Thursday, 10 January 2008


I found out yesterday that I was being rolled of the project I am currently on. I was very ill prepared and I had been guilty of kidding myself the project was going on forever. I had made the classic mistake of inaction believing that denial resolves into desire. It has been quite a strange experience seeing a project draw to a close. I have learnt there are two pains to consultancy on a project of this kind: people roll off and you roll off. It was strange to come back after Christmas to see the team halved. People you'd worked very closely with - whole days pairing together side by side - good friends who are suddenly not there. Though it isn't literally here today gone tomorrow the period between finding out someone is going and them being gone is very short - there isn't the one month notice period and the usual "good luck with your next job" as essentially nobody left ThoughtWorks, they've just left the team, but TW being such a vast place it feels as if they get sucked up back into the unseen world of clients.

The biggest shock is when you yourself get your papers. It was a moment I was inwardly dreading: I knew I rolled off mid-January but I was hoping that my term would be increased, I was hoping the project would go on but the cogs that do turn leave my assignment end date landing in a void where there is currently no commitment to extend the project meaning I've popped up as a resource to be used somewhere else. In someways the great Resource Management machine can feel quite heartless and random, as I guess it should be, but the first time you experience it - especially after ten years of in-house employment - you realise how it's dangerous to ignore it.

It's been a great project: the best I've ever worked on. It's renewed my faith in development; I've never enjoyed my work as much as I have over the last 5 months. Although not everything has been perfect - the pace too aggressive, the project too short, a feeling of uncertainty over it's lifespan - it has proven to me how much better agile is especially when you apply all the best practices from stands-ups, story walls, retrospectives, continuous integration, testing and of course pairing (I have developed a terror of having to solo again: back to the days of insoluar, procrastinating, under productive depression). From it's earliest days I wanted to drag old colleagues in and show them how this project has lived and breathed in a way so unlike all the bureaucratic process driven drivel that I have had the unpleasure to work on or the other political chaos zero management departments out there. The people have renewed my faith in development too: working with people who seem to get *it*; a whole team (QAs, BAs, developers, project managers etc.) who care about what they do, bother to learn and understand and discover, has been mightily refreshing.

So a farewell to a great project and the great team I have had the please to work with. I hope I come across your paths and get to work with you again. A special mention to Sukita and Seema who are not only great role models for that all too rare bread of women in IT but have character of Dickensian proportions and, in the highly unlikely event of media type people reading this, deserve their own TV show (Sukita already has broadcasting experience). Also special mentions to the other half of the fire team: Greg, and to Alex for all our discussions on Russian literature and the church.

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About Me

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West Malling, Kent, United Kingdom
I am a ThoughtWorker and general Memeologist living in the UK. I have worked in IT since 2000 on many projects from public facing websites in media and e-commerce to rich-client banking applications and corporate intranets. I am passionate and committed to making IT a better world.