Tough week at SML.

Project Sulfur is about to enter the final phase and it’s now all “yeah we quoted you $X [to get the job], now it’s gonna be $X+$X”. The SML team has now jettisoned a bunch of features and will take ton of development work in-house to get the price down to the original $X.

I’m pretty skeptical of $X because in the last phase we started with $Y and while we stayed within the $Y envelope, we de-scoped a whole bunch and kicked yet more down the road because everything was suddenly, miraculously a lot more complex then they had originally costed. The equivalent of “oh you didn’t tell us that you expected wheels on this car**.”

UselessCorp (our IT “partners” building the thing) are keen to start work on the last phase, “we should sign the contract, get started and sort the details later”. Yeah, nah. There’s a huge amount of pressure from both them and FCFC (SML program manager) to go go go NOW.

FCFC is a classic Scottish Hard Man type fellow. He can be hilarious and a lot of fun to work with. He’s occasionally soft-hearted, but is often single-minded and can be very difficult and intractable. While I was expressing my concerns in a SML project leadership meeting on Friday afternoon about the probability of price inflation – because it happened many times in the last phase – he sat there shaking his head, arms folded and mouthing “no” and “not true”. When I listed several concrete examples, he had no recourse and promptly shut up. Dude, you’re on our side remember?

Ringo (my SML IT counterpart) and I have dug in our heels and suggested we pause commencement for a week until we have more certainty that the $X includes seats for the car and the engine. Fortunately after sticking our necks out quite a lot, Bobs (our Boss) and LadyPenelope (CEO) agree that we need some concrete guarantees from UselessCorp before we sign. Even VeryHighlyPaidConsultant was all “I think carolbaby’s concerns here are warranted” – which is like woah.

I’m not sure if FCFC always works this way (or if his KPIs are driving this), but his bullheadedness is not exactly making for a cohesive environment right now.

Next week is going to be a real delight.

2912 days


** obviously we’re not building a car

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