Monthly Archives: May 2013

A Poor Way to Gain Experience

Today was the ribbon cutting ceremony of a project that I managed.  I wasn’t officially the project manager, but that is essentially what I did.  I was handed this project my first day on the job and thought I knew what I was getting myself into.  Looking back on it I was not prepared for what I had to do to have a successful project.

The first problem was that I hadn’t managed or worked on a design project in over 4 years.  You think you know what you’re doing, but you forget the little things that need to be done to have a successful project.  There was a lot of coordination between engineering disciplines that I completely forgot about, or thought that team members were handling, forgetting that as the project manager it was my responsibility to take care of that.

Next problem, when you start at a new company or an ongoing project you don’t know the discussions that have taken place or agreements made prior to you joining the project.  This was a huge problem.  Little did I know that there were a lot of deals and early discussions on the project that I was unaware of.  I would start something and then ask a question and either my boss or the other office manager would say, “Oh yeah we are doing something based on a discussion we had when the project initially started.”  Or unlike my other company where there was a lot of specialize support groups, I was responsible for things I had never done before.

In another issue it was the corporate culture, the way the office worked, the players on the team.  I was learning this stuff on the fly and sometimes too late.  For example, a week after things were done, the project manager told me, you have to be careful with so and so because…  Too late the budget was blown and the product was crappy.  We were correcting the problems right to the end of the build.

Lastly, on a similar project I was on at another company, the client was easy to work with and the team was awesome.  This team wasn’t awesome, and the client was very particular about everything.  I was complacent going in, and didn’t pay attention to detail.

Put all this together and I had a project that was over budget and had a lot of issues because of the above and my lack of attention to detail.  If I would have been more attentive, the issues I listed above would not have been a problem.

In the end it was a successful project for the client and they were very happy with it.  But it was tough on our company and we took a hit on the fee.  I was taken off the project because the client was pissed at me and it was up to my boss to make the corrections necessary.  In talking to my boss/PM today at the ribbon cutting I said, “I learned a lot on this project.  It was painful to learn this way, but I learned.” It was learning the hard way as my father use to say.

My boss’s response was great, and he was laughing as he said it.  It is a quote I will pass on many times.  He said, “You use experience to make good decisions, and you gain experience from poor ones.”




Early Morning Runs

I am starting back in to my running.  I need it.  I have been away from it for too long.  After golfing Sunday I had planned on going for a run.  One thing led to another and it was 8 and I still hadn’t gone running.  I was just sitting in front of the TV and felt like crap.  In the back of my mind I heard my golfing buddy talking about his trail run the previous day.  God I hadn’t done one of those since last summer when I hurt my foot.  At that moment I became determined to get back into my running schedule and get back on the trails.  So it started on Sunday.

When I was younger I hated mornings.  My girlfriend’s father would get up at 6 am and leave for work by 6:30.  I thought to myself how does he do that?  I could never do that.  Now that I am older I can’t sleep past 5 am.  So back to my summer routine of early morning runs.  Starting out at 4 miles and will work on that for two weeks.  The plan after that is to go up to 5 miles every other day and throw in 1 or 2 days of trail running.

Early morning runs are great.  Today the weather was perfect.  Not a cloud in the sky and the moon was out as the sun was coming up.  The smell of the morning dew on the grass. People driving by me leaving for work.  Head phones in with some good running music of all types – rock, pop, country and old 80’s tunes that bring me back to high school and college.  The music was at a level that I could still hear the birds.

I can’t think of a better way to start the day.

A Cold Day

A long weekend.  Looking forward to nice May weather to relax and enjoy the outdoors.  Golf planned for today and tomorrow.  What do we get, a frost delay on May 25th.  I had long johns and 2 coats.  Wore a winter hat and a winter golf on my right hand (the left hand had the golf glove.). 

What the heck is going on.  I am in summer mode and sick of dressing for the cold.  It has gotten to the point where I have avoided running because I don’t want to get bundled up.

I want some warm weather!



Those Screaming Coaches

I have a confession to make.  I am a screaming coach.  I yell.  In a group I have that coaches voice that everyone hears and stops to see what is going on.  On the rink it is a different story.  For some reason my voice doesn’t carry.  But I digress.

At the beginning of every season the kids I don’t know give me worried looks.  I always tell them I am yelling so that you can hear me.  But really I am yelling because I am excited.  I want the kids to perform.   I want them to make the right plays.  I want them to succeed.  I am exhausted after games and practices.  I have fun.  I get into it.

Today I found an essay by a parent who likes the old school screaming coaches.  I must say I am old school.  I am not a touchy feely kind of coach.  I have coached with a lot of those types of coaches and I always end up being the mean coach.  Not a good position to be in especially when you are an assistant.

Anyway here is the link to this essay.

And God made a dog

I found this video on a blog called Justice for Raymond through a link on blog I occasionally read A Simple, Village Undertaker.  A lot of links I know, but I like to attribute the stuff I find.

This is a video similar to the Super Bowl advertisement about farmers.  Listening to it I found the references to things dogs do so familiar because I own a dog.  I don’t think this would resonate the same way if I didn’t.

Have a great day.