Projects that suck – Terrible Projects an IT Contractor Worked On

Projects That Suck
Projects That Suck - a Contractor's experience

Projects That Suck

Projects That Suck is from Aussie site

We all know the scenario.

You’ve landed yourself a cushy gig and things are going great.

You just finished working on something really interesting that expanded your skills and your mind.

Now you’re hungry to apply your talents to another interesting problem.

Buzzwords and Management Speak

Your manager invites you to a meeting with another team that are “pushing some work your way”.

You walk into the room, relaxed and confident, to find it full of smiles.

They pursue some management speak and throw some buzzwords about while you daydream.

IT Contract Work

Gradually, the talk turns to the work they want done.

As you listen, the smile starts to run from your face.

You raise some queries and get the reply “you’re a clever girl/guy I’m sure you can sort that out”.

Complicated diagrams are drawn up on the whiteboard, then quickly rubbed off with an “actually I’m not sure that’s exactly right”.

Project Documentation

Suddenly, they dump a great pile of documentation in front of you.

The stench is horrible and flies are alread buzzing around.

Then the whole group stands up and walks out, leaving you behind to clean up after them.

In short, they’ve just landed you with a project that sucks.

So, here are some examples of what it might be.

The case of the disappearing consultant

You discover that the naive 21 year old who’s been bothering you with technical questions for the past three months is actually from a large consultancy.

Your company has been paying $10,000 a day for him.

He’s been teaching himself to program on a mission-critical system that the whole company is due to start using next week.

The problem is, the system took slightly longer to build than anticipated, and the consultant’s contract runs out two days before roll-out.

No problem, the powers that be say, you’ll be around to make sure that the launch goes well.

Projects That Suck – Hand Over Meeting

You have a hand-over meeting with the kid, but he doesn’t seem that interested and can’t really answer your questions satisfactorily.

So, you sense that all he really wants is to get the hell out of there.

You read the documentation. It looks great and is full of important looking graphs and facts, but is actually short on substance.

You decide to check out some of the code.

Suddenly, you realise you are in big, BIG trouble.

Sort Out Major Problems

Quickly, you organise a meeting with your boss. He furrows his brow and makes soothing sounds.

He manages to pull some strings and get you an extra week to sort things out.

You want to laugh in his face, but resist the temptation.

You manage to sort some of the major problems out, but really the whole thing is held together with bits of string and sticky-tape.

Bug in the System

Ten minutes after launch, your phone starts to ring.

It’s an abusive call about a bug in “YOUR” system.

You hang up and immediately the phone rings again.

Welcome to your life for the next six months.

The headless horseman

You have a meeting where a group of ten people present a new project.

It sounds interesting, and you’re excited to be involved.

The meeting goes well and you ask who’s going to be managing the thing.

“Why, we all are,” comes the reply.


Project Specifications

The next day, ten different specs arrive in your in-box, all demanding different functionality.

You manage to put something together and start building.

Someone arranges a demo of where you’re up to.

They tell you to change some part of the system.

Then someone else arranges a meeting and tells you to change it back again.

Passing the Buck on an IT Project

You get a phone call from someone telling you to stop working on it for a week.

Then a different caller asks you why you haven’t made any progress in the last few days.

When the project goes well, they all want to take credit for it. When things are going badly, they all try to pass the buck.

This can go on for months, or even years if you’re really unlucky.

The nine-headed hydra

It’s a system that’s been around for a while, and you’ve heard horror stories about it.

Now it’s your turn to try and fix the damn thing.

Your suggestion that maybe you start building it from scratch is brushed off.

They’ve already spent millions on the thing, they can’t justify scrapping it.

Battle With Systems Bugs

So you pull on your armour, grab your sword and go in for the attack.

It doesn’t take long for a monster bug to crop up.

You hack, chop, bite and kick until you’re sure you’re killed it.

Just when you think victory is yours, another bug crops up, then another and another.

You leave your desk every day, exhausted from the never-ending battle with the bugs that just won’t die.

Musical chairs on IT Project That Suck

It’s the project that they never really got the budget for. Instead they’re skimming a week here and there from other projects.

Now it’s your turn to contribute.

The last person was pulled off half-way through a line of code.

You kind of have an idea of what the last three people were trying to do with their contributions.

Just a few band-aids on top of their band-aids and maybe it will finally work.

Getting the Budget for IT Project

Suddenly, your week is up and none of what you started adding is yet functional.

You smile and wonder who the next sucker it gets passed to will be.

Then your manager comes over for a quick chat.

It seems they’ve finally got the budget and want the thing finished.

And they’ve chosen you to do it.

Projects that Suck – The bastard client

You get handed what seems to be a good project.

Only problem is, the business client seems somewhat highly strung.

You’re sure you can handle her though.

That’s until the abusive emails and phone calls start coming in.

Every little mistake or problem is treated like the end of the world in projects that suck.

Late Nights in IT Department

She demands that you work back late every night to fix anything that doesn’t meet her exact approval.

The managing director receives daily emails explaining what terrible service you’re providing.

She won’t rest until your reputation is in tatters, you’re thrown out into the street and bankrupted.

Projects that suck are to be avoided if you can.

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