I think, therefore I write. (我思,所以我写。)

Cogito ergo scribo

Monday, November 01, 2010

Work of perfection

I finally completed the entire technical specs on Friday night, or rather, around Saturday 3am. The completed document is 205 pages long, with sufficient details and clear logical flow that ensure any technical people who read it will understand how the programs work.

The pretty gal, after seeing my work, said it was really neat and she thanked me several times for doing it. I found it rather amusing, that she actually thanked me for something that our team gotta deliver. I mean, yes, it was a task i assigned to her and she didn't manage to complete it by the deadline and then went on long leave. Even though it was half-done, the quality wasn't too good and i practically re-wrote most part of it. Yet, it is something that got to be done no matter who did it. Since she was not around, then of course i gotta finish it up. So i don't see why she has to be so grateful about it.

After so many late nights and sleep deprivation, i'm actually quite happy with this piece of work. I hope it has also showed to the pretty gal that what kind of quality that i expect out of our delivery. Actually all of them know that i'm a perfectionist, and i'm especially particular about documents writing. Yet, all of them have fallen short of my expectation when it comes to documentation, for technical people normally do not write well and can get quite sloppy in document formatting and such. Hopefully i've demonstrated in action of what my expectation is and they can strive to meet it.

I remember there was once i asked the programmer who had left us to draw a flowchart. After he had done it, i had a look and then gave it back to him, and asked him to fix the formatting. The content was ok, but he didn't make the arrows that flowed from one box to another straight. And so i asked him, "Why are these arrows crooked? Can you please make them straight?"

There was another time when i read a document that a consultant wrote, and i saw that she liked to use the ampersand sign in text, didn't capitalise application names such as "Excel", and used American spelling in her writing. I corrected all these and then wrote an email to everyone and told them that in formal writing, ampersand sign should only be used in proper nouns (e.g. Fish & Co.) or short-forms (e.g. B&B) or special terms (e.g. cut & paste), application names must always be written in title case, and we should write in British English because we are an UK-based company.

Sometimes i really pity them to be working under a boss who is a perfectionist. I know some of them actually do not understand why i bother about such minute details, so long as the document is readable - and half the time, nobody really cares or even reads the document in detail. But to me, every detail counts. A lot of times, how you say something is as important as what you say, and hence presentation is important too besides the content.

And seriously, it was precisely because of how meticulous i am in formal writing that the CIO took notice of me after i just joined the company for a few months. He read a document that i wrote and said it was so far the best document from the departments in the entire group (i guess it was because we are all from the IT departments and all technical people around the world are the same when it comes to documentation). That piece of document was then adapted as a sample for everyone in the group.

Now, my point is not to brag about my work here; my point is that insisting on not settling for second best does have its merit. As i've mentioned before, if we aim for perfection in the things we do, then even if we fall short of what we strive for, we are still not too far away from being perfect.

Anyway, I will hand this document back to the pretty gal, as she is supposed to be the owner of it and always keeps it updated whenever we have any changes to the program. I will tell her that she gotta maintain the same standard and do not put all my hard work to waste by not keeping the same quality of work.

(By the way, bloggig and emails are NOT formal writing. That's why you won't see the same kind of perfect writing or formatting here or in my email.)


even if it's a team work you deserve CREDIT for the hard work - hey, you slept 4-5 hours for weeks because of this, and worked until hands trembled somemore. any sane person will be grateful too to people like you who strives for their team members. anyway, CONGRATULATIONS in delivering high quality work and your teammates should have belanja you when you were in kl. how i wish i have a boss like you to work with and emulate - humble, smart, hardworking and work with best effort :). your big boss and big big boss should be better to appreciate you more :).

work under a perfectionist boss might be tormenting, but work under a boss who not only demanding but also inept and refrain of getting hands dirt is far far worse. surely you must have experienced that too. your colleagues are very fortunate indeed - they have someone to look up to technically; they have someone who is good in writing where they are totally lacked of and who they can learn from and patch up; they have someone who has spirit and passion to deliver high standard quality work, which is a great learning experience channel. gee, i flatter too much already. maybe, your team should put themselves as readers when they were writing the report. how would it feel when they read a sloppy report, or report that difficult to understand and with strange format. at least you strive with them, not the type of boss who just ordering around like deliberately making their lives difficult, and i hope your team members do appreciate this. you mentioned before work will be enjoyable and interesting when there's passion. if you have team members that do not have communication barrier and willing to share and learn and help to improve with each other, and have this "no one is gonna left behind", it's enjoyable too. though i'm not really 100% his fan, MM LKY did quote before in one interview that aim the best and even if it fails, it would be not far from target. don't tell you copied the wisdom from him, but with your calibre i'm sure you came up the thought on your own after many years of experience, haha. brilliant!

ah, next week will be a long weekend. give yourself great enjoyable time in this coming weekend after all the hard work. i guess you're already a HERO in the eyes of your team members and hero also needs to rest and her own private time too :) cheers.

Pin, what the one above-mentioned is absolutely correct.
People are more willingly to work for
1) boss who work "together" with them
2) boss who they are able to seek guidance to
3) boss who appreciate their hard work (eg. give them a pat on shoulder :p)
To me, you r a GREAT boss to them.
They must be so happy to have such a capable boss, and they must have hoping that one day they can do what u'd done too.
Jia You. You r the best.

Luckily you are not me boss. My England sucks and all my email is one liner and don't ask me to do documentation. Just accept that most of the technical people is not good in writing. People with good writing skill wouldn't be a technical person!

Thanks for the over-compliments. I'm not really that good as a boss; it's just that everyone is good in different areas. For instance, I'm not that technically strong in technology.

Oh, I swear i wasn't aware that LKY had said something along the same line. I guess it's just an attitude towards life.

I know and do accept that technical people aren't good in writing, but for application consultants, I'd have a different expectation. As for technical consultants, I'd hope to at least see grammatically correct sentences and a straight line being drawn straight!


i guess your hair grow back long, and become pretty gal again :). cheers.

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Friday, October 29, 2010 @ 4:30 am: A Malay song
Friday, October 29, 2010 @ 4:17 am: Random updates and thoughts
Monday, October 25, 2010 @ 1:15 pm: At Senai Airport
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 6:54 am: Still undone
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:05 am: Going to bed early
Thursday, October 21, 2010 @ 4:34 am: Late night again
Wednesday, October 20, 2010 @ 3:59 am: Another hectic week
Monday, October 18, 2010 @ 4:47 am: Late but made it
Saturday, October 16, 2010 @ 11:15 am: Unfinished
Friday, October 15, 2010 @ 2:09 am: Before and after