Tonight is the first night of my project management class. I'm planning on getting my PMP certification this year, so this class is the first step down that road. It's a fundamentals class. I don't expect much of a challenge. I'm sure it'll be lots of "what is a project?" stuff.
I meant to write about this yesterday, but I was too angry not to write some hateful, viscious rant that would probably come to haunt me some day. What happened was that the facilities dude at work, who happens to also be in charge of telephony, and I have been at loggerheads. I am an IT software guy. My job is to research, acquire, and sometimes develop software myself to satisfy my company's needs. My contention, my boss's contention, and my CIO's contention are that telephones fall under the umbrella of information technology rather than facilities management, which is all about chairs, carpets, light bulbs, and so forth. Telephones are especially within the domain of IT when they feed into servers and databases and applications. My customer is our call center, and their phone system, which my project seeks to upgrade, collects a lot of data about every call (time to answer, duration, hold time, etc.) and writes it to a database, from which reports are pulled. The main problem, from IT's perspective, is that the database is Microsoft Access, the "server" is a older model desktop PC in somebody's cubicle, and "care and feeding" procedures are non-existent. For instance, if the system goes down, the only way anybody knows about it is if they happen to walk by the terminal and see the error messages on the monitor. If a disgruntled employee stole the box, or a clumsy one spilled a coke on it, or lightning struck, then the call center's brain would cease to exist. Needless to say, we need something more robust.
But This dude is being very proprietary about things. I've gotten quotes from a reseller. He says my quotes are invalid because the reseller doesn't know our switching hardware. I call to verify the reseller does, in fact, know. He says the reseller is still not totally informed and only his reseller has good information. He says he's in touch with the vendor's corporate office, with their support staff, with our local account representative. Fuck. Then give me their numbers, and I will call them. His role in this is to sow FUD. I don't understand why. What does he care, except that it's his baby that I'm fiddling with.
Anyway, after a nasty, widely-disseminated exchange of emails yesterday, verging on a well-mannered and professional flame war, I just clammed up. I was so pissed that nothing I could write in response to his last email ("... if you want to try and do telephony, be my guest... but you're on your own.") would help the situation any. My anger just kept sneaking in making anything I wrote unprofessional. In such situations, I've always found it best to just say nothing.
By the end of the evening, after a good dinner, after playing with my daughter and watching the Daily Show, I was better. I've decided this is a turf war that needs to be fought at higher levels. I'm doing my job. People, besides this dude, seem to respect my opinion. Let's see what shakes out.
Update: While in practical terms nothing has changed (we're still going forward with the project), it turns out our vendor routinely polls our equipment to check status. She emailed me detailed configuration logs that show version numbers and settings in painful detail. In other words, I'm right; dude's wrong. And that's what this is really all about.