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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Would you like it gift wrapped, too?

Power company tale here.  Several months ago we got a request from our GIS department.  Seems that at the time of transition from AutoCAD feeder drawings to GIS drawings over ten years ago, a lot of data was not transferred properly.

Now that we're implementing a new asset-tracking platform, the missing data that has been known about for many years is now a problem.  No one really got after it before, because over time we get out to places and did an upgrade here, replacement there, added something on, and each time that happened a tiny little bit is filled in.  In theory I guess this means eventually you'll catch up, but eventually is now too long to wait.

Our project request was to identify in GIS every location where we had a padmount transformer installed with no asset data tied to it, and then send a serviceman out to that unit and record the necessary data.

We're talking somewhere along the lines of 2,000 units.  For realio.

So I've been working on this for months.  Identifying the units, assigning work orders, and collecting their data and funneling it back to the GIS group.  We use these jobs as filler when nothing else is going on, and a little fill is nice when you're bored, but doing 10 or 15 per shift per person on slow days gets old real fast for my guys.

Serviceman Pete is one of my most tenacious guys, but not in the usual sense.  He is tenacious about his time being used efficiently and effectively.  And this job was really bothering him.  He complained, and I told him we had our orders and it was our job to fulfill it.  He had some ideas he wanted to chase down, and I won't stand in the way of my guys, let alone get steamrolled by Pete on a mission.

Pete researched old database records and asked around, lo and behold he located a positively elderly but still functional database that had a great number of these lost units in it, and told the GIS leader about it.  Put two and two together, and most of the missing data was now recoverable with some GIS department desk time matching records up and making updates.

So I get to work today and get an email from the GIS leader with this data in it, explaining that it should help in our search for info, and we can use our established communication chain through the GIS system to get the data back to him.

(screeching, scratch across a vinyl record, full-stop sound effect.)

So, you mean to tell me that you had this data all along?

And, pray tell, why are you sending me the data, that you asked us to get for you?

Would you like me to put a pretty red bow on it and give it back to you, saying "here's the data you asked us to get for you"?

How about this: You keep your data, clean up your records to the best of your ability, and then come talk to us when you've exhausted your resources and actually need help filling in the gaps.

Honestly.  This happened.

Thank the good Lord for great employees like Pete who find solutions, and that I don't have the GIS guy anywhere in my management tree.

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