The morning started off with an innocent enough e-mail from our specifications writer (Spec Guy) to one of the Interior Design team members (I-Lady); and he copied the Project Manager (PM). Spec Guy wanted to know whether I-Lady had edited the Interiors spec sections for Project A yet.
Project A is a nasty, mostly-CMU, industrial-type area, with some temporary offices that will have the same finishes as the much bigger subsequent phase, Project B. I-Lady replied that they haven’t done anything for Project A, because she didn’t think there were any finishes for Project A. No problem. The project is, after all, just building maintenance workshops.
Cue PM’s Snarky E-mail #1: (I will leave his bad grammar in, just to add to the effect)
"Even a shop will have to have a coat of paint. There is an elevator package to select, corner guards to install, ceilings to paint and /or hang, etc. In other words a lot to interior wise.
All due tomorrow!"
There are a few things awry about his statements:
The elevator package isn’t something Interiors cares about; Architectural will select it.
There is only one type of corner guard- stainless steel- which Interiors doesn’t need to select.
There are no hard ceilings to paint. Most of the spaces don’t even have ceilings, period. The one area that has ceiling tiles will get…the same ceiling tiles as Project B.
The two Interiors people working on this job are both out of the office, at the project site, working on Project B- which, again, is the big, honking, moneymaking part of our work for this client. They haven’t spent a lot of time on this P.O.S. part of the overall project, and I don’t blame them. It would have been an unnecessary waste of their time.
There is no reason for Interiors’ specification sections to be “all due tomorrow!” We’re not printing until Friday; that printing is for an in-house quality control review, and nobody’s going to sit down and read the specs for that! The job doesn’t issue until the 9th! “All due tomorrow?!?” What in the hell for?!?
There is a part of the overall project that needs to happen before anything else can happen- a utility move. PM is under the delusion that the team has been drawing the utility move as a separate drawing package. Wrong. The team has been told, throughout the history of the job, that the utility move would be part of Project B. Project B is due out on November 1st.
Two days ago, PM dropped a bomb that the “utility move drawing set” would go out on the 16th. In order to “give the client the option to do it sooner.” This information came to us, via PM, from the Client Liason.
The Project Architect (PA) is out on a well-deserved vacation this week, but has been following this train wreck via e-mail. I’ll let her words speak for me on this one:
"What is the deal with a separate signed and sealed package for the utility move - for the owner to have the "option"?? Yes, there are items the owner must handle, such as the contract with the utility supplier, but we have Structural, Civil, Architectural, Plumbing and Electrical items to incorporate to complete a separate utility move package - including specs. It cannot be in its own package, and if it does require an entire separate package - the team is NOT going to make the November 1st Project B deadline. We have to pull the drawings out of Project B, change keyplans, demolition, civil, etc., and set up all these things again for the utility move. This has to stop. Whose idea was this???? The team members are being given different directions. We need time to work and coordinate on Package B. This is a big and complicated project and we have had our fair share of client/team screw-ups and inconsistencies. Why can't you guys [meaning PM and Client Liason] help us?"
Valid points, all. I choose to interpret “help us” as, “get your heads out of your asses and quit making promises the team can’t keep!”
PM’s reply is below. Let me break it down for you. Also keep in mind, this is a person who doesn’t use AutoCAD. He has no idea. None. He thinks we CAD Monkeys can just wave a magic wand and the drawings will be miraculously separated, like so many sheets of paper.
"Calm down [PA]." Condescending, much?
"We are putting the utility move in Project B. But the owner in the past has asked for it to be separated (it was originally part of Project A)." [And several parts of Project B were once part of Project A, and that was another two-day nightmare we undertook at the owner’s request.]
"If we can finish that part then it is done, and Client Liason can look the owner in the eyes and say we are ready." [At the risk of screwing up the bigger part of the project.]
It just keeps getting better...
"You are not working on this portion any way right now and if I can figure out a way to get it done and why would it matter." [Possibly because you haven't figured out a way to get it done, fucktard? Just declaring “it will be done,” when the team is otherwise fully committed, doesn’t work!!]
"Why can't the drawings stay in Project B and the contractor use the specifications and drawings as they are." [Because Project B isn’t going out until November, asshat, and you want the utility move on September 16th. Math! Space-time continuum! Common-fucking- sense!!!]
The rest of the team has begun jokingly referring to me as the Project Manager. I’ve definitely been registering the stress levels of a PM. However, since I haven’t got the title, experience, or the paycheck of a Project Manager, I don’t want to act like one.
Not even if the job description reads, “sit at desk all day, compose snarky e-mails to team, write smartass redline comments, take two-hour lunches, and make unrealistic promises to client.”