So a PR officer is hired to work on one of our projects. The idea was that none of us technical people had time to sit around and design and write brochures, leaflets, press releases, interviews and deal with the media etc... The client is a government organization, the project is a bit high-profile with lots of local politics involved so we made sure our contract specified that the client would provide us with a PR person to handle that side of things.
The PR officer joins us for 2 months - the duration of his contract. We feed him the technical info and assume that he's doing his job. At least I did. Although to be honest I never checked. I never even bothered to read the few newspaper clippings he did hand me. Then his contract expires and he leaves. Yesteday in the weekly progress meeting with the client, two things hit me. First, said PR officer was supposed to prepare no less than 16 press releases - in Arabic and English - of which the client has only seen 4 in print so far. They were scheduled to be released at certain milestones in the development of the project. The next one is due next week so all of a sudden I'm asked when they can have the press releases he was supposed to have left behind so that they can turn them over to their own PR dept for follow-up.
I never even knew the guy was supposed to write a fixed number of press releases - an entire media campaign really. Because I never bothered to look at his job description or his tasks. But of course I couldn't say that. What kind of team-leader would say that?I apologized for not having the press releases with me at the present time and promised to send them over when I get back to my office.
Of course I went back to the office and checked his files. Nothing. I called him. He said that he prepared the first 4 and then since the rest were dated to be released after his contract had expired he just didn't do them. He said he didn't understand that they were supposed to be written in advance. Of course I told him my opinion of that and of him but the fact remained that his contract had expired and based on my word, my management signed the piece of paper that said his job was done.It's ultimately my fault that he took the client's money and spent two months essentially doing nothing because I didn't supervise him. And I had no power to force him to do anymore work.
So I got stuck having to write the stupid press releases. And to translate them into Arabic. And then hand them in as someone else's work. If I said anything to my manager I would have made myself look incompetent. And he would not have let this sort of thing pass easily. And if anyone at the client's side had sensed anything it would have made my organization look bad and then my manager would have hanged, drawn and quartered me.
I know I always dreamed about getting more into the business/managerial side of IT. And I know how hard I worked to get there. But now I'm here sometimes I feel maybe I bit off more than I can chew. Back in the days when I was a developer I had no idea how huge and complex our projects really were, how much detail was involved, how much you had to remember etc...There's so much coordination involved. And the slightest lapse can have serious consequences for you and your team and your organization no matter how strong you might be technically.
I missed my blog last week but I was so overdosed on writing that I really could not face typing a single syllable more.