Saturday, July 01, 2006

It's Over

And I survived. One of the longest presentations ever. 4 hrs with a 15 minute break in the middle. The last hour taking questions.

Was croaking at first. Seriously. That always happens to me when I first start speaking in public. My voice gives out on me. I could see people looking at each other, silently asking each other if they could hear anything. But that passed. The only thing that gets me through moments like this is experience. Remembering similar moments in the past & how I survived them helps me to suppress my fight or flight response.

Nothing went wrong during the demo. The system worked fine. The challenge was to present it properly, to explain each feature & the problem it solves, to make it all seem simple enough for all their staff to use without oversimplifying to the point that the client becomes oblivious to the amount of work that went into the system. That's something my manager often accuses me of. Making our systems sound so easy to use that the client fails to see the complexity of the logic that is used to make life so simple for the user, that the client might start to wonder why he/she is paying so much money for something that looks like it was a piece of cake & why they had to wait so long for it. So I tried to avoid the see-how-easy-this-is approach.

Anyway don't want to think about it anymore. After the visitors left, my manager called me into his office to thank me. I also got an email - all about how much he appreciates our efforts etc....And of course after that it was my turn to give the same pep talk to the rest of the team. I wanted to hug them all for coming through for me. I know the crazy hours they've all been working. Afterwards I put it in writing for them too. Tomorrow am bringing a huge home-made chocolate cake to the office.

Went out with some friends after work. But I couldn't eat anything. Was still too high on adrenalin. So I had tea & sheesha. The conversation was mostly about the World Cup. When everyone left to go back to work I felt truly lucky to be the only one who was done for the day. I hate this split shift stuff.

Was still too restless to go home so I went for a drive. Then D. called & asked where I was going next so I told her I wanted to drop by the Co-op to pick up the ingredients for the cake. She said she'll meet me there. We finished shopping & she came over with me. I made some strawberry juice. She'd already had lunch & I still couldn't face food & I had found the loveliest strawberries in the Co-op. Have got a thing about strawberries. Strawberry is even my favorite sheesha flavor.

Now am in bed with my laptop - completely worn out. Ordered Burger King. Am going to pig out on burgers & milkshake in bed. Then am going to sleep. Didn't cook dinner. And decided I'll stay up later tonight to do the cake.



Blogger Alina said...

Congrats, Lou! Glad it all went perfectly.

As for the cake, can I have a slice delivered over here? :D

7/02/2006 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Herlock Sholmes said...

Well done.

What does the "system" do?

7/02/2006 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger forsoothsayer said...

strawberry is the worst shisha flavour ever! unequivocally. canteloupe is where it's at.
mabrouk tho.

7/02/2006 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger Safiya said...

Eating burgers and drinking milkshake in bed sounds great.

Mabrouk on your presentation going so well.

7/02/2006 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger Puppy said...

Congratulations with presentation. Well Done.


7/02/2006 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Thanks guys! I am very happy. Because the presentation went well & also because now am starting a new project so there's going to be a couple of months of light pressure until the deadline draws near & the madness begins again. Let's just hope my manager doesn't decide I have too much free time & sends me for training or something.


I wish I could have shipped you a slice. It's all gone now. Even I didn't get a chance to taste it.:)


What does it do?A better question would be what DOESN'T it do?It does customer service, marketing research, risk assessment, inventory, workflow, quality assurance, payroll, finance, you name it really. It handles 63 different business processes.

When I did initial analysis about a year ago I counted 142 business processes. Fortunately we're a management consultancy. We don't just design IT solutions. We also tell you how to run your business. So our management consultants got to work with outsourcing & restructuring & stream-lining the business. When it came back to me it had gone down to 63.

Based on data from all said processes it does data-mining & data-warehousing to produce reports for Management, the Board of Directors, the auditors, the insurance companies as well as all internal interdepartmental, inter-regional reporting. It schedules reports & emails them periodically to those who need to know. One screen. You log in & based on who you are it gives you access to the work you're supposed to do. It sends you emails & sms to remind you of your tasks. And it's interactive too. It has voice & graphics. Can't take credit for the user-interface though because we subcontracted that.

They used to be 70% manual & as of now they're 100% digital. Even documents are going to be scanned & managed by the system. Almost no more pen & paper stuff.

The real nightmare was going to be the training. We're supposed to design training programs for the staff - most of whom are computer illiterate. Thankfully my management decided to subcontract the training bit.

It was very interesting. This is only the 2nd time I ever got to work on anything so comprehensive. Usually our clients just want to automate or upgrade one specific business process. Although sometimes that one process can be so complicated that it takes even more work than an entire office automation project like this one.

7/02/2006 10:09:00 PM  
Blogger Puppy said...

I am really impressed :)

Well done and good luck in your future projects.


7/03/2006 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger Herlock Sholmes said...

What is the s/w called?

7/03/2006 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...


What does s/w stand for?

7/03/2006 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger Puppy said...

Loulou s/w is for SoftWare :)

7/04/2006 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Sorry Herlock can't give out the name of the software, the name of my company, or the name of the client. If you're interested it was developed almost entirely in .Net with MS SQL Server 2005 in the back-end. That's all the software I can mention here.:)

7/04/2006 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger MoonLightShadow said...

Congrats Loulou :) I'm happy your are done with it..
I kind of know how horrible this is.. I'm going through something of the sort, though my case is much simpler than that, but it's all about identifying the business processes!!

I guess we could borrow your project.. and our life would be easier then :D

7/04/2006 11:51:00 PM  
Blogger LouLou said...


"Congrats Loulou :)"

Thanks. 3oqbalik:)

"I guess we could borrow your project.. and our life would be easier then."

I doubt that it could help you that much. If it could then this project should have taken us no time & effort to develop. We'd have used code from older projects. It's not like we've never done office automation before.

The thing is that if a client has basic or generic business requirements why would they go for a custom-made system? There are all sorts of ready-made packages that can be bought off the shelf to handle workflow, payroll etc....

If they choose to come to us then it's because their business process is so uniquely tortuous & convoluted that nothing on the market fits it. If we have something ready that could satisfy the client we don't build something new. But that rarely happens because every uniquely tortuous & convoluted business process is different.

Of course we go through our archives & class libraries when a project gets to the development stages. Sometimes we do find bits & pieces of re-useable code. But nothing much because the algorithms themselves are usually so different. There's only so much that inheritance & overloading can do for you.:)

7/05/2006 01:11:00 AM  

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