Friday, September 5, 2008

One Door Closes And Another One Opens

My last day at the old job was Tuesday. As expected, it was total chaos. I feel bad for my teammates I left behind. The last two weeks I really tried to get as much knowledge out of my head as I could and put it down on paper where they could use it, but there are some things that can't be put into words. Like knowing when a project manager has his head up his ass or how to tell when a QA tech needs a little support in saying "No!" to impatient business sponsors.

That's one of the shortfalls to documentation: you can't write down every piece of knowledge and experience a person has pertaining to their job. There are some things that have to be re-learned every time a new person takes over a given job and you have to stand back and let them go through that process or it will be very difficult for them to grow into being effective at that job.

The problem is, if you have high turnover on a job, you lose more than just that intangible experience, you lose a little bit of the knowledge that can be written down but isn't for one reason or another. My predecessor knew more than me and she was only able to impart a certain amount of transferable knowledge before she left. I in turn was only able to write down so much of what could be documented before time ran out on me.

This is why retaining good employees is so critical to a team's success and ultimately the company's success as well. We've now had 4 people leave this team and when we each left, a little bit more was lost from the team that can never be recovered.

This point is just as important (if not more so) than making the numbers balance on the quarterly statements. What good is it if the numbers look pretty if you have a revolving door of amateurs in and out of a team that is highly specialized and whose work is critical to the business's operation?

I started my new job on Wednesday. Big difference from the old job. Higher expectations (my own being the highest on myself), bigger shoes to fill, more people depending on me not to screw things up. My first day was the usual: Greenhorn Orientation, nickel tour of the office and lots of faces and names I'll have to relearn all over again because I definitely do not have a photographic memory, set up my office.

Yes. I have an office now. With a door. And a view. Happy Gnu.

Second day on the job, I walk in to a 21-flaming-server salute. Yikes! All the troops scrambled to put out the fires. The day's plans took a flying leap right out the 10-story-high window.

On the plus side, I got to observe how the team operates under pressure.

In other news, it turns out I didn't bomb the final exam last week. Got an A for the class. Five down, six more to go!


E. S. Collins said...

Definitely yays all the way around. Congrats on everything.

Tim said...

Maybe i'm vindictive, but if I ever get the hell out of this job, I'm not leaving any kind of documention behind for whoever fills my job.

Fuck em.

E. S. Collins said...

I already feel sorry for the next guy after me. He is well and truly screwed.