According to my timesheet I am a level IV Project Manager. I don't even know what that means. I have a feeling it means whatever it had to mean to get me in the door at the same bill rate as a technical consultant lumped into the category as consulting professional (meaning they can actually lead a project - maybe, we hope, please). I have been called Release Manager (meaning whatever the person using the title needed it to mean in the moment), Project Manager, Engagement Manager, DRM (it's a thing) Resource Manager, Departmental Interface, DSM (not a thing, a department) Ambassador (erm), and Scrum Master. Oh, and the person who keeps Mike's head from popping off.
Here. Do this. OK?
What is this, exactly?
That's the thing, if I had ANY remaining fear left of not having a freaking clue or people knowing that I didn't have a freaking clue about something I'd have sunk to the bottom of the Mariana Trench and gotten my foot stuck just shy of Challenger Deep. Who names these things anyway?
At least six times a week, maybe even twelve if I'm counting:
What is this, exactly?
I don't know, start with this person and that person and see what you come up with. Do you want me to draft the email?
No. I do not.
He gave up asking that question weeks ago.
Oddly enough I was handed two incoming consultants and asked to onboard them. Not because I should onboard them but because I was the only successful incoming consultant to onboard herself in under three days without requiring intervention. Apparently I'd worked it out.
Alecto, can you get Max sorted out when he walks in the door? I don't know what you did but can you show him how to do it?
Alecto, when Bhaven comes in on Monday morning can you...?
Max attached himself like a barnacle which was understandable because we kept him in the dark and fed him like a mushroom. We just want him to write code. No distractions. Just. Write. Code. But he has needs.
Alecto, can I...?
And then we introduced him to a business partner and gave him a deadline and halfway through to the deadline I realized NO ONE WAS CHECKING ON HIM.
Max. Can you send me the link to the site where you're storing the documents you promised our business partners for review prior to our Monday meeting?
Max. Where is your link?
Max. It's Friday.
Max. It's Friday at 4 PM.
Alecto. Can you book me a room and schedule a meeting for this other thing I'm doing?
On Fridays we are all remote so I couldn't very well walk over to his cubicle and throttle him. He'd copied the entire team expected to be in this meeting which was news to me because I didn't realize he'd been let out of his cage for more than one project. I also didn't realize he really was my barnacle.
I booked the room and scheduled the meeting.
Max. On Monday I'm going to show you how to do this.
subcontext: do I LOOK like your mother?
Fridays are hellish. I don't know why people do this but my first meeting starts at 9 and my last meeting is over at 4 and after that I owe notes on the last meeting that need to be so extensive I want to pull my hair out and remove limbs from someone. There are increments in between where I put out fires or I multi-task but at the end of the day there is literally nothing left.
Early next week we are moving to something called a swing space for two months while they gut our current space, ripping out the cubicles and offices and putting us all into this new sort of open seating which is really just a series of benches with monitors in pod like groups that leave no space whatsoever for anything even remotely personal. From a consultant's perspective it's perfect. We stopped carrying personal a very long time ago. From an employee's or director's perspective it's a god awful transition. The consultant/contractor/contingent workers will all be in one big room which is actually an upgrade for us as the five of us in this particular group have been scattered. My problem is Max. Max has to have an external monitor. We do not ask people who code, especially working with flow to work with a laptop. He's been squatting in a cube which has a monitor and docking station so he's been OK.
About midweek I realized the shit was going to hit the fan when we went to the big room and I came up with a plan.
There is a guy who helps me onboard. I discovered him by accident. He's part of my ever growing pool of millennials I keep in my back pocket for times I really need to make something happen because good lord, these people will move mountains if you ask them in the right way. I call this one The Unicorn and I call him that to his face. Well, not his face exactly, his IM. He's in the Florida office. As of Friday he became The Best Unicorn Ever because he succeeded in achieving the impossible. He obtained a peripheral for a contractor without an assigned seat.
So he sent me an IM letting me know he had this handled and I didn't see this IM for a good forty minutes because I was on webex tearing my hair out.
For forty minutes The Unicorn was rewriting his resume because he just doesn't know me that well yet.
For the record, a dock is a docking station. He plugs the notebook into the dock and the external monitor lights up. It would be nice if he had an external keyboard too but we decided not to push our luck.
It is going to take The Unicorn the entire weekend to catch his breath. I read the exchange to Mike. I didn't send the screen shot. I just read it. It made Mike's day too which was a really good thing because Mike's head was just shy of popping off. Meetings, 9 - 4. Why do people do this?
After we finished laughing I asked Mike,
Mike. What do I do?
What do you mean, what do you do? What's broken?
Everything is broken, Mike, we have a handle on all of it at the moment, wait until Monday and then it's a whole new game. I mean, what do I do?
You mean like what's your job?
Yeah, what's my job?
Are you telling me you need a job description? Seriously? Because I really can't box you like that.
No. I know. I'm not asking you to box me. I guess I just realized I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing. Last client I walked in the door with zero expectation and I grew into something and that was great. Here I walked in with some expectation and every day it takes another twist and that's OK too but I realized I was just sort of going with the flow and I might be missing some sort of expectation. Probably I should have asked Elizabeth.
Elizabeth probably has other ideas.
Yeah, I know. I have to keep you both happy but the truth is the scale tipped in your favor a couple of weeks ago. So really, what do I do?
Well, on the Collibra project you're a scrum master.
No I'm not. I'm a project manager. Actually I'm a program manager. Nadia said so.
No. I'm the program manager.
OK, I'm the project manager and Erika is the solution lead and Max is the developer and then what the hell is Andy?
Andy is the perfect storm.
I'm not even going there.
I'm not going there either.
So what am I?
You're scrum master 2.0
What is scrum master 2.0?
I don't know, I just made that up. Scrum master 2.0 is everything scrum master does plus shovel the project into structure and do whatever it takes to stand it up on time and within budget.
That sounds like a project manager with a diaper wipe.
What's your bill rate again?
Right. Scrum master 2.0 it is.
Also, Max's spare dick is coming in on ice sometime Monday morning. I'm not sure I want that written into any part of any job description anywhere. Just sayin'.
Not even if it increases your bill rate?
Not even if it increases my bill rate. I do not intentionally order spare dicks for anyone. You need a spare dick you are On. Your. Own. Buddy.