I’m so tired

Hey, for all those people wondering what’s happened to chriscurnow.com – thanks for the thousands of emails.
Well, I’m still here.
Right now I’m very, very, very tired.
I’ve done it again. I’ve found myself managing an IT project.
A few years ago (1999/2000) I managed an IT project. It went well and I met every deadline. Everything that had to happen happened when it was supposed to. I realised again that I was good a managing projects. I also realised again that I don’t like managing projects – well at least IT projects. IT projects are messy.
We try to write user requirements specifications and write or modify the software to meet the specs. But users, bless their souls, never quite know what they want until they haven’t got it. I mean by that they will tell you what they want, but as soon as you put the prototype in front of them, they find other things they want. As project manager/analyst you also find that there were things they assumed you knew about so just didn’t tell you. (If I was being really honest, I would admit that there were lots of assumptions I made about the users wanted. But I’m not being really honest so I won’t admit that.)

Don’t get me wrong. I am not bagging users. It’s just hard. When you are getting your architect to design a house, you don’t have to tell them that you want handles on the doors because everyone knows that doors have handles on them. There are a thousand things that go into the design of a house and eveeryone knows most of them. What you forget, your architect will remind you about.
Perhpaps it is because software is such a new thing, or perhaps it is inherent in software design, but there are just lots of things that we don’t have common experience of.
Anyway, here I am managing a project again. We’re now about 7 weeks from go-live and everybody is finding new issues and we’re just not accepting them unless they are show-stoppers. There is just more to do in each day than can be done.
So I go home every night exhausted. So tired I almost feel more tired when I wake up each morning. I dream about the project. I wake up thinking about the project and a discussion I need to have with someone each day. I ache. I ache mentally, emotionally and physically.
Last week (I hope) was the bottom of the trough. I was as tired as I am going to get and I couldn’t see an end to this. I couldn’t imagine how there would ever be a time where I wasn’t tired again.
Monday this week, I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel. I could finally see a distance between now and go-live that I knew I had the stamina to complete.
It’s like swimming a pacy 1500m. You start off knowing this is going to take a while and wonder how you’re going to do it. But it doesn’t matter just then because you know you’ve got plenty in the tank for the next 50m.
But then you get to 1000m. You’ve been pushing yourself for a while now and there’s quite a way to go still. You’re starting to really hurt but you know you’ve still got some reserves lefft. Just not sure if it’s enough to complete the distance. Still enough to do the next 50m but not sure how much after that. Then somewhere between 1000m and 1300 every stroke hurts. You are down to one more stroke at a time and just hoping you can make the next 50m. Then you turn and start over again for another 50. Don’t think about the 50 after this one. Just get to the end and turn.
Then all of a sudden you only have 150m to go. You know you can do another 150. You know it’s going to hurt. You know you will have nothing left in the tank when you get to the end but you know you can do it.
That’s where I am now. 150 to go. It’s still stroke by stroke. Every stroke hurts. But I know I can do it. I know I can get to the end and it will be over – until next time!
Maybe, I’ll turn this blog into a daily update for the next few weeks. I don’t have anything left in the tank to do anything else.

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