This is what a day from hell looks like, and this is what a good team does…

by oneafrikan on June 6, 2013

Lookin’ for the day
Hard as it seems
This ain’t no damn dream
Gotta know what I mean
It’s team against team
Catch the light beam
So I pray
I pray everyday
Public Enemy

So the week has been working out really well.  Margin numbers are good, revenue numbers are good, we’re cranking out tech stuff, improving everything across our entire stack, and I’m starting to feel we’re getting on top of our growth curve.  We’ve had one or two difficult discussions over the week so far, but that’s all in the course of business.

So I’m up at 6 to crank through email from 6:30 to 8:30, so that I can go do breakfast with Dees who is changing the mobile world one Firefox OS handset at a time, I get to enjoy a super awesome Chai at Dishoom, the tube back to work is fast, the sun is shining for the first time in 9 months, we’re hitting nice weekly KPI’s, and we’re on top of what we need to do as a team.

And then I walk through the office door and one of our carriers has dropped a bombshell (we can’t deliver to customers), our merchant provider has terminated our trading account (if you’re not in e-commerce that means we can’t process credit card transactions online), and a technology supplier just doesn’t get what they’re doing to us (I’ve promised not to reveal more, although I fear I soon will). In about 30 mins of each other. This is on top of a tough few months of pushing things uphill every day.

The rest of the day is firefighting.

So everyone starts firefighting their corners, after 45 mins of progress we do our morning huddle in the reception area to report back, we have a plan and options.

As the day progresses we understand problems, make calls, find alternatives, get to the bottom of issues, find solutions, deploy code, and generally sort shit out. By close of play we’ve gotten through one problem and are solving the other. The last one is not done yet, but latest email at 18:45 or so says it is. More importantly, we’ve got 3 backup solutions to the merchant problem and revenue is back on again. No one shouted. No one did anything stupid. We just worked through the problems.

25 odd phone calls (everyone).
2 Angry Gareth (*) appearances.
1 Code deployment.

I thought we were through the day, and I could go back to the tech team roadmap and revenue meeting. I get another email from the tech supplier, which almost sends me into the kind of catatonic rage I’ve resisted earlier in the day. I take the blue pill, and work through the email. They just don’t get it, but they’re on borrowed time anyways so I try my best to be civil and just join the dots for them.

I’ve assigned two tasks, done two other phone calls which are useful, cleared some email during the day, seen my cousin (cut lunch short ‘cos of the above), and done two useful meetings.  I feel like I’ve got a full day’s work ahead of me, and it’s 19:29.

Just another day in paradise ;-)

* Lately, the Angry Gareth in me comes out when I need to go to bat for my team. Sometimes someone just needs to get angry and shout at people / suppliers / whoever, to get them to actually do things they are paid to do. I don’t like it, but have found that a conscious instillation of the fear of the Almighty into someone does something polar to that person. They either hate you and get the job done, or they fear you and get the job done. But they get the job done. All other attempts at being nice have failed, so this remains the last port of call in situations. I never knew this person existed until a few months ago.

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