Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Been A Little Busy

Yes, it has been over a week since I last updated. I don't recall the last time I went 10 days without at least checking in. Don't feel bad...I haven't read e-mail, haven't been online at all...I am so far behind on the news that it isn't even funny. Shoot, gas shot up 27-cents and I still have no idea why. It has been that busy...

Obviously, the nuisance is mostly work. So, where to begin? The deployment of Vista throughout the firm has been a bit rocky. The applications are working for the most part...the support calls are slowly becoming manageable. But the actual deployment and migration of PCs turned ugly about Thursday of last week. And I mean really, really ugly.

We have a third-party company who was handling deployments. Which, to us, meant THEY were handling deployments. It was taking them until 1:00 a.m. or 2:00 a.m. in the morning to complete a 6-8 user deployment in Clarksburg but that wasn't my problem as long as they were done. The problem begins with the company only sending one deployment guy who works from them and sub-contracting the other two deployers. And the other two turned out to be bums.

On Wednesday, our Charleston office was scheduled to move over 7 users. The deployment "expert" (sub-contractor) was on-site and did the deployment. On Thursday morning everything hit the fan. The migrated Charleston users were in various states...none of them complete. Despite the fact the deployer signed off that the migration was complete most Charleston users were nowhere close to done. At a minimum, printers weren't installed, applications weren't installed and the users were unable to work. There was even at least one machine that was not even finished deploying the OS. It was ridiculous. I spent my entire Thursday morning remoted into different Charleston machines attempting to complete the deployment.

Then, Thursday afternoon rolled around. I received an e-mail from the deployer in Clarksburg stating that he forgot to save a laptop user's settings. So, I said no problem...I would go back to the user's original harddrive and pull the settings (My Documents, Internet Favorites, etc.) from the original drive. He brought me the laptop and another harddrive with it. I booted from the harddrive and got Vista. So, I swapped harddrives and got Vista. Ummm...well, that's bad because his laptop had XP. So, after a brief investigation, I determined that Vista was deployed over his original harddrive without any backup whatsoever. He lost everything. Case information. Personal information. Gone. No backup. Bad news.

That obviously caused a lost of heat on Friday. I made the decision to perform backups on all laptops (like we're doing with desktops) in addition to pulling the original harddrive. The fight continued through the weekend and on Monday I went down to visit with the president of the company we hired. That meeting went well and we came up with a new strategy that involved more of our employees taking control of the deployment and using the third-party as additional resources instead of vice-versa. That has worked well this week. Instead of being there until 2:00 in the morning, I was able to complete by myself an entire day worth of deployments by 1:00 p.m. this afternoon. The deployment help arrived at 11:00 a.m. and I sent her home. And I have been out of the office by 7:30 every evening this week which is very nice. I actually was out by 6:00 yesterday which is amazing.

So, after a very, very busy and heated week, this week looks more promising. The users are optimistic about the new system and like some of the features. Once the IT staff is more comfortable and the deployment is under control, I think we'll be ok. I know after performing 2-days worth of deployments solo, I feel better about the process because I believe we can handle the full deployment without additional resources but we can use them because of the amount of support we still have to do. The next couple weeks will really tell the tale but, if I survive them, it's all downhill after that. By the end of April, we will be slowing down the number of workstations we are moving over every week. The next 3 weeks are the busiest. Should be interesting.

But, anyway, that's why I haven't updated. I didn't kill anyone...and, surprisingly, no one killed me but I wouldn't have blamed a couple people if they had. It's a good thing Bill Gates hasn't been around because I don't think he would have survived. Matter of fact, I guarantee he wouldn't have...

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