Easier than it seems. Chapters 9-10

    “Easier than it seems” is a business novel about what programmers are still capable of.


    - What exactly will you do in this project? - Galina's voice sounded wary, as if feeling the ground in an unfamiliar situation.

    - to lead. Or do. - Sergey was still in the joyful aftertaste of a successful conversation with Kurchatov and Voronin. A little thought, he added. - Rather - and lead, and do.

    - Isn’t Petrova the project manager? - cautiously and, as it seemed to Sergey, Galina asked with a slight grin. - Everyone heard at the meeting how Kurchatov appointed her.

    - Evgeny Viktorovich said that she will be the curator, or something like that. I don’t know for sure, I won’t think - he will talk to Petrova and write what they agreed on. But the main thing will be me. - not hiding notes of narcissism, said Sergey.

    For some time, Galina stared at Sergei, only occasionally taking his eyes off of him at Stas, who, although he tried not to attract attention, could not do without movement.

    - OK let's see. - sighing, said Galina. - For me, as your leader (Galina made a special emphasis on this phrase), it is important that you continue to perform your direct duties (and the emphasis on this phrase was also obvious).

    - Yeah I do not mind. - Sergey answered condescendingly. - But you know, quite a considerable time I still have to devote to the project of the year (I could not resist, I screwed this phrase).

    - Do not tell me what I need to understand and what not. - Galina smiled unpleasantly. - I have a boss for this. All these projects of yours are already where I sit (Galina showed her hand to her chin). With the main work you can not cope, the requests from users do not close on time, and instead of working normally, you invent all kinds of nonsense. With me, this number will not work.

    - You will not pass, with Kurchatov pass. - how could more seriously, and even threateningly, said Sergei. - I will have a complete carte blanche, Galina. It will be necessary - and you will carry out the tasks that you will find in the project. And I will set these tasks, not you or Petrova.

    - With a fright, then? - Galina could not hold back a smile. Looking at the serious (even, perhaps, too) face of Sergei, she could not stand it and laughed loudly.

    - This is project management, Galina. Did not hear? - Sergey managed to keep a serious expression, and did not even smile. - There is a functional submission - with the heads, employees, staffing, job descriptions and so on. And there is a project one - temporary, when a team is recruited from different departments, and the roles in it are redistributed without looking around for traditional positions. It may be that Kurchatov, well, or rather, Voronin will carry out the tasks that I will set.

    Galina's laughter only intensified. I had to wait a few minutes until she could calm down a bit - she laughed loudly, and there was absolutely no way to talk.

    - Seryozh, sorry, but you are a naive fool. - Galina burst out again, but was able to hold out and not burst out laughing again. - Kurchatov will do his tasks ...

    After a few seconds, she raised her hand to her head, as the military do, and said in a stern, loud voice: - Yes, Sergey Nikolayevich, it will be fulfilled! - after which she laughed again.

    Sergey felt that his face was beginning to turn red from the suffocating mixture of anger and shame. He was angry with both Galina and himself - why did he get into these senseless debates again?

    - Well, thank you, laugh the old woman. - Galina wiped tears with his hand. “Okay, I'll go, or wrinkles will appear with laughter.” Call me when orders are ready for me.


    - Hmm ... - Stas said thoughtfully.

    - Convenient phrase. - Sergey said with a sad smile. “And you will not understand to whom you belong.” Either you condemn me, or this fool. And now you will sit and wait for my reaction.

    - Why is she a fool ... An ordinary person. What do you want? - conciliatory said Stas.

    - Stas, you need a mediator to work. Or a diplomat. - Sergey looked at Stas point-blank. - You never express your opinion, just like a hero from “The Great Gatsby”, I don’t remember what their name was ... Well, the one who said at the beginning of the book that he was always modest in judgments and, especially, evaluations, that's why they all cried in his vest.

    - Come on, make me still guilty. - Stas raised his tone a little. Although, Sergei thought, again the role is playing, probably. - What will you do?

    - With what? Or with whom?

    - Well, actually, with your project.

