The One with the End of a Deadline

Last Friday was deadline day. We had managed to implement everything we wanted by Wednesday and then tested this with our users where we found some smaller issues that we fixed on Thursday. We were also notified that, because the users were a bit nervous about the new process and software they were going to start working with this new application on Saturday instead of Monday. And that they needed to prepare things (which they needed our help for) on Friday night. We managed to find someone who would be responsible for questions and problems on Saturday (and we all said we were going to try to look at notifications when possible) and I volunteered for the Friday night thing.

On Friday we all had either the whole day or the afternoon off. We were pretty confident that nothing major would happen. And then all hell broke loose at about 4pm. We hadn’t really thought about the fact that part of the preparations would be done in another application of ours that is, well, a tiny bit unstable. Add to that the fact that, although our main domain objects in all applications are representations of time spans, we (and apparently the libraries we use) are always a bit unprepared for a switch to or from daylight savings time. And the fact that our users themselves were a bit under pressure and did some not-so-useful things (yes, our application should catch these but, as I said, it’s a tiny bit unstable).

So we started hunting bugs and fixing them, all of us at home or somewhere else, communicating via Slack messages or calls. Which worked surprisingly well. Pressure, I know. From 8:30pm on it got quiet and the users managed to do everything they wanted until 10pm so I could provide them with the data they needed to prepare for Saturday, without any problems there. And there were no major problems on Saturday so the rest of the weekend was quiet and free time.

Friday was rough though. But it was also fun. For the first time ever I felt like I could really, really help in a tough situation. I felt like part of the team, one of the big guys. And they actually both told me that I did great. I managed to stay calm (which is a lot easier to do at home when nobody can interrupt to ask how far you’ve come yet to be honest), find all the information I needed quickly and solved the problems without creating more. I feel more confident in my abilities now which will hopefully help me in situations where my inner critic tries to tell me that I’m not good enough again.

I do hope that we won’t have many days like that again, though. And I hope that we can go “back” to a sensible way of team work after this deadline.