Thursday: Kicking My Heels
I checked out of my hotel at eight o'clock on Thursday morning and lugged laptop and suit carrier over to the principal Circle of Hell in London. We spent a couple of hours slicing and dicing server costs before we headed over to the client offices. The aim was to meet up and attempt to get clarity on the key information they needed that woudl allow them to make a decision on our proposal. It is fair to say that the meeting was close to a complete waste of time. The client CIO obviously isn't that familiar with IT outsourcing and needs to be hand held through the pricing. After demanding this he returned to his usual activity of moaning about the service we are providing. As we walked away from the meeting we analysed his comments and determined that he was creating merry hell about support at a site that is not covered by our contract. All he has to do is sign the relevant paperwork and we can give him what he wants. Fundamentally the guy is playing hardball with us but doesn't really have particularly good ammunition. The CSE and I have decided that from here on in we will be taking a much firmer approach with him as he is basically a lightweight, moaning bag of shite.
We headed back to the Circle of Hell, lunched and kicked our heels for a couple of hours before the remaining members of the Sales Team headed out for another session with the Client. I was not required and the CSE said that I may as well head back up to Worcestershire. This entailed a quick Tube ride across to Paddington where the Departures Boards carried ominous messages. The recent rains had caused flooding between Didcot and Oxford and there were a number of delays and cancellations. The advice was to take whatever train I could get to Oxford and then pick up a local train onwards to Evesham. I joined the rush for the next train and spent the next hour stood in the Buffet Car in a train filled beyond capacity. At Oxford it was a twenty minute wait and then again I joined the jostle and squeezed myself, along with several hundred other commuters, in to a three carriage "bus on rails". I was fortunate, found a seat and within an hour was being collected by 30% from the Station.
It was lovely to be home.
Friday: If I'm not careful this could get messy!
I had hoped that Friday would be a quiet day as I was supposed to be disengaging from this latest project due to budgetary constraints. However the CSE likes to have me around and insisted that I made myself available for the following week. He wasn't particularly clear on why I was needed and stuttered something about a possible client meeting ...
... sometimes I feel like a Security Blanket for the Sales Guys!
This morning there was a moment of clarity when it became apparent that they Sales Team and Account Senior Executive advised that they would like to re-work the entire server services solution and price by next Friday. I pointed out that there was no way on earth that this could be completed in time especially as I was on holiday for two days at the back end of next week. I gave them an outline of what I saw as achievable, challenging but achievable, and luckily got their agreement. As a result a significant chunk of my day was spent getting things lined up for a hectic few days next week.
The net result of this was that instead of having a slack day with plenty of time to potter I managed to squeeze in a walk around the Three Miler but spent the rest of the day in front of the lap top. It was gone six by the time I sealed the flap on the expenses claim envelope and put it ready for posting...
... an evening of vegetation followed.