I describe myself as an IT Manager, but that’s not all I want to be. I started out as a developer, and still love to code. Career progression now means I lead a team of five people (not including me, and now temporarily plus-one as we’ve a graduate trainee on placement) and they all do IT, so for the pedantic, that’s what I am. I’m lucky enough to work in a place where I can spread my wings into new areas while still doing what’s generally considered to be “leg work”. My aspiration is to be a solutions architect – to take an instruction like (for example) “replace this payroll solution” and do the research into what’s there now, what needs to change, why are we doing this, what are the possibilities, what’s the business impact and which one do I recommend, followed by planning and managing implementing that solution. Grown-up shit, yeah. I’ve got fingers in several such pies at work, most of which are at the stage of documenting stuff I currently don’t know a great deal about.
From time to time, it feels “bitty” and unsatisfying.
A hang-over from the work I was mainly doing before – before my two application support technicians were in place and before we got on top of the shit-sandwich backlog we were handed in the form of several-hundred unhandled support problems – is that some mornings are soaked up sorting out support problems. This morning was one of them. There were only 3 things on my list, but each one took flippin’ ages. Plus, one of the things required concentration, and this morning was the morning for Asking Jude A Question. Sidebar: I’m happy to be asked questions, indeed it’s an important part of being a product owner, it just disrupts my train of thought for a good 10 minutes or so, and one of the things I was working on was difficult. Indeed, one of the Buddhist-philosophy-development tasks I’ve set myself is, at times like this, to not mind when someone comes and interrupts me with a question. Because the distraction of minding makes the interruption take up even more time & energy than it would otherwise. I’m on week 2, and I’m finding that this approach is indeed helping.
I found myself delaying lunch while I finished off the last one – it was so close – so close – and then it was done.
This, at least, is satisfying – it’s clear when it’s done, I can tell the relevant people their problem is sorted, tick on the to-do list, what’s next? However, it’s still getting from a point of broken to not-broken – bringing the world back to not-broken rather than improving the world at all.
There’s a report (data-dump, essentially) that needs writing reasonably promptly. It’s mostly not technically tricky, there’s an element of handle-turning to it, but also some stuff that I currently don’t know how to do. The sensible, grown-up thing to do would be to line it up for a developer to do. They will spend less time on it. It will possibly be solved more elegantly. There’s a risk it might get done sooner (although, quite honestly, given what other priorities are in play, possibly not). If it goes wrong, I won’t have to fix it.
So, clearly, I started doing it.
By my usual “home time” I was at the point of having the program return the most basic set of information, but had markers in for the different bits I need to put in place.
And here’s the sign that me writing it was the right thing for this afternoon: despite the mostly unsatisfying day I’d had up to that point, I didn’t want to leave. I was in the zone, nobody had asked me anything for a good half an hour, and there was a clear set of nice meaty coding to get my teeth into. At the very least, I thought to myself, you can get it up to the difficult bit… and then I remembered traffic gets worse after 5, dinner being prepared by my ever-loving, and the not-employment-work-to-do list I had waiting.
So, I peeled myself away from the screen, and here I am.
And I have something to look forward to tomorrow 😀
Sidebar: Today is Sunday. I wrote this on Wednesday but am only posting it today because I wanted to read through it the following day and post it, but then I got distracted. ooh! Squirrel!