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Day One

So I walked into the office like I owned the place.

Well, no. I walked in a bit nervously. BA/PM was there (she had a week head start on me) as was CEO. CTO lives out of town and was to arrive in the early afternoon.

The first task is to complete, post-haste, the new E-commerce platform for the company’s primary website. It was, in violation of Rule One, constructed without a clear requirements document — the direction was to ‘make it work like the old one’.

This left a bit of a mess, and coupled with a couple key developers rolling off the project unfortunately quickly (not, to my understanding, for ugly reasons) the mess got larger.

In the interim, outside contractors were brought in to complete work on it, but significant challenges to complete the project remain — most notably aspects of sharing some data with the order fulfillment system. And it’ll be on me to complete development as I’m, for now, the only developer.

I met a few other key players, including the new designer (also starting today) and the E-Commerce guru (who needs this project done to implement some of his plans). We had lunch together.

A note on having lunch together: In an earlier entry, I wrote that “Never have lunch alone” was one of Sparky’s key pieces of advice. The idea is that if you’re lunching with your co-workers, you’re building rapport and bonding. As I have learned from my many years of employment, as a developer and otherwise, whether you’re having lunch with your direct reports, your peers, or your superiors, this has great value in the near and long terms.

Also, when your CEO goes to lunch with you, he usually buys. So, free lunch.

After lunch CTO arrived and we got immediately to work. He gave me and BA/PM the breakdown of the project and the major things to deal with, and then immediately pivoted to a discussion of the deployment architecture, which is currently slated to be very expensive (as in, thousands per month). CTO and I started exploring alternative architectures, and then immediately he started contacting the vendor for bids based on the alternatives, with me riding shotgun, and principally giving him nonverbal cues in reaction to what the vendor was saying.

One of the architectural details pushed by the vendor was a file server. Neither CTO nor I saw a separate file server as necessary for our architecture. The vendor (who, it should be noted, is known for their expertise in our new E-commerce platform) insisted it was a critical and necessary part of the architecture. One glance exchanged between the two of us confirmed that we believed the vendor was full of it. When CTO pushed back, the vendor said he’d talk to someone more technical about it to make sure it would be all right for us.

Tomorrow CTO and I are heading to be on-site with another vendor – the development vendor – to begin the lengthy process of knowledge transfer into my brain.

I expect to be very tired for the next few days. But if I take good notes and keep focused I should be in a much better position to understand the company’s technical needs, and begin to build my team accordingly.

However, it sounds like that will not be my first concern. First, I need to get this platform ready to release.

Oy.

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