The Load

I’ve been in what’s affectionately called a “war room” since Monday.  It’s a permanent conference call to monitor and address issues.  If you’ve never done one, then I hope it stays that way.

My part to play in this is the technical aspect, enabling contact points to a service line.  Also, ensuring that service line has the tools in place to connect. I am simplifying it at the higher level.  In more practical terms it means shipping thousands of devices to people’s homes (since that’s where they work from now), ensuring they all have the right features  and configurations, and that the “pathways” to connect function under load.  I don’t manage how many people, or what those people do.  Thankfully.

On Monday, my part saw 7 million people try to consume the service.  Based on standard volumes, that’s a near 5000% increase.  If my normal day was a bathtub, Monday was 5 Olympic swimming pools.  A few red lights went off and we were able to sort them out with some very smart people around the line.  The good news is that at the technical level, the system generally worked as expected.  The bad news is that there were wayyyyy more people calling than people able to take calls.  The next good news bit is that my clients had enabled other options than a phone line, and those services worked as expected.

It’s been 3 weeks of crazy days to prep for this, and it’s great to see that part work.  It’s an astounding amount of work in a short period of time, and I’m quite aware that this has taken a major toll on people’s health.  I know I’ve been having trouble just putting sentences together.  But that is a minor hiccup compared to what the people calling in need to deal with.  It’s been motivating to know that the end result is going to help millions of people in a time of crisis, more than enough to have people push well beyond what they thought they could do.

After having done this 3 times now in the past 8 years, I’m starting to wonder if I’m just a glutton for punishment, or a bad luck charm.  Few people ever see 1 event like this in their entire career.  Not out of the woods yet.  Still… it’s time for some rest.

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