Months before Elara adopted it company-wide, I was developing a pilot program in Jira that I planned to present to the team (with the hope that they would be interested and offer ideas to make it better).
To properly demonstrate it and be prepared to field questions, I needed to learn the tool first — most of which was done on my own time. I had some ideas in mind, and with customizable software like that — I could implement those and come up with new ones as needed.
I figured 4-5 weeks of tooling around with real-world tasks would do, so I bought a subscription and put my plan into action.
All that passion and effort put into improving my task-tracking skills and timeliness for our customers (with the hope that the team would follow suit for a superior version that multiple minds could create).
If that’s not acting in the best interests of Elara, what is?
Integrating JIRA with OneNote was key to my vision
Sticking to the plan, I kept quiet for a few weeks — and in that time I learned a great deal (and had a lot of back and forth with Jira support). Essential to what I had in mind was to document the baseline info in Jira — and more in-depth information would go into OneNote.
But I wanted a URL field to open right into Office OneNote — and it can’t be done.
Not directly, anyway.
I circumvented the problem — with a little somethin’ thing I like to call
If you’re designing a system, it should work like one
Jira’s custom URL field won’t recognize the Office switch embedded in the OneNote link. I had a field for the online version as well — and it wasn’t the end of the world if I had to navigate there and then go to Office. But my mind was still ticking to see what I might be missing.
I could paste a mile-long link into freeform textboxes — but “messy” is not an option.
There had to be way
If you were to ask the best Jira experts in the world how to navigate directly to Office OneNote from Jira, probably 99.99% of them would tell you that custom-URL field doesn’t allow for what I wanted — so they’d leave it at that. You have to factor for desire here — how “necessity is the mother of invention” drives your imagination.
So I’m not suggesting that I’m smarter than any of those people — and I’m damn sure not saying I’m smarter than Mike.
He had moments — even of greatness
No amount of my elegant code could solve a key problem I was having on dealing with with some date-range requirements unlike any I had ever seen. I asked for his help and I was amazed by what he did. It was such a “simple” thing in the way of logic (so we’re not talking complex code here).
On pure logic, compared to Mike — I have no chance.
On this story — he doesn’t
I found a way — and ironically, I came up with it while explaining the problem to Jira support. You can’t put a price on those moments — where part of you is glad that you didn’t have what you wanted from the start.
I’ve had many moments like that.
My URL solution wasn’t ideal — but it got me what I wanted, and that’ll do.
This might sound like a lot of hassle for something seemingly small, but I’m of Daryl Dixon’s mindset on The Walking Dead:
If you’re gonna do a thing, you might as well do it right
And besides, I thrive on obstacles. I love to be curious on a quest for what’s possible. If I don’t end up with what I had in mind, at least I know that I explored every angle. And overcoming hurdles and mistakes sometimes leads to something far better than what you imagined.
When your willingness to wonder becomes habit, you’re on the road to a lifetime of discovery.
In solving that problem, now I could take the best aspects of one tool and bond it with the best of another — building a solution for fluidity. I owed my customers better — and once this program was rockin’ and rollin’, they were gonna get it.
Happy Days Are Here Again . . .
Until Mike Did What Mike Does . . .
One day he mentioned some new documentation he put into OneNote. His work was exceptional on that — ranking with the best I’ve ever seen. And to my knowledge — he’s the only one on the team who really followed through on my suggestions about using OneNote in this way.
Gotta give credit where credit is due — and he delivered on that.
In the original story that starts with Letter of the Law, there are other examples of Mike’s exceptionable abilities. The ugly side of him does not change the beauty and brilliance he brings to the table. I immeasurably benefitted from working with him — and I’d much rather be writing about that.
There’s a lot to like about the guy — and a lot not to.
I was excited about what he had to show me — and in that moment, I let my guard down. I wasn’t really ready to share my Jira plans yet, but at the same time — I just felt like maybe it was a bonding opportunity, and that I should feel free to openly share my ideas with my manager.
Like I said – I let my guard down
In the blink of an eye, he hijacked that “conversation” on Jira — driving it to DevOps (claiming that he’d been giving this some thought). So lemme get this straight — ya went with Planner because it was “quick and easy” (never mind the efficacy of it), and now you’ve got grand plans?
And off he goes to enlighten me with [fill in your fancy jargon].
