When things go wrong.

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jimmer
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When things go wrong.

Unread postby jimmer » Sun Feb 05, 2017 9:04 am

Hi All,

The Virtual World-based gamified learning project that I've been working on for over a year has turned the corner from potential failure into unmitigated disaster. I'm v. sad and dispondent. There are many reasons why the project went south, but, unlike in previous cases, I'm finding it very hard to think-positive myself out of the emotional pit I'm in.

As many of you seem to have been in IT for a long time, perhaps you know the feeling of failed project malaise. If so, I'd like to hear how you guys have dealt with professional disappointment, self-doubt, recrimination and general take-away-my-keyboard-and-root-access-because-I'm-too-useless-to-live feelings in the wake of similar situations?

thanks,

J
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Re: When things go wrong.

Unread postby Elf » Sun Feb 05, 2017 7:03 pm

Probably not helpful, but...

In general for work related stuff I try to partition my work from the rest of my life. Whenever I've become emotionally invested in work to the point where it took over my thoughts outside of work, I have inevitably become disappointed. Usually because there are so many other people that are necessarily involved -- all with their own agendas -- that you end up running into no-win situations, which at least I am not good at handling. It's not to say I don't care anymore but I try as much as possible to care about work, at work, and leave it there . I have different personal goals for making my own life fulfilling.

As far as dealing with failed projects, I am usually most interested in the takeaways. Why did it fail and how can things be done better in the future? Maybe I am either unlucky or cynical, but again it usually seems to me that human factors are more involved in the failures I have experienced than technological factors. Poor process, lacking project management, people not playing to their strengths, etc. Of course, I find those to be the more frustrating problems, because as much as there is to learn about people-management and leadership, I rarely find it to be a 100% solvable problem. I think the field of information technology is sufficiently complex and volatile that it exceeds many peoples' capacity for organization and change.

Sometimes I think I would be happier and at least as well paid if I just became an electrician!
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Re: When things go wrong.

Unread postby guardian452 » Sun Feb 05, 2017 8:06 pm

Hi J,

That's sad to hear. The best thing to do is talk about it. Even if your SO or friends don't understand the technical details they will surely have good advise on your situation anyways.

I know you're talented, and were undoubtedly part of a talented team. Sounds like a really difficult problem you all were working on. Surely some good came out of it, I'm sure you enjoyed time spent working on the project and perhaps bits and pieces (or at least knowledge gained) can be used on different projects in the future Even if you're no longer at the same firm it is comforting to know that not all was in vain. Surely your time was valuable enough there so not all of your efforts would be wasted.

IMO, if this transition period is hard enough, now may be a good time to clean up some other aspects of your life. Time away from the computer is important. Try literally cleaning up junk, or take some time for a vacation, or try something completely different like taking up... IDK... bowling or guitar or running LOL.

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Re: When things go wrong.

Unread postby dexter1 » Mon Feb 06, 2017 4:35 am

I'm very sorry to hear that Jimmer. Feel free to consume a pint or whatever you're having, i'm buying.

guardian452 wrote:That's sad to hear. The best thing to do is talk about it. Even if your SO or friends don't understand the technical details they will surely have good advise on your situation anyways.

That is excellent advice:
People should celebrate successful team-efforts, but should also reflect and comfort each other when things go belly-up. It's just part of us being human.

Elf wrote:In general for work related stuff I try to partition my work from the rest of my life.

This one from Elf is also very important:
You are working on complex systems which necessitates cooperation from a lot of different people. There are always things that go wrong, or people not delivering or keeping their promise, or people having different agenda's. This causes problems, stress, missed deadlines and lots of extra work. And sometimes projects falter because of exactly that, which also means you will see failure more than once or twice. Keeping work separate from off-work matters is necessary IMO.

Don't beat yourself up about this: if you try and do your best, you're fine.

This reminds me of Alejandro Jodorowski: "You want to make the most fantastic art of movie? Try. If you fail, is not important. We need to try."
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Re: When things go wrong.

Unread postby uunix » Mon Feb 06, 2017 11:57 am

Sorry to hear this Jimmer, can't advise really, never been in that particular situation, although I have had some major disasters in my career.

I just got on with things and either cursed the people whose fault is was or learned my lesson or both.

Anyway, chin up old chap, nice cup of tea will sort it all out.
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Re: When things go wrong.

Unread postby jimmer » Thu Feb 09, 2017 2:15 pm

Thanks All for your kind messages and ideas on the matter. Much appreciated.
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Re: When things go wrong.

Unread postby Variant1 » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:26 am

Was it your own project? If not, then don't take on yourself too much—there are managers, other team members and so on. At least you don't try to make happy face "all well", which eventually will lead to depression. If it is your own project—don't worry too much too, the human being can't be always successful, just save the right to make mistakes, it's important too.
I am a developer for years, and I have different situations in my life—the most important things that I:
a) still doing the job for clients.
b) still love the job.
That means I can do more than I did before. You too.

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Re: When things go wrong.

Unread postby vishnu » Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:19 am

Sometimes the only thing you can do is step back and try to take a bigger perspective, almost invariably you'll come to the conclusion that it could have been worse:

http://www.infoworld.com/article/2672020/application-development/anatomy-of-an-it-disaster--how-the-fbi-blew-it.html
Project:
Temporarily lost at sea...
Plan:
World domination! Or something...

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