Story of my first successful project

Being part of a great team, I've shared in a lot of successes, one I am particularly proud of is my first attempt to use agile methodologies in a deeply waterfall-managment culture.

Time was June/July-ish and we applied for a national quality award where one key element in the application stated how well we handled customer complaint resolution.
While somewhat true (our customer service is the top-shelf good stuff), we did not have a systematic process in resolving customer complaints. Long story short,
the VP lied on her section of the application. Then came the 'emergency', borderline panic meeting (several VPs, managers, etc) to develop a process to better manage
complaints before the in-house inspection in December.
As most top priority projects go, the dev manager allocated 3 developers, 2 DBAs, and any/all network admins we would need (plus all the bureaucratic management that wanted their thumb in the pie).
Fast forward to August, after many, many planning meetings, lost interest, new shiny bouncing balls, I was the only one left on the project. The VP runs into the dev manager in the hallway and asks "Is my program done yet? If its not ready before December with report-able data, we will not win the award."
The <bleep> hit the fan...dev manager comes by...
Frank: "How the application coming along? Almost done?"
Me:"No, haven't really started coding. You moved Jake and Tom over to James's team, Tina quit, and you've had me sidetracked helping other teams because the DBAs are too busy."
Frank: "So, it's excuses. You really think the national quality award auditors care about your excuses? The specification design document has been done for months. This is unacceptable."
Me: "The VP finished up her section yesterday and according to the process, we can't start coding until the document is signed off."
Frank: "Holy f<bleep>ing sh<bleep>t! No one told you *you* couldn't start. You know how to create tables and write code."
Me: "There is no specification to write to. The design document is all about how they plan on reporting the data, not how call agents will be using the application to serve customers."
Frank: "The f<bleep> it isn't. F<bleep>ing monkeys could code against that specification, I helped write it! NO MORE F<bleep>ING EXCUSES! This is your top priority from now on!"

I was 'cleared' to work directly with the call center manager and the VP to develop a fully integrated customer complaint management system before December (by-passing any of the waterfall processes that would get in the way).

I had heard about this 'agile' stuff, attended a few conference tracks on the subject, read the manifesto, and thought "I could do this.".

Over the next month, I had my own 'sprints' and 'scrums' with the manager (at the time, 'agile' was a dirty word so I had to be careful of my words and what info I shared) and by the 2nd iteration had a working prototype.
Feature here, feature there (documenting the 'whys' and 'whats' along the way), and by October, had a full deployed application.

Not thinking I would get a parade or anything, the dev manager came back from a meeting where the VP was showing off the new app to the other VPs (and how she didn't really 'lie' on the application)

Frank: "Everyone is pleased how well the project turned out, except one thing. Erin said you bothered him too much with too many questions."
Me: "Bothered? Did he really say that?"
Frank: "No, not directly, but he said you would stop by his office every day to show him your progress and if he needed you to change anything. You shouldn't have done that."
Me: "Erin really seemed to like the continuous feedback. What we have now is very different than what we started with."
Frank: "Yes, probably because you kept bothering him and not following the specification document. That is why we spend so much time up front in design is so we don't waste management's time, which is exactly what you did."
Me: "We beat the deadline by two months, so I don't think I wasted anyone's time. In fact, this is kind of a big win for us, right?"
Frank: "Not really. There was breakdown in the process. We need better focus on the process, not in these one-hit-wonders."

End the end, the company won the award (mgmt team got to meet the vice president, yes the #2 guy). I know I played a very small, somewhat insignificant role in that victory, I was extremely proud to be part of the team.

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