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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Duct Tape Week

It's my first official day back on the job in the new year.  Some days, I feel like the glue that keeps things together, and other days, like duct tape keeping things from falling apart.

Glue days are when I manage to connect up this person with that fact or other person, or that product with this other team, or that project with this other detail.  Duct tape days are when I manage to keep things from falling apart by making sure this person talks to that one, or reassure that person that because of this detail, they need not worry, and so on.

The difference between glue and duct tape is in how fast it works, and how permanent the solution is.  Glue takes a bit of time to set, but usually creates a pretty permanent solution that doesn't need to be addressed later.  Duct tape is very quick, and can keep things from falling apart, but it is by no means a permanent solution.  Glue is mostly used for building, and is sometimes used for (permanent) repairs.  Duct tape is mostly used for repairing things, but can occasionally be used to hold things together while glue sets.

Today, getting back, catching up, and getting ready for the next two weeks, I'm barely managing to tread water.  Thus, it is a duct tape day.  I'm ripping and sticking as fast as I can to hold things together until I get real time to figure out a more permanent solution.

A good week is when I spend less than 10% of my time dealing with duct tape.  A really bad week could be covered in it, but I haven't had a really bad week in a long time.  Mostly that has to do with preparation.  If you are prepared, you might need to break out the duct tape from time to time, but most of the time, you'll be using glue.  There are times though, when duct tape is perfectly acceptable, and duct tape days are the norm.

Connectathon is next week.  A great deal of duct tape will be used there. This is not a bad thing.  The whole point of Connectathon is not to discover what works, but rather, to figure out what doesn't and get it working.  Teams that succeed at connectathon wind up with improved products, and even those that fail often learn a great deal.  The point is, once you've learned what is broken, you can go back, and figure out how to really fix it (in the weeks after connectathon).

Here's wishing you all a great duct tape week.


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