When you hear the words mobile, upgrade, application, development, launch, Saturday, working, 28 hours…what do you think? Well those were the words that I heard out of the conversation about the M&T Mobile App Upgrade. Coming into the bank in July I was aware that big things were happening in the technology space. I was excited to get to be a part of the changes that will help advance M&T as a whole.
As a new employee to the online and mobile technology I was thrown into a lot of different projects with no true role on any of them – except to learn about the technology team and the different areas it supports and covers. I liked it because it was like the best orientation to the department that I could get.
Because of the way the MDP program was structured I was missing seven of the last eight days leading up to the Mobile Upgrade launch on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of August so I was not able to have a functional role on the launch team but my manager thought that it would be beneficial for me to join the team as they went through the functional testing of the new app during conversion weekend. I thought this was a good opportunity for me to see how the conversion process worked at the bank so of course I agreed even though I was wishing I could have a role that helped the team launch.
As technology projects go this project had been in the works for nearly four years since the launch of the original M&T Mobile App. It was exciting because the banks focus of technology was now shifting and more projects like this are on the horizon for the bank – helping to bridge the gap from small community bank to a large bank with a community feel.
Flash Forward Three Months: After being with the bank for a few months now, I am pleased to say I had a much larger role on the UI Project. For those that are unaware, M&T just upgraded their online banking platform. I was part of the testing team that came in at 1pm Friday afternoon left around 5 returned around 9pm left around 11pm and returned to work at 4am for another 11+ hour day. Needless to say, it was a long week that was not over after that. I returned to work on Sunday at 8am and was supposed to work Veteran’s Day but thankfully the system seemed to be in pretty good shape that my boss decided that it was more beneficial for the team to have the day with family and friends. But though the time seemed long and drawn out it was being a part of the experience for me that was really important. If you look like you are an employee that is not willing to help out when your team needs it then what value are you adding to the team?
I know that the project would have succeeded without me but I also think my presence helps other people on the team become aware of my teamwork skills and my desire to help wherever I can. When it comes to an implementation, no job is to small and that is one of the key skills I would recommend to any new employee, future college graduate or just to people in general. It doesn’t matter what your rank is, what your title is, how long you have been in the business or how long you have been working on projects – team members expect that everyone is going to do everything in their power to get things done.
After seeing the way that the team handles issues that went along with the conversion, the bumps in the road and the smooth portions as well, I came to a conclusion. A true team, the best kind of team really shows its colors when solving something that is not going perfect.
At the end of a project it is important to complete a lessons learned document to help future projects improve and learn from the past. One of my biggest lessons learned is communication. Simple things like sending out an email, making sure everyone is called or is calling into a status call, giving detailed instructions when something has changed etc. Everyone gets tired especially when you are up for 24 hours straight. In the real world, most people are not programmed to function for the all-nighters like they could in college. Making sure that everyone is doing what they need to in order to be the most efficient is so crucial to the success of a project. What was really nice to see on this project was the reactions to difficulties. There were team members bending over backwards in order to get a server fixed or to code a fix for a problem that was coming up in testing.
The effort that went into coordinating both the Mobile projects deployment and the Online Banking platform takes an amazing project manager as well as an awesome team from the management level to the developers to the testers to the project leads to the off-shore team. I am so fortunate to have been able to learn from the experience.