On Friday, Team05 completed GeekWeek.
For those that don’t know, GeekWeek is a lot of training, implementation, and teamwork. To be honest, it felt like a rite of passage.
The first day started out on time at noon. Many of us didn’t know what to expect. We were given some initial tasks/deliverables, and were told to get to work. We knew this was going to be a pretty daunting task, and we were going to have some late nights. To the rescue, some of our guys (I honestly don’t know who did it) bought a ton of “supplies” to help us along our way.
We were given some equipment, some software, and some direction. I’ll say that “some” can be used loosely when it came to software… But hey, that’s part of the exercise. I’ll go into detail a little later on some of the software in another post. In the immortal words of Charlie Sheen, we decided to PLAN BETTER, before we got started. With that being said, we didn’t begin installing any software until late on Day 1. We focused on our game plan, so we would have to make fewer course corrections during the week. I’m not going into detail as to our planning, as any subsequent teams will have to do that on their own.
Meeting up on a semi-irregular schedule, we got together for status updates, to make sure we were going the right direction.
We left the office around 11:00pm. That was a little more than 12 hours from when many of us arrived. I got to sleep around 2:00am after dialing back into the lab and doing some of my own inventory/etc.
Around 9:00am on day 2, with some boot LUNs configured, 8 ESXi hosts installed, a customer scenario, and an inventory of what we had (and needed), we were on our way.
The team split up into several groups to focus on specific deliverables. Some people gravitated to areas they were specifically talented in, while others moved around between focus areas to help others with their tasks.
Some members went to get software we didn’t have… Some went to get configuration info we didn’t have… Some started configuration… Some started documentation… Everyone was engaged.
Meeting irregularly throughout the day, we had a status check to keep us going in the right direction.
I honestly don’t remember what time we left on day 2, but again, I didn’t get to sleep until after 2:00am.
Day 3 seemed to be our most productive day when it came to the installation of software, configuration of applications, and focus on our “customer deliverables.” People were engaged, enthusiastic, and on a mission. Again… Irregular status updates kept us on track. We had about 80% of all of our apps/deliverables ready…
AND THEN… An issue with one piece of software… 8 hours later, we determined where the problem was… There was an issue with the package we were deploying. Basically we had an issue with one of the biggest deliverables in our customer scenario. My hat goes of to the people (you know who you are) who spent all that time and effort to get things going, only to hit a impassable roadblock.
I suggested we all attempt to get some rest and get back to it in the morning. It was 1:30am, and we really needed some rest. I got back to the hotel around 2:00am, but wired with adrenaline, I didn’t get to sleep until around 4:00am.
I was up at 7:50am, knowing that this was the day we had to have everything done. We were on a very aggressive schedule. With our final presentation scheduled at 9:30am on Day 5, we had to finish things up.
A workaround was found for our beta code issue, and the team focused on that deliverable spent the better part of the morning taking care of the delivery/demo of it. Again, irregular status updates were keeping us on track. The other teams were making final configurations/changes to polish up their deliverables and presentation points.
Things were really clicking. We were WINNING.
Around 2:30-3:00pm we got together to go over the different pieces of our presentation, and put them together like a jigsaw puzzle. After several hours of review/tweaking, we had our presentation and demos ready for Day 5. We called it a night around 8:00pm. We knew that we needed our rest before our presentation on Friday. I think I actually got a little sleep that night… A little…
The tension was pretty thick on Friday. We were fine with it, given that we knew our stuff, and that our configurations were rock solid. We had Tigerblood flowing through our veins. We knew we were WINNING.
Around 9:00am, the cadre arrived. We posted a small but effective security detail to keep them from entering our briefing room. There was tension on both sides. Our leaders didn’t know what to expect, and we let them wait, prolonging their expectations. From our perspective, it was also a little tense, knowing that this was the culmination of our vSpecialist and vArchitect onboarding process.
At 9:30am, we greeted our leaders as though they were a customer, and welcomed them into our boardroom. The smiles and wide eyes gave us a pretty good indication that we had hit them with the “Wow factor” before we even said the first word. We were WINNING.
I can’t really go into what transpired during our presentation… Maybe there will be some tall tales about what we did… Maybe not. Needless to say, we WON.
From my view, this was a very intense technical, professional, mental, and personal onboarding process. Much like going to boot camp and then specialized training for my 2 USAF career fields. As participants, we came together with little or no knowledge of each other. We all worked together and created a product that is greater than the sum of our efforts.
Just like the relationships I have formed in the past with friends from boot, and specialized training, I know that these will last a lifetime. I know our paths will cross again in the future, and I look forward to it.
I already miss you guys Team05. Here’s to an awesome 2011, and beyond.
Update: Joe Adams posted an article on the Teamwork we experienced