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(no subject)
2012
unknownj
I suppose it's been a while, but I've been busy.

It looks like the project I'm on is being re-scoped. The single-purpose database that I built for recording staff shift-change requests has gone down so well it seems that they want it expanded to be an all-singing, all-dancing, master database that will store all the resourcing information for the whole of telephony (currently about 600ish people).

To be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about that. It's an awful lot of responsibility. My concern mostly comes from the fact that although I'm a lot better at making databases than I was, I'm still not formally trained in it, and so I always worry that there are gaps in my understanding. I would feel far more confident if I was able to be sure up-front that Gareth and Simon could come onboard with it, and help me in providing ongoing support.

Still, it would be quite the feather in the cap.. If done properly, it would theoretically be the sort of thing that could propel me into another job, should that be a direction I want to go in.

My main worry though is that I keep saying that.. I was originally tasked with making two databases, which would make possible a lot of the work currently being undertaken in the call centre to improve productivity. The first of those goes live tomorrow - today was final testing, and tonight I ran a dummy print run to make sure it was all working. As of tomorrow, it should start spitting out letters to staff, as per its function. The second database is the one that's being re-scoped. They want it complete by early January (which is a little sooner than I had been planning for, but isn't a problem), and then want me to build on it. I've been saying all along that being a part of this project will help my career prospects, but only if I complete all those tasks assigned to me. The problem is, I keep picking up more tasks.


But call centre project work aside, I'm also involved in another project. I'm building the backend which is intended to assist the workstreams currently looking at our Investors In People accreditation. Basically, it's an Access database, with input forms and all, which then has to produce a report. But can Access manage that? Can it bollocks!

Turns out, in addition to Access 97 having rather unattractive difficult-to-format reports, even when you get the reports right the only way to send them out to people is to export them, thus losing all the formatting.

The report has to be circulated to the senior management team within our business unit. Normally, reports at that level are beautifully crafted in Excel, then into Powerpoint, with all sorts of neat formatting. It is insufficient to say "well here's an RTF export from a database". So I've had to start from scratch, and build my own "Export to Report" function into Access. It runs through the various recordsets, and generates a nice HTML file (complete with handy CSS and Javascript) with the entire report in it, for sending out to people. It's not the most beautiful thing in the world, but I'm hoping the interactivity of it makes up for some of that.

Still, it means that in future, I'll have enough knowledge to build custom web reports from Access databases, which is a valuable skill (and might be relevant for the projects I'm involved with in the call centre).


So yes, two fairly high profile projects, each one starting off with limited involvement (two simple databases and a spreadsheet) and slowly evolving into a massive time and energy commitment (simple database, ultra-hard database, spreadsheet, another database, reports package).

Still, I'm thriving on the challenge, everything I do is teaching me new skills, and if I come out of it looking a little better, that's great.

Just have to hope that as expectations rise, so does my performance...

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