[thechat] No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Conyers, Dwayne dwayne.conyers at hp.com
Tue Apr 7 10:55:51 CDT 2009

Wow, enjoying the thread.

I am the tech guy sitting with the users... but there was a bit more to it.

Yes, I did present my concise analysis of the business needs.  There was copious documentation, enough plotter-printed flow charts and Visio diagrams to wallpaper a barn... but the lead engineer insisted on being right.  Even if I produced documentation from Microsoft proving that he was off course, he would chastise me for wasting my time by researching what Microsoft has to say about their own product... when his opinion was all that mattered.

The bottom line is that the (decision-making) customer LOVES this guy and even when the product crashed and burned, they valiantly defended his work and pushed back against the users who were crying foul.  Also, there was another layer of the onion... a continual stream of lies and innuendo from the engineer, attacking my personal character in an effort to weaken customer confidence in my decision making.  

I saw the writing on the wall when the engineer and his team sat in meetings clueless about topics that I had researched and documented A YEAR AGO.  The customer had the same documentation... but apparently gave it a cursory review if at all.  In one meeting, the customer exclaimed that he needed to bring someone on board to sit with the users and learn the business processes... something I had already done.  Selective amnesia? 

I did write code to make the engineer's labyrinthine interface a bit more navigable by the users.  One day, months of code "mysteriously" vanished off the server.  When, during a meeting, the customer asked what happened to my interface, the engineer smirked and said, "Oh, you won't be seeing any of that."  The customer just shrugged and accepted that.   

The entire experience was like being in a Hitchcock film.  You notice more and more birds gathering around until, suddenly, you're pecked down to a raw skeleton.  But, technically, this was a non-renewal of contract, not a firing... and people on the corporate side (outside of this team) know my background and past-performance on other engagements well enough to understand that it is not a failure on my part to deliver.

Not that it feels less painful...

The generation that took acid to escape reality is now taking antacid to deal with reality


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