It’s been a while…

Today was one of *those* days. One of the ones where you’re rushing around trying to hit deadlines with dozens of things in the way and confusion abounding so that you feel as though you’ve run a marathon by the time you get home (half an hour late).


It’s been a while since I’ve had one of those days. I enjoy having enough work to fill my day at last, but not the panic. Part of the problem, I suspect, is that I’m pushing myself too hard.

Every month we do a software release onto the system. This consists of new or amended Oracle reports, new data warehouse loads, amendments to loads, and scripts to run to change, clean-up or alter data. The release is tomorrow and I was supposed to have four tickets going in. Three were done, dusted and happy by Monday.

One was having some final testing yesterday afternoon (a clean-up script and an alteration to the mapping that loads some data) and by pure chance I did something that showed up an error in the mapping change. In some ways it was good that I accidentally found the bug before it went into production. OTOH, there was no way to get it fixed and tested in time for the release so we pulled it late yesterday afternoon.

A ticket with some changes to some Oracle reports landed on my desk yesterday lunchtime. The changes were done, I just had to shepherd them through testing and get them validated by a business analyst. I got everything into the final test environment yesterday afternoon and alerted the BA.

Then there were two ‘tiny’ tickets that got assigned to me late yesterday afternoon. My colleague, L, thought she’d sent them to me two weeks ago but, er, she hadn’t. I knew nothing about them so they weren’t done. The first was a very simple script that I wrote, tested through the first two levels and put in the request to get it into the final test level last night. The other one looked a bit more complicated and the guy who knows the system I was changing had gone home, so I called it a night.

This morning I felt good. After all, I’d had the nightmare thing pulled so I now had more time to fix it and everything else was either dead simple (I thought) or just waiting for validation.


Got the note to say that my nice simple script was in the final test environment so I ran it and asked the business analyst to validate it. Marked it as in validation in my tracking spreadsheet and moved on. It was only 8.30am.

I talked to the guy about the other script and after around an hour of fiddling we realised that it was an awful lot more complicated than L had assumed and there was no way in heck that it would get written, tested and validated today. So I pulled it and started to feel a bit more relaxed. Hey, what could go wrong now? I buried myself in sorting out the more complicated script so that it would be done in loads of time for the release. It took me all day (with interruptions detailed below) and I only just got it running in the first test environment before I went home today. Glad we pulled that one.

Er, around lunchtime the BA decided that those reports that just needed a quick validation needed a small change to the layout of one column. And he still wanted it in the release. So I made the change and put in the request to get the new versions into final testing again. It was done within an hour, which must be a record.

Cue large can of worms. The problem was that those reports now needed re-running to verify and, rather than going into an overnight batch, they would have to be run manually. Which is a total nightmare and I’m definitely going to request that we find a better way of doing it.

It took all afternoon to get them run off because the script kept erroring and nobody knew why. In the meantime, the clock is counting down because we’re doing the release tomorrow morning and the reports aren’t validated.

And then someone reminds me that my really simple script still isn’t tagged as ready for the release. So I email the BA (again). And then IM him. And then call him, where he commented that he thought another BA would be doing it but he’s just realised that the other BA is on holiday. Where he has been for the last week and a half. Which is why I sent the request to BA1 in the first place, at 8.30am!

It is now 4pm. The release co-ordinator wants to go home.

So I hurriedly do up the paperwork for our simple script and Oracle reports, knowing that we’ll have to pull them at the last minute if we can’t get them validated, and email them to him so that he can finish his paperwork.

Finally, at 4.25pm, we get the reports to run off and email them to the BA. Who has now gone home. Although he has at least tagged the simple script as ready for the release.

The thing is that I hate pulling things from the release because it makes me feel like I’ve failed somewhere. I’ve got two things that have already been pulled and the reports will go the same way tomorrow if my BA hasn’t got them checked and confirmed by 9am. I’m currently praying that he’s in early because I’ll be so embarrassed if I end up with three things being pulled this month.

The fact that this one is entirely due to the BA and the column change should have been put into a separate ticket for another release is beside the point. The fact that one of the tickets was never sent to me so there wasn’t time to do it doesn’t matter. I hate feeling like I’ve failed.

I know that it’s my fault that I put this much pressure on myself, but it’s something that I don’t seem able to change and at least I know that what I do is the best that I can. It’s just that the way this afternoon went was exhausting and I recognise the feeling from the bad old days.

The most frustrating thing? My team leader is totally laid back and isn’t at all concerned by the number of things that I’ve been working on that haven’t made it into the release. Illogically, that doesn’t make me feel better.

Tonight is definitely a night for CSI:NY, Holby City and a serving of very, very, cheesy cauliflower cheese.

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