    - What do you care? - Sergey, alas, could not switch as quickly as Stas. - I will do what I can. To hell with it ... Or I’ll be fired.

    - Well, it begins ... - Stas made a sour face. - Okay, let's be serious. I also want to participate in the project, take me?

    - What for?

    - Yes, everything is good, Seryoga, what are you doing? I am not your enemy.

    - You're not the enemy. Who said that? Friend to all - no one's friend.

    - Yes, what does it matter who said what and when. Come on business. Seriously, what are you whining like ... Well, I do not know ... Not like Serge. Let's do it. Where do we start?

    - I would have known ... I have to think.

    - Maybe a meeting to gather? Well, there are storekeepers, accountants - everyone involved in the process? - Stas did not let up.

    - I do not know ... Probably not. - Sergey was gradually rebuilt in a working way. - Remember, talking about systemic thinking?

    - Well, remember. Emergent properties, all affairs. See the system in action.

    - If you assemble a meeting, you get a system that is turned off. - Sergey saddled his favorite skate. - People will be taken out of context, from work processes, from the familiar environment, placed in the meeting room, seated on chairs around the table. It will be completely different people.

    - Why others? The same. They will tell you what problems there are in the process, what is wrong, where to look for the causes of errors.

    - How to explain to you ... People are the same, but this will be the interpretation - their opinion on the system in which they are located. Moreover, each of them is only an element of this system, do you understand? None of them knows the whole warehouse system, does not see it. As in the fable "Swan, cancer and pike", well, or in the parable of the three blind men.

    - What a parable? - Stas knew, what magical effect renders on Sergey a request to tell something.

    - Three blind men felt the elephant from different sides, and each made its own conclusion. One felt the trunk, and said that it was a snake. The second felt his leg, and said that it was a pillar. The third felt his ear, and said that it was ... Here I do not remember what he said about the ear. But you understood the meaning - no one saw the elephant.

    - Yes, I understand. - Stas said with satisfaction. Another small victory of the Carnegie theories. - So, it turns out, none of them see the system as a whole?

    - Yes, he does not see. Storekeepers see shelves with pieces of iron, drag them back and forth. But they do not see the information system and the processes occurring in it. The accountant, or the operator, as he called it, sees the information system, but sits in a garret, without pieces of iron and shelves. The work of storekeepers, i.e. he sees physical movement of parts four times a day - in the morning, in the evening, and when he goes to lunch.

    - I think more often ... - Stas smiled. “The toilet is not in the closet ...

    ” The warehouse manager sees about the same thing as the storekeepers. - did not notice the joke of Stas Sergey.
    - Maybe a little more, because he knows about all their tasks. The chief accountant sees not only the inventory of goods, but also the accounting of costs, money, and the like. The outlook is wider, but from this and better, and worse. Better - because it understands the relationship of commodity and other types of accounting. Worse - because it does not happen in a closet, and in a warehouse - all the more.

    - Therefore, the chief accountant failed to put the warehouse in order? - asked Stas. - Because of too wide outlook?

    - Well, sort of. It works only with the trunk, or ear. He does not see the whole picture.

    - And who sees?

    - It's funny, but in this case, no one sees. The process is cross-functional - it involves people and divisions that do not obey each other. Roughly speaking, he has no head, or owner. Everyone knows only his site, and there are no binding elements, no feedbacks in it.

    - And the revision? She binds everyone. Storekeepers consider the details, the accountant goes with them and records the results.

    - Yes, this is the only point at which the data converge - actual and accounting. - Sergey paused for a few seconds, and began to bend his fingers on his hand. - We conduct audits once a quarter, i.e. four times a year. It means that we have accurate warehouse accounting four days a year. A day after the revision, the data again crawl away.

    - Why?

    - Here it is to find out. There are two options - either storekeepers perform movements and shipments without notifying the accountant, or the accountant performs operations in the system without telling storekeepers. Well, or elementary, errors.

    - Which mistakes? Typos or what?

    - It may well be. They will tell the storekeeper to move 200 springs, and he will be mistaken in manual counting, and will drag off 198, or 205. This, too, should not be ruled out.

