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Sunday, August 31, 2014

On Teeth and Colds and Work

Jean Sexton muses:

In a small, closely knit company so many things affect the workflow. All it takes is a nudge and the schedule goes off-track, never to recover. All that can be done is to issue a new schedule.

For ADB, colds are our bane. So often we put on a huge push to get a product done, working 12-hour days with no day off. This type of schedule wears down the immune system, making us ripe to catch whatever is out there. Colds are easily transmitted from person to person before any real symptoms occur. They make focusing on anything complicated difficult. When Steve Cole gets a cold, all of his products are delayed by a week. What is worse is that we don't catch the cold simultaneously. This time, Steve got it. He gave it to Leanna. Leanna and/or Steve passed it on to me. Steve didn't do a lot of work needing my proofreading while he was sick. Now he is feeling better and his work needs checking; my brain is not sure if "P" comes before "M" at this point (unless I sing the alphabet song). The net result is the product is delayed two weeks, not one.

Another nudge to the schedule is when something outside the company goes wrong. When the prototype machine breaks, then there are no prototypes. No prototypes means no master molds. No master molds means no master minis to be approved. No approved master minis means no production of minis. No production of minis means no sales of those new minis. Say goodbye to the fall minis release schedule. The minis will come out, just not when we planned.

Smaller nudges happen, too. Wolf Dog Sexton was scheduled to have his baby teeth pulled by his veterinarian. (This happens when the baby teeth don't come out on their own.) Everyone in the office cares about The Wolf, so we remained on tenterhooks waiting to hear the results. I lost part of a day getting him from surgery (only partly alleviated by coming in early after dropping him off). Luckily it was a "cold day" when I couldn't focus as well.  The only saving grace is that it inspired this blog post.(Yes, Wolf is fine now and is his usual self, just minus a baby tooth and an adult tooth that came in wrong and would give him trouble.)

In a larger business, most of the time Person A can do enough of the essential part of Person B's job so that things don't get dreadfully behind. In a small business where part of what must be done is creative work, that doesn't happen as well. No one knows what is in Steve's mind to create. No one here seems able to handle the social media that I do daily. So some things just get "behinder."

So please forgive us if the fall schedule drops a bit behind our predictions. The cold plague took its toll on us.