After some days off the Internet, I finally got the chance to heave a sigh of relief. Just for awhile. The last 4 days had been the busiest phase in the project so far, at least until when the time comes for training, UAT and subsequent implementation. From now on, the effort required by the project team will increase exponentially. If you think that leaving your office at 6:30pm meant that you have lots of work, then you've yet to experience my company's definition of work.
Anyway, the project I'm involved is akin to revamping the entire Microsoft Office, except that we're NOT dealing with Microsoft Office but the banking system. There are financial, franchise, regulatory and a multitude of other risks involved here. At over USD25 million, this is the most expensive project I've been most deeply involved in. We're not the first country to hop on board this new platform but the fact that Malaysia is such a financially regulated country, there are many gaps to bridge between the standard system versus one that's compliant with the local environment.
The entire project team is close of 80 members comprising of project sponsors (senior management who drives S classes), to equally important business user who travels on a moped. Interfacing the seniors with the users are a team of 8 of which I'm one of. Our tasks are to understand today's and the new system from the angle of processes, regulatory, marketing requirements. We should know how the business operates and are able to justify to the business and the system folks on why certain functionalities must be made available or removed. In short we're supposed to be balanced between business and technology.
Our International Technology Office flew in their business analysts for 4 days since Monday. The collection of experts comprises of Singaporeans, Philippinos, Indians, one Hong Kongite and several Malaysians. During the 4 days, everyone did nothing but park themselves in 4 to 6 meeting/conference rooms to scrutinise the requirements, engage in debates, negotiate, plan timelines, review and review and review the 800+ gaps that have been pre-identified in the past months. One of the goals is to reduce the gaps substantially as gaps=time=cost to any project. Any project manager worth his salt will tell you that. Having too many gaps will also defeat the purpose of having a standard global system to leverage on as well.
My role during the 4 days, besides being involved in the multiple tracks (as many as 5 concurrent tracks a day) was to be in charge of logistics ie from ensuring the rooms and projectors are booked, the LAN points are working, there are sufficient drinking water (over 12 cartons consumed in total), attendees keep to their timeslots, and being the reference point for the local team pertaining to their schedule and participation. I wished I had more time to immerse myself in my own tracks but as I was already on full stretch, I wasn't able to contribute as much as I liked. The 2 contract head counts had not come on board yet, so the core team had to fire fight for now.
Day 1, Monday
The regional team arrived and I greeted them and allocated them to their respective rooms. Got everyone settled down and sessions started. As there was no direction on lunch and dinner arrangements, everyone split to their own groups for their meals. Day ended at 12am.
Day 2, Tuesday
The tracks resumed. Lunch with the regional folks was supposed to dim sum at Minmax Restaurant at Darby Park but torrential rain changed the plans. Venue was changed to Nikko Hotel's chinese restaurant instead. Ordered more water after the 6 cartons were fully consumed. Day ended at 1am.
Day 3, Wednesday (the worst day)
Needed a java jolt, so downed a large cup of San Fran coffee. One of the contract staff reported to work. I was quite pleased that my verdict of her (I conducted her first interview) was shared by my bosses. I conducted a briefing to her and got her to read up some process manuals. She couldn't dive into work as her network profile wasn't ready yet hence she couldn't access the workstation. More and more sessions started and concluded. Equally many overrun their slots due to complexity. Lunch was at the Royal China Restaurant. Not bad at all, but Nikko's were slightly better. Day ended at 12am but not before realising how tired I was when at 10pm, I absent-mindedly carried the empty pot (instant noodles in the stomach) up the stairs with the intention to take my shower. That was how wiped out I was.
Day 4, Thursday
Another java jolt was required but the effect was little felt. Crunch time as everyone was rushing to complete their tasks. The regional team leader was cracking the whip on her team but they showed admirable composure under stress. It must come from their experience in handling such high profile projects for Europe. Lunch was at Pelita and I was too tired to finish the rice. Felt bloated. Concentration on the road suffered due to lack of rest. Knocked off at 12am.
All save for the regional team member was around. She was to conduct the wrap up session with the local core team and it was such a fantastic overview of their process that I don't know if it was drafted by Stanley Kubrick. It was that eye-opening. Before lunch I rushed out to Plaza Sentral to send Carbokid's Leap Pad unit for exchange (calibration issue). Then I had to leave early at 5pm to pick him up as the nanny needed to go somewhere.
As I'm typing this, my eyelids are getting heavier and the only reason why I'm waking up early is to collect the Trigon 4 that Seecube is delivering to me tomorrow morning. After that I need to rush home to wait for the installers to fix up a water heater unit to the ground floor bathroom. Then I should be off to collect the IOI Run bibs for some of the Pacemakers. In the evening, I'm going to try to catch the MU game at a nearby mamak stall or vegetate on the couch burning up the DVD player.
Have a good one y'all.