Passing the Torch.

After just over a year at my current position I will now be moving onto greener pastures. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before but I’ve been working as a contractor for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, and that website is on part of the infrastructure I helped maintain. I’ve done a lot here over the past year and it was a great first contracting gig. The combination of a small yet extremely innovative environment let me accomplish things that I’d never saw myself doing before, and gave me a taste for the technical solution architect in me. On Wednesday I will be moving onto another contract at the Australian Trade Commission, working in a much larger environment with a completely different mindset. I’m very excited.

So the last month of my time here has had me finalising everything that I’ve done over the past year and it has been quite an interesting experience for me. Most of the organisations I’ve worked with prior to here haven’t had me solely responsible for a large section of their IT infrastructure and I realised that without a proper handover I’d be leaving these guys without a leg to stand on. It was good to note however that they loved my idea of spending the last week and a half handing everything over, and I’m sure they’ll be able to keep the whole show running whilst they get other staff trained.

This was probably one of the common challenges I’ve faced in small organisations. With such environments its very hard to get all the skills you need to ensure you’ve got full primary and secondary coverage on them. It usually ends up that if the person who knows a system is sick or incognito you’re pretty much up the proverbial creek without a paddle. In high turnover environments your even more likely to suffer from this and that’s when documentation and handover become critical, and it’s something that I noticed when I left my last position.

Whilst I wasn’t responsible for as much in my last position I was still a key player in a lot of projects. I had requested that I got the people in my team (the projects guys) for a couple days to do some detailed hand over. Instead I got about 3 hours on a Thursday afternoon, which was barely enough to cover everything that needed to be done. Needless to say I knew that something would go wrong and I was called by them no less than 3 times the week after I left and spent a good few hours explaining to them what was going on and why. They were lucky in that respect since I’ve tried that in the past and been told that they did not have the time nor inclination to speak with me. Harsh but completely understandable (from a professional point of view anyway).

So these last few days I have here will be spent making sure they’ve got everything they wanted to know out of me and giving my heart felt goodbyes to everyone. The CIO has said that I’ll always have a place here at AMSA and I must say, it’s the first time in a long while that I actually feel like coming back would be a good idea.

Maybe I’m just becoming soft in my “old” age :)

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