It’s bad enough that his actions were devoid of professional courtesy, but when I asked if DevOps had a custom URL field available, he was racing off to prove that it did. It was pathetic to watch him fumble about in desperation — only to end up with a “URL” field that was text, and then have the bottomless nerve to falsely equate these programs by saying,
They all do the same thing
You people had me confused with somebody else. Not even in my choice of vanilla ice cream would I be so generic.
After I put some serious time and effort into designing my system and solving that URL problem — this [$#%^^>)* _ #!*&%-@+$] comes sailing in on his submarine-sized ego, runs Scot-Free aground, and still manages to sit there soaking up the sun in all his glory.
I was appalled by both the consistency of his conceit and the hollowness of his conclusions. Considering his sky-high intellect, advanced skills, and breadth of experience — to be so easily satisfied with such shoddiness, takes a stupefying feat of psychological gymnastics.
Hell-bent on being right (as usual) — he doesn’t have the guts to just suck it up and say, “Well, maybe they’re not the same after all” . . .
Or anything to suggest that maybe we should think this through some more . . .
Excerpt from Just Wondering and his reply that follows (emphasis added):
Considering the seriousness of concerns in my email — if you can’t sense anything out of such fluffy language as “just wondering,” I don’t know what to tell ya.
I don’t completely understand the rationale behind your philosophy on this.
TRANSLATION: Your approach doesn’t make much sense and is causing serious problems on multiple fronts. But I’ve gotta tiptoe around that with this powder-puff language so that you’ll consider what I have to say . . .
And even then — you won’t!
I have some thoughts to share about our JIRA/DevOps discussion — and I’d like the opportunity to craft my concerns by email first, and then talk it over if need be.
And right on cue, rather than muster up some courage to reflect on his flawed philosophy — or pause for a single second to reconsider his half-assed efforts on task tracking:
Mike did what Mike does:
Deflect and decide while declaring victory in his vacuum of certitude . . .
Where I’m struggling?
Gee, I don’t know — maybe it’s the thought of working 7 days a week day and night all summer long, and still not being able come through for HR on Turnover in Tableau.
I just had this revolutionary idea that my colleagues and I could work in parallel on the same project — combining our expertise to provide the best product in a timely fashion.
I should be on a mountaintop in Tibet with such wisdom.
But not in Mike’s parallel universe — as he wanted to take the entire the project off my plate, so he could plug these “full-stack developers” into his fantasyland formula — where we all run the gamut regardless of qualifications.
These guys excel in exactly what they were hired to do — and it’s in no way a criticism of them that they are not qualified to do the backend work on that project (nor was I qualified in their area of expertise).
I know this for a fact because I interviewed both of ’em — and I highly supported bringing them on for what Elara wanted them for.
In Mike’s infinite faith in this first thoughts, he would solve one constraint and create an even bigger one. The knowledge transfer alone would eat up the time that I could have just applied to doing Tableau (though nowhere nearly as good as they could). And no amount of KT can make up for the knowledge and experience that they don’t have.
All I care about is that my customers get what they need — so I asked for some help to make that happen. But in light of his refusal to do the most sensible thing imaginable — I retracted my request.
Mysteriously, out of nowhere two months later — Mike did exactly what I recommended in that email above. And lo and behold . . .
Book me a first-class ticket to Tibet
It was as smooth as can be — and had he done this back in July, I’d still be there (as it would have been enough to change the trajectory of our path). Top brass on Turnover likely inspired the switch on resources — but I don’t care how it happened, I was just glad that it did.
What I find so fascinating is how he never acknowledged how well it was working out — even if only to say, “Ya know, maybe I should have considered this sooner.”
That’s not about credit — it’s about the importance of openly acknowledging mistakes.
There are multiple examples throughout this site of me broadcasting my blunders over the years. With a lifetime of practice, it’s second nature to me: Elephant in the Room Award.
He let me proceed with my Jira program and I greatly appreciated that. What’s at issue is his unilateral decision on DevOps (blocking me from even presenting my proposal to the team).
I never saw anyone in our crew being treated like that.
And I can say with absolute certainty — that no one on that team would choose DevOps over Jira.
Ironically, through circumstances unrelated to me — Elara ended up going with Jira anyway. Naturally, he manipulated that too — flat-out lying to the team by telling them that he was open to Jira or DevOps all along.
With no input from the team and denying me the opportunity to present my pilot — it’s impossible to reconcile “I’m open to either one” with “we’re going with DevOps.”
This was as unilateral as it gets
And just when you think it can’t get any worse, think again.