Analysis of failure(s) to meet deadlines

Mandate: Read logs and analyse failures to meet deadlines… since the beginning of (my) time in chan :`( – 1and Diana Coman will not talk to me untill this is finished, (which is actually a lot worse.2). The mandate is also to curse the stupidity that I have been feeding.

There have been 10 weeks of tasks and reviews till date. Each Sunday (starting July 28th, which was actually week 2) is the deadline to post a review of the previous week’s tasks and the planned tasks for the next week. In addition to these, there have been less than a handful of other deadlines.

  • R# : Review Week #
  • P# : Plan Week #
S.no Week#/ Task/ Aspect Diana’s reminder/comment My response
1 R3, R4 + P5 link1 , link2 link + outburst
2 to ‘do tmsr’ 24/7 link link
3 New & Shiny link
4 P8 (Sep 3rd) link link , link
  1. S.no 1: There was a conflict of interest that was growing at that point. I thought I could manage it with some good planning, but had started realising I could not sink into the subject as much I wanted. To be concise: after a year+ of doing salt-mine + data science learning – I was still far away from what I deemed to be a good level of knowledge/skills in that field, and now I was adding TMSR to the mix. I wanted to do what was agreed on, but, also had my own half-baked plans of cracking a data science job. fwiw: everything I had was painstakingly filtered from the dirty bottom of the funnel, but none of the above was properly communicated at that point. I was just about sinking my fingers into ML and able to wriggle. I did not want to explain, because it is significantly more difficult to truly explain without being completely honest, and being painfully detailed. I was still vacillating about my career path. I couldn’t understand much about tmsr. MP seemed an eccentric, fuck-you-all, weird borderline insane man(?) who openly ‘associated’ with people he called ‘sluts’, and appeared to be the leader. My initial impressions inspired more doubt than trust, but on the other hand of the uncomfortable ‘feelings’ – it was explicitly clear that the conversations in were sensible and piercing. fwiw: I was also apprehensive by then, that being honest/vocal about my self/plans or questions would end up with Diana saying I was of no use to her (or anybody) and/or to fuck off, and to put it simply – I did not want to fuck off.
    1. Despite the above, the fundamental mistake here was poor/non-existent communication. Or perhaps, communication in ‘jumps’, distorting and poorly representing the thought process. The initially flimsy response was actually a mask of an anger towards lobbes (and perhaps a little towards Diana’s probing) – who I had never interacted with before and whose opinion I did not want to respect, noob or not. The anger was later expressed in the outburst. It was unnecessary. With or without trust – I should still have been upfront about my confusion, and asked for help in finding the best way out instead of struggling till week 8.
    2. fwiw: subsequent to week 8 – I started making increased efforts to capture and convey the thoughts running in my head. This was about the time I also started trying to stop thinking defensively, and to assess whether I had actually conveyed everything I wanted to, and whether Diana’s response indicated a hole (or mistake). A line of thought that doesn’t make it to screen can change the meaning of the message entirely, however, it is significantly worse when Nothing makes it to the screen. Defensive thinking has a time and place and nobody in is out to target me personally, but rather focus only on the things I do say.
  2. S.no 2: I have usually not explicitly planned/thought that the review + writeup are part of the work. Especially, if the nature of the task has no ‘clear end’, or I am not reasonably satisfied – there is a tendency to continue working and refining till exhaustion. fwiw: there have been times, particularly in week 5 and 6 where I correctly included Review + writeup as a part of the deadline, but I have not been consistent in treating it as a part of the work.
    1. Despite the super-sharp-stick – though the message did get across – fwiw : the issue was of poor time management + communication + endless optimisation. I did have the updated article for S.no 2 ready on my computer, but was still busy tying together the loose ends to finish the review, that I essentially ended up with nothing published at all, and with no communication, and too tired to do any more.
    2. Probably worth adding that I lost time in exploring whether I could use an API to gather job descriptions for the tasks and whether that could be worth a mini-project by itself to add to the portfolio. I also started typing the question on [2019-09-14 Sat] Saturday in and finally abandoned it because it was simply a lot faster to gather the descriptions using the semi-automated snippets I use to capture web pages in text and the project seemed unworthy of time. I also lost time in trying to optimise how the job search document would render in HTML to make it easier for the reader, and also organise my information more effectively than usual Org files. fwiw I believe I’ve found a decent answer, and will be implementing it, which is what I meant regarding having taken steps to reduce the time involved in publishing. In addition to all of this – I lost another major chunk of time due to an unexpected ‘social call’ on [2019-09-15 Sun], that I had been studiously avoiding over months. This was one of the social ‘marijuana’ outings – which had an obvious cost, especially since I’ve quit since a month+ atleast. fwiw: I kept it absolutely minimal and got back to work. It was done only to keep alive a local relationship/friendship that seemed valuable (human, quite old, experienced, possible job connections), and I thought I had refused meeting a few times too many. I will also admit to a minor allure to get stoned – but could clearly discern even then that this is no longer attractive to me3.
  3. S.no 3: This is not a deadline. It is added as a reminder that I seem inclined to do exactly the opposite of her advice4. The advice was simple, stated a long time ago – make a list of new and shiny, with reasons and even propose a plan that could be discussed and sensibly refined. Be that as it may that I had identified a generic set of skills I needed to crack data science – I did not take the effort to communicate/clearly draft the thought process clearly, other than simply saying that I wanted to ‘crack data science’ or plunging into whatever ‘learn docker’, ‘Use API for gathering job descriptions’ etc.
    1. The mistake is not truly utilising the knowledge gained in filtering crap to reach (near) the top of the funnel, and failing to accept that even the top of that funnel is filled with plenty of useless crap. In the process, I have also corrupted myself by trying to unsuccessfully ‘quickly-master’ everything shiny and not giving things the weight x time they correctly deserve. I sensed this, but did nothing to explore it and stop myself. i.e At some point – I started becoming too much of a blind rat in the rat-race, surfacing now and then to touch the human in me, but sinking down too soon for any impact.
  4. S.no 4: To some extent, I was better in terms of communication here wherein, I acknowledged that I might not do well in the tasks due to a crisis @ salt-mine. However, I was still late by a day in publishing the task list. The problem here was as described in 2.1, an endless-iteration to the best, and also discussed to some extent in chan. fwiw: a lot of the salt-mine ppt was made somewhat obsolete by the progress in the preceding few days. I had planned to not convey the updates, and then while churning through everything suddenly realised on the 2nd last day that it was not impossible to consider my job was on the line, or actually even worse – I would lose the freedom of choosing my own project or possibly be relegated to the shop floor by heathen thinking, which essentially meant no computer access for 8-10+ hours and of course incredible boredom for most of the productive day.
    1. It was around this point that I realised – balancing TMSR/job search/Mine and in particular, a ‘switch in job field’ would entail a lot more effort than a usual shift in similar mine. It was still late, but I realised I could not hope for a solution without communicating.
    2. However, it still stands that I delayed the communication of my thought process, taking the burden of the decision solely on myself. It still stands that despite some minor discussions in chan before the deadline, the actual discussions started only after the deadline to submit tasks for Week 8. I believe it was only somewhere around that point when I completely submitted and started opening myself.
    3. As I read the logs now, even with trying to discard the bias of hindsight – I see there was plenty of consistent evidence – which if I had truly understood and believed: the above could have taken place faster. I guess I did not truly believe that TMSR is different. Perhaps, even today – my belief is particularly revolving around Diana and Stan, and not TMSR as a whole. I’m not sure that is stupid, but I’ve seen plenty of evidence via logs/blog posts that MP is not ‘insane’.
  5. In general: I admit that in the beginning, and for awhile – I did not take the deadlines seriously, and I presumed Diana would not either, despite her gentle prodding and reminders, which I still did not take seriously i.e I thought all that matters is to make a task list and review it each week, and that it is not absolutely necessary to finish by Sunday. After all – there was a life outside IRC, a ‘real life’, which was far more important, by the simple attribute of being real5. fwiw: there was a superficial desire to be in time and stick to my word, but I thought I had other things that were higher priority. In short, I treated different from ‘work’, as in, there was no true need to commit or adhere to my words.
    1. The mistake here was in thinking anything useful could come off a ‘loose’ structure with no deadlines or commitments. This is not a github-look-alike wherein people generally do what they like, when they want with no repercussion. This is serious business, coupled with the focus on becoming the best I can be, which by itself is a serious business (especially if I want to improve before I die). I should have paid heed to Diana’s reminders and should not have superimposed little modifications to support lack of discipline or poor planning / thinking / communication and self-defined notions of what matters. ‘Okay if a day late but extra well done’ – is Not the goal and definitely cannot be taken as a repeated modus operandi. Evolving to consistently keep a commitment starts with a strict practice like this. I know this, and I’ve even followed this in my work, but I have not followed it here, and that is my stupidity.
    2. For eg even yesterday ([2019-09-15 Sun]), though I was at the end of the day and my productive thinking ability – I still thought it ‘does not really matter’ if I am half a day late 6. On review – this begs the question – if true why should it matter at all then? Why not post next month/year and say – I was caught up? i.e This is non-sense. As established above, it matters. Perhaps my quest in is all that matters to me today, and if I could survive on air, heal without medicine, live without a roof over my head and my computer did not run on electric power – I wouldn’t bother about much else anymore.

