (which I don’t want to do because it’s an awful lot of code and data, and the new server doesn’t even have DB Mail set up yet let alone linked servers, so I’d have to do a lot of fiddling to make everything work again over there), well, guess what?

The new server is sick. Or out of space. Or something.

Anyway, they can’t get a clean backup on it.

Hmm. So, the idea of moving the data it took me about five weeks to fully compile to a server that isn’t being backed up makes me a little queasy…oooooookay, so, can’t reliably use the one I have, can’t move to the new one…um…question…?

THEN, there’s the business team itself. They keep changing the requirements on one of the big pieces. Do it this way. No, that way.

“Hey, guys!” I snap. “Remember, these things take a good 16-20 hours to generate each individual month, and we’ve got 16 months to load. Make up your damned minds, QUICKLY, or accept that you will not have them in anything like a Timely Manner.”

{more arguing and ‘fine-tuning’ happens}

THEN it turns out that they sort of forgot to mention a couple of the rebate systems.

Oh. And also? Those aren’t the prior-period adjustments. Who told you they were? Oh? Really. Huh. Don’t know why she would have said that, those aren’t the XX937GD0075s…those are the XX937GD0065s, the ones you want for that bit are on {another server I never heard of, and don’t have access to}…

Server up. Server down. MONTH CLOSE, EVERYBODY OUT OF THE POOL SO WE CAN RUN THE MONTHLY JOBS! (By the way, everything is still due in three days…)

And in this environment, you want me to try to guesstimate, in ANY way that will end up being even in the same GEOLOGIC ERA as accurate, how many more hours I’ve got to go on this deal?!

…why…do you want to make me cry…?

But, well, to be honest…I’d been sorta putting together a spreadsheet of sorts on that myself. More because I like to gather those kinds of statistics for my own purposes – which rhyme with “knowing whether or not I have enough time to walk up to Union Square for lunch after I start this.”

These are important things to know.

So I pivoted things around, and adjusted a little here for ‘this will get faster as I figure out better automation tools’ and tweaked a bit there for ‘buuut as we go further back in time, reconciliation is going to become a manual nightmare’ and then I looked at what I had and whimpered, “That can’t be right, that just can’t be right…!” and I tugged at it and fiddled with it and checked everything on it twice and argued with myself but eventually…I had to own that it was probably true.

I’ve got another 500 hours to go on just the initial load.

And after that 500 hours? I’m looking at an ADDITIONAL…oh gah, there goes my stomach again…an additional…two…THOUSAND…urk…two-thousand-three-hundred-hours-there-I-said-it.

I sincerely hope I’m wrong. I hope things get faster, and better. That things won’t be as bad in the Ancient History as I suspect they are, and that things will balance sufficiently right off the bat.

That magic will happen, and all of the crazy stuff that keeps breaking my automation will simply go away and it will Just Work and I will be done in, like three days and we can all have a good laugh about my CRAZY time estimates.

Preferably over some adult beverages.

But…I made the list. And I checked it twice. And then twice more. And made it thrice for good measure.

Unless we find somebody else I can hand this thing off to, I’m going to be sitting in this chair for a looooooong while yet…

{envisions self with long white beard}

{falls out of chair laughing…hey look, I’m not sitting in that chair anymore!!! Woo hoo, I apparently finished ahead of schedule!!!}


Steph B said...

Oh my word. I can't even type that number you said. Can't. I am (once again) INCREDIBLY grateful that I know nothing about spreadsheets or data or servers or any of that stuff, because just reading about it makes me slightly green around the gills. If I had to actually - you know - touch it? ICKKKKKK! Once again I bow to your superior skills and amazing fortitude. Now I'm going to go drink more coffee, because...well...I can. :-)

Colleen Mole said...

Just think of all your own bills you could pay off with 2500-3500 more hours of work! :) (sorry, trying to look for the silver lining for you...)