Through a glass darkly

"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." (1 Corinthians 13:12)KJV

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Round and Round

Ok, here's my rant. Sometimes I really hate my life. This last month has been one of those times and also the reason I have not had much time to blog. I feel like I live in a Dilbert cartoon. My most recent mental torment has to do with a project that I'm working on.

Without going into any great detail on what the project is, suffice it to say that my job generally has little to do with what I learned in college and more to do with project management. Of course with any project, one must plan and track both cost and schedule. Anyone with familiarity with accounting will tell you that you use a spreadsheet (like Excel) to track costs and a schedule program (like Microsoft Project) to show schedule. A month ago, a Program Manager asked us to plan some activities over the next few months showing schedule and costs; I created a task list with hours in a spreadsheet (I followed the template he sent me) and used it to also create a schedule in Project.

"No, that's not it. You have too many hours worked in one month and not enough in the next. Spread out your tasks over the 4 months. Otherwise, just make it look like Mr. X's file, " said the Manager.

"That's all wrong," I was told by a Finance person, "you need to put the schedule into the spreadsheet" (where each column represents one week). "Forget the Project version, that's not what we wanted." So I spent the next few days transferring all the info into a different spreadsheet.

Yesterday, at a weekly status meeting, the Program Manager complained that the tasks were now not in chronological order and each task had durations longer than two weeks. Also why was I working on tasks not due to be started until January and hadn't finished anything else? My answers: you approved the format two weeks ago, you asked me to spread things out in order to bring the burn rate down and the supervisor told me he wanted me to do the January tasks now, not then (when do I have time to do anything but schedules and sheets?).So last night I was working on it until 9pm solving the first two problems and then e-mailed my response to the Finance and Program Leads.

This morning I received a call from a Scheduler, "where's your Project schedule for these tasks?"
"On the Excel spreadsheet where it is supposed to be, " I said.
"No, that's wrong -it needs to be in the Master Project Schedule, completely linked, task-to-task. I don't care about the spreadsheet."
ARRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHH! (You can see where this is going...)