    - Well, you just guess it, right? Maybe the meeting will help? Surely people know - and about the mistakes, and about the wrong count.

    - Yes, they know who argues something. - Sergey sighed. - Only I do not believe in the meeting. This is not the format in which people will speak the truth. Especially, if you gather all together. They know that the establishment of order in accounting has begun, which means they will look for the guilty. Therefore, it is necessary to make excuses, point out other people's mistakes, but be silent about your own, or, if you come up, protect them.

    - Do you think they will start to poke a finger at each other? - surprised asked Stas.

    - I do not know, depending on how the conversation goes. If they feel threatened, the charges will begin. If they do not feel it, then it may be worse - the collective responsibility will work, then you will not know anything at all.

    - And what, how to be? Interrogation with passion to conduct? Security service to attract?

    - No, why ... This will also be an interpretation, or a projection of a real system on a made-up situation that threatens a person. I do not need interpretations, opinions - especially, submitted tendentiously.

    - What? How to file? - squinted Stas.

    - Did not hear about the tendentious flow of information? - Sergey jumped on his horse again. - This is when you do not just give out the facts as they are, but set out with a specific purpose, to instill your assessment, to direct the thoughts of the interlocutor along a certain path.

    - Damn, how many clever words have come up with. - laughed Stas. - In the people it is called "ride over the ears," or "to hang noodles."

    - Yes, no matter how it is called in your proud people. - Sergey smiled.

    - Come on, joke again. I am of the same nationality as you, just born and raised in another country. - Stas pretended to lose his temper.

    “Okay, don't be crazy.” - Sergey said conciliatory, but, just in case, the topic did not develop. “We need facts about the system, not speculation or opinion.” On this and it is worth concentrating.

    - Meeting then we will not hold? - asked Stas.

    - No, I think not. For now at least. - Sergey said thoughtfully.

    The door to the office suddenly opened, and a smiling Kurchatov entered. His face shone with joyful excitement.

    - Sergey, Stas, welcome! - Kurchatov alternately shook the hand of each of the programmers. - Everything, settled with the administrative part. Petrova, it seems, was even happy about the role of the curator, today she will remake all the project documentation. You, Sergey, from now on officially - the project manager. Congratulations!

    Kurchatov shook hands with Sergey again, looking intently into his eyes. He held the handshake for a few seconds, as if trying to find or understand something in it.

    - Any thoughts, where to start? - letting go of Sergey's hand, asked Kurchatov. - All the organizational work will make Petrova, you can not worry about it. Check out the paper, gather people, if necessary. By the way, can you start with a meeting? To collect storekeepers, accountants, all involved in the warehouse, to listen to their opinion?

    - Hm, they just talked about it ... - Sergey began. - While there is no certainty that the meeting is necessary.

    - Come on, Sergei. - Kurchatov smiled and patted Sergei on the shoulder. - I understand that this kind of meeting is new to you, and you may even be afraid of them. This is completely normal! But you need to leave the comfort zone, you are the project manager!

    - Yes, I understand that. It is necessary, it is necessary - we will hold a meeting. - said Sergey, catching on himself a little mocking look of Stas. - Already in the new year, it turns out, today is the last working day.

    - That's great! - Kurchatov clapped his hands. - I’ll look in to Valentina, I’ll say that I make an appointment and invite people. That's all, I will not detain more!
    Kurchatov once again shook hands with Sergey and Stas.

    - Let's go home, today is a short day. - headed for the door, said Kurchatov. - It's time to go home to families, decorate the Christmas tree, hide gifts. I am deeply convinced that the New Year is a quiet, calm, family holiday. Well it is, by the way. Holiday greetings! And good luck! All of us.

    - And you with the coming! - almost simultaneously said Sergey and Stas. True, in different keys.

    “Hmm ...” Stas said thoughtfully, when the door behind Kurchatov slammed. - I feel happy we will have a year.

    - Hmm ... - Sergey could not resist, forging the intonation of Stas.

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