Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Eight Days to Go

For the past year we've been moving towards the official audit steadily and meticulously. In the case of Government approval for information systems, we've been aiming at a moving target the whole time. Settings change in the official requirement and new updates are released with a frequency that rivals Stephen King novels.
On May 6th, the auditors are due to finally arrive.
At that point, we are unable to change anything. Our days are spent assisting with the scanning and answering extensive interrogations about processes and the work of our team.
Once they give us the results of the scan, we get to fix everything on it. Immediately and frantically. And then there is another scan and more interrogations about the stuff which showed up on the first scan, how our processes failed and which team member is responsible.
Each finding represents a line item on an Excel spreadsheet. To give you an indication of the volume, last year Excel could not display everything they found wrong. There was an actual email circulating about how things were going to be better this year, not because we were in better shape -- Just because Excel 2007 can display more data than 2003 could.
All this goes into a massive file somewhere along with pre- and post- on-site remediation efforts.
During this process, we can't leave. Food (or food-like substances) gets brought in and we remain at our desks, enduring the questioning and frantically fixing every single stupid thing.
To prepare, we've been doing our own scanning. All eyes are on us, the new group, with the full expectation that we will botch this as fully and awfully as everyone else always does.
As of this morning, our total number of unique findings is 22.
I'm pretty sure even Excel 2003 can manage that one.
My concern at this point is that if we aren't up here fixing stuff for four straight days with no break, how can I pad my hours to make up for it?
I'm sure I'll find a way.
One doesn't remain a consultant for this long without picking up an ability to bill creatively.
And mercilessly.

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