Some conclusions / personal mandates

  • The guidelines are clearly stated, and I cannot afford to ignore them and profess loyalty / vulnerability etc to Diana as my mentor.
  • Deadlines matter. The Review + Plan are a Part of the work for the deadline.
  • At the merest doubt of not being able to make a deadline, I must speak up instead of winging it and hoping I will still finish ‘most or with some luck, all of it’ by 11:59PM Sunday. This is simply not sustainable nor is it sensible.
  • Communication at the right time is critical and should not be postponed on the basis of improvised plans built on sand and ultimately unsustainable. Communicating a problem a day before a deadline helps nobody, especially me.

Footnotes:

1

Side note: In case anybody is reading this down the line, and are taking their first few steps – I strongly suggest that you record (preferably with log link :O) each time you say something and don’t do it, especially if you are the type who has no one else to talk to. Atleast then you have such a list ready fwiw (and can promptly proceed…….. to further penance :S).

2

Okay that’s not exactly what she said, but I guess I’m not entirely wrong either.

3

I guess that is progress, possibly better than it has ever been – but time will tell.

4

fwiw: Not so much anymore. It was also initally fueled by a pronounced split of focus, i.e TMSR/getting out of current mine.

5

I know now – it is real, as in it exists – but I won’t find what I need in there. My real education is at TMSR.

6

fwiw: last night, I was just about to write that I am delayed when I also thought if I was Diana, I’d probably make me list each time I’ve missed, which happened… though I hoped it would not, which distracted me from typing what I was going to.

One response on “Analysis of failure(s) to meet deadlines”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *