Thursday, May 29, 2008


Some things never change.

I just found out that I was sort of ‘tricked’ into running this new project. I’m already managing 3 projects (2 of which effectively comprise of 10 models in total!) and supporting on 2 other projects. So far I’m just trying to keep a steady-steady-pom-pit-pit attitude and handle each task systematically chunk by chunk (I wanted to say bit by bit, but that’s no longer the case now).

Then a new project just came in, so one of the consultants walks over to my desk, and here’s roughly the conversation we had last Friday:

Consultant X: Hey Serene, how you going? We just received the verbal go ahead from the client to kick off this new project.

Me: That’s great! What’s the project scope about? [trying to show some team interest]

Consultant X: [proceeds to outline overview of project...] now the reason I’m approaching you is because we need to start work on it next week, but I will out of the office from Thursday onwards for the rest of the week. But as we’re running on a very tight schedule, I’d like to get your help to pull together a very rough framework for the research.

Me: Oh... well.... errrr.... [mentally running through all the many other outstanding items on my plate]

Consultant X: I just had a chat with BB and M just now [i.e. big boss and my manager] and we agreed that you were the person best placed to turn it around quickly, with your excellent excel skills of course! [do I detect some lame attempt at flattery here?]. I’ve already sent you the proposal for you to look through.

Me: Yeah, I saw that. So what’s this framework about?

Consultant X: [proceeds to explain framework...] It’s just something very short and sharp, should take more than 20 or 30 minutes to pull together.

Me: [wondering why he can’t pull together this very short and sharp thing then] So when do you need this by?

Consultant X: Well my last day of the office next week will be on Wednesday.

Me: Okay, so you will need it by Wednesday so you look through it before you go then.

Consultant X: Yup! I really appreciate this Serene. By the way, I’m trying to book in a kick-off call with the client early next week. So it will be good if you can join in just to get a better understanding of the project.

Me: Oh, okay. Once you pin down the time, just forward me the meeting request and I’ll see how it fits into my calendar.

Consultant X: Great! I’ll aim to book the kick-off call for Monday. Oh, and as this call will be about getting some input from the client on the methodology, it will be good if we can forward them a draft of the framework... you know, just something rough to give them an idea so we can get their input. Doesn’t have to be the final version, just something you can pull together so far.

Me: Oh [perceiving what he really wants] so you will actually need the framework by Monday then.

Consultant X: Ideally, yes... would that be okay?

Me: Hmmmm... okay, I’ll aim to pull a draft together at least. But if you can confirm the timing for the call and let me know, that would be good.

Consultant X: Definitely. Hey thanks Serene, really appreciate it.

The following week, prior to the kick-off call:

Consultant X: Hey Serene, I’ve sent through an agenda for the call. Could you have a look and let me know if there’s anything else we should add or if I’ve missed anything out?

Me: Sure.

I open the document and scan through the contents and was surprised to see the following text:

Project communication:

Serene Lee – Primary Contact

Consultant X – Secondary Contact

This is beginning to look sneaky. So I approached the consultant to ask:

Me: Hey X, I’ve had a look at the agenda. Everything looks okay, except that I saw under ‘project communication’ that I was listed as the primary contact for the client.

Consultant X: Oh, yeah... don’t worry too much about it. Really, there won’t be much for you to do. Most of the work will be done by the new graduate that will be starting work next week. You’ll just need to oversee everything and make sure everything runs on track.

Me: So I’ll be actually managing this project? This will be one of the projects I’m supposed to be working on? I’m sorry, it’s just that I wasn’t aware of it before. I thought I was just supporting you to pull together this framework and just oversee it this week while you’re away.

Consultant X: Oh, I’m sorry... I thought you knew about it... but yes, you will be overseeing this project.... but let me stress that most of the work will be done by the graduate. But if there are any issues, I’ll still be there as a key contact for the client to refer to.

Later on, during a meeting with my manager, I casually raised this incident:

Me: Hey, were you aware that I have been assigned to work on this new project?

Manager: Yeah, I know you are supporting Consultant X on it to pull together the framework and get the project started while he’s away this week.

Me: Well apparently I’m the main person managing it and am the primary contact for the client.

Manager: Really? That’s not right. This was not what our understanding was... I’ll need to have a chat with him when he gets back... because I know you’re already loaded with 5 other projects.... [continues to try and show concern for my case...]

Can you say ‘SLY’? The nerve! I can’t believe how sneaky some people can be. Well actually I can. Anyway, my manager will have a chat to Consultant X when he gets back from his leave. In the meantime, it’s still up to me to hold the fort.

So... Jia Yu!

1 comment:

  1. Jia yu, Jia yu, Jia yu..................................


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