“OK, I’ll be there Monday and we’ll see what we can do.” I hung up the phone and took a deep breath, trying to wrap my head around what I just got myself into. Instead of a relaxing weekend at home, I was going to travel across the Atlantic, into the eye of a project shitstorm.
Though I lived in Phoenix, AZ, I had recently taken a position to build the Project Management organization for a UK based services company. In addition to the challenges of working across borders, building teams, and managing delivery, my new role also meant that I inherited the responsibility of putting out the project fires. And this first one was a raging inferno.
This project issue in the UK was scary, and had apparently been festering for weeks. It was so bad the customer issued a legal notice that, instead of paying for our troubled project, they intended to charge our company a huge penalty for the trouble we put them through. Not only would this be a big cost and the loss of a key customer, but it would also be an incredible blow to public confidence – just when we were trying to rebuild this organization.
By Monday morning I was sitting in a stuffy conference room somewhere in the UK midlands. I tried to shake off the jet lag as our infuriated customer berated us in the cold, cutting way only English wit can do. Every point they raised seemed frustratingly reasonable, and increasingly difficult to resolve. I looked to the team on my side of the conference table and they looked down in defeat as they took their verbal beating.
We had to turn this disaster around and we had less than one week to do it. The only tool I had? My RAID log. Before I share more about that adventure, let’s talk about what a RAID log is.