21 December 2017 - The Bench

If you’ve ever worked in a consultancy then you maybe aware of the term the bench. This phrase is used to describe the time between projects when you’re not at the beck and call of a customer. You may have just gone live with an implementation and are waiting the call for the next project to begin. 

It’s this bench period that you use to decompress. Projects can be stressful so it’s important to take time out and reflect on the good and as well as the challenges faced. You can also use it as an opportunity to catch up on personal development, nail the latest release exam or add a new certification to your belt. 

But I think the bench should be used wider than just the human aspect. I think an approach to the bench should be considered for systems too. Over a period of continuous implementation with a change of processes and hence requirements, then a system can build up technical debt. 

Technical debt can contain a whole mix of items, simple things like unused fields,  validation and workflow rules deactivated but not removed, and all the way up to managed packages for Apps the business has moved away from. 

If technical debt is not addressed then a systems performance can be adversely affected as it tries to wade through a soup of code and configuration. If ignored then you hurtle yourself quickly towards end user complaints, reduced adoption rates, and finally ending up as a health check rescue. 

You should give equal priority to keeping your Org tidy and removing technical debt just as much as the the importance given of implementing new functionality. 

A tidy Org is a happy instance. 

I personally have decided now to take some bench time. After 2.75 years of continuous implementation I need to decompress. I sincerely hope my old Org will also get that opportunity, (but I doubt it). 

For me, my bench time is a bit different. I like to decorate. My subconscious knows I need to leave a job before my conscience does. I'd put my curtain fabric swatch and the Farrow and Ball paint chart on the kitchen table a few months ago. When I don’t feel I’m succeeding at work then I need another creative outlet, and usually the house gets it. My conscious caught up with me and I decided to leave my employer and got stuck into my decorating project. The snowy weather delayed the start but but I'm happy to report the job is completed and its looking good. 

Doing an activity that is achievable and rewarding is a great way to reset the brain especially when work pressures haven't managed to achieve this. I'm now ready to relax into the holidays and take on a new challenge from January. I won't be putting my feet up too much mind, I have a London's Calling talk to prepare and plenty of Trailhead to get stuck into. 

Happy Holidays!


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