Monday, April 21, 2008

BDB at Work

A couple people have asked about the work I'm doing here. First a little background - I used to work in the programming department of Black & Veatch. Black & Veatch (among other things) engineers and builds large power plants and uses a lot of custom software to do it. A couple of years ago, B&V outsourced the IT support and programming work (and programmers) to Electronic Data Systems. EDS in turn has hired some Indian programmers to help us develop the software.

My job is to help teach the new programmers about how our software works, what changes are needed, our procedures for making changes and how we document our work.

A typical day here (and in the past week there has only been two typical days--hopefully this will by typical day three) is going to work at 11:00, answering questions from the new employees, reviewing changes that they have made, answering questions from people at work back in the states, planning for future changes and trying to figure out why someone's computer or program is doing something that should never happen. Lunch is around 2:00 or 3:00 and then I work until 8:00 (7:30 am KC time). At that time, people back home are coming into work and responding to my questions so I come back to the apartment, eat supper and get back on email for another hour or so. To compensate for these long hours, I work about 1/2 a day on Fridays. Since I'm a morning person, turning around my day like this is quite a change.

As you can imagine with new programmers we run into a lot of problems that require a fair amount of time to solve (if I don't see three impossible things happen before lunch then I check to make sure I'm still awake). Solving these is a bit more difficult without the good support staff we have in Kansas City but so far we've been able to work through all the problems. Usually remembering all the mistakes I've made is the most helpful way to solve a problem.

All - in - all, it is challenging work but my theory / hope is that our work can make it cheaper and easier to build a power plant and, at the same time, help a few more people in India pay enough taxes so the country can afford to contract with Black & Veatch to build another power plant to help provide electricity to some of the fishermen we saw at Marina beach.

P.S. Here is a link to an article about the office I'm working at: what the pictures are missing are the hundreds of people coming in and out at all times of the day. The building has several shops and a large food court on the first floor.


Anonymous said...

it appears you are somewhat close to the building where you work. how do you get to work and how long does it take?

also, it appears there are two streets named "4th main road". one is north of your workplace and the other is south. so.... which is which? sorry about all the questions.


Dave Fairchild said...

Sounds like Byron is getting the short end of this "vacation"! Well, at least his girls ought to be so appreciative of good old dad that once they get home to KC, they'll do all his chores for him.

Anonymous said...

Well, it's been five days since we last heard from the Burke family and some anxiety is stirring. Has Dawn been arrested for being too perky? Has Lily created a new Mahatma Ghandi movement? Has Erin come to the rescue of Heidi and become the pinch police? Has Byron been totally kicked out of the kitchen? The possibilities are endless. But we'll never know unless you post another "blog" (I never thought I'd use or type "blog"). We're waiting!

Fred and Reba