Although I feel like there have been mostly successful projects along the way, there are some statistics that shock me to this day. Let me describe this project and please let me know if you have seen or heard of anything similar. It just makes me glad that I never had to grow into being a real Project Manager.
- The project that I was working on was similar to other projects at the same company. We basically had 3 or 4 people writing ETL scripts for maybe 7 months and we practiced a migration a hundred times and then we went live with the migration. I had worked on 3 or 4 similar projects at this same company and none of these other projects had any difficulty.
- The database schema that we were dealing with was identical to the database schema that we were moving TO on all these other projects. So far so good, the more familiar you are with a schema the better things go.
- Unfortunately, there was one wrinkle for this project, and in my opinion this wrinkle only introduced about 5 percent of additional complexity. Here are the details: We had TWO copies of our database schema on the destination side. And we did some cute trick to allow these two systems to magically interoperate. If was a pretty ingenious solution I thought. Destination1 and Destination2 were identical schemas so far so good, but we set the seed values for the identity increment primary keys such that if we pushed a record into Destination1, it would always recieve a PK that was an Odd number. The first time we wrote a record to Destination1, the PK was 1, the second time that we wrote to Destination1, the PK was 3. The first time that we wrote to Destination2, the PK identity field generated 2, and the second time that we wrote to Destination2, our PK would be populated with the value of 4.
- I swear the ability to have two systems replicate against each other and to allow any record to be written to either Destination1 or Destination2, it really wasn’t very complex at all. It wasn’t me that came up with the design, most of the design came from a hard-nose lady named Meridith. It’s funny though, the LAST thing that I want to do is sound like I have a negative opinion of my time working with Meridith, in fact she was the only Microsoft Certified coworker that I have worked with through my entire career. She challenged me more than anyone else ive ever worked with, by a long shot
- So this design wrinkle it seemed really straight forward to me, but it’s my assumption that the project managers on this implementation had a hard time.
- What makes me say that I thought the Project Managers had a hard time ? Again this is the most shocking statistic that I encountered in 25 years of software. Please, if you can relate to anything like this, send me a message so we can trade more ‘war stories. Hit the contact button, upper right hand corner.
On this project, it was an almost typical migration for one of the government clients that we were working for. But over a period of a 12 month project, we actually had turnover on the Project Management team for this project so badly, we went through 12 Project Managers in 12 months.
The body count at the end of the project is that we had hired and fired 12 Project Managers in 12 months. There was a Junior PM and a SR PM, but the whole idea that we lost 12 employees in 12 months on one project, it makes me glad that I stuck to software development.