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An unexpected almost prize

I just learned that the project I’m leading for a Spanish public agency almost won a prize yesterday. In fact we came in first finalist for the Computing Magazine 2008 prize for the “best ECM project of the year” in Spain.

ECM is acronym for “Enterprise Content Management” for those of you who don’t do letter soups, it covers document management and web content management and many things in between. And the almost prize is rather sweet for a number of reasons:

  • This is the first public acknowledgement (hey, we’re in print and all) for my work for Getronics; there have been several nice things said about my work for Macuarium (we even won ReD magazine’s “Best Spanish website” back in 2001) and I’m quite satisfied about the acknowledgement of my KM work (the eventual expert panel and the ear of people I respect)… but Getronics actually pays my salary, so it’s nice. Unusual, and nice.
  • It’s a commendation for my boss’ decision to support me: that project started as a disaster until I tore the claws of an incompetent project director off it and took responsibility for everything myself. That was really hard to do and yet another career risk, but it now seems it was the right decision. Especially comparing with the results of the projects that remained in his hands (no comment).
  • It’s such a small thing of a project. It runs on MS SQL Server, while the competitors are all big Oracle boys. It uses French-born Eversuite as the platform, instead of EMC Documentum or Vignette as the winner and second finalist do. It’s such a tiny team, when faced by the groups that did the other projects (most of the time, a single analyst coded – a real artist, Jose Luis- while I managed, dealt with the the customer and designed the app). A tenth of the budget. And yet its effect on customer processes is deep and wide enough to leave that mark.
  • [I thought that] The project that came in third place is… from the company that just bought Getronics’ Spanish operations. So it looks like the people who will run the show here at least know about these things enough to do almost as well as us ;-). [Actually, I got it wrong, it’s by a different competitor].

Besides all that, our marketing people say that if a tiny little project, without either a powerful technology partner or a powerful patron customer, ever wins this kinds of prizes… they’ll think the magazine’s editors are not doing their job well. A case of sour grapes surely :-), but still: the winner is a splashy, pushy regional government and the second finalist is the Spanish national bank, and you already know the platforms they’re using, so hmmm.

So, you know, today I’m rather surprised and rather happy. An almost prize for my real job. Go figure.

[Edited to correct a mistaken impression]


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