Thanks to the success of our distributed workforce, we had so many team members contributing to the project that not surprisingly, integration quickly became a pain point. We had lots of people folding components, but we needed someone to make sure they went into the model in the right way. To address this, I had to take on a role I’ve been avoiding for years. I had to become a project architect.
Over the past months, the team has folded over a thousand modules, and I have spent each morning looking at the growing model and determining the most painless ways to fit the new pieces into it. It’s up to me to keep the big picture in mind, because when we make a mistake and connect a piece in the wrong way, it’s almost impossible to take it back out without damaging the structural integrity of the whole.
Honestly, I long for the days when I got to fold. Folding is my passion and the thing that drew me into this project in the first place. I understand that I have an important responsibility, and that as the model grows, it is because of my vision that the structure is growing and maturing smoothly. But instead of delicately forming each perfect crease, I spend my mornings with glue on my fingers (we need robustness, and I cannot let external teams come in and tear down everything we’ve built; one cannot be a purist in an enterprise environment). A few times I have stepped back and let the team go where they will, but they often go for the easy wins, building up the outer walls first — the result of which is hardly extensible. As I find ways to fit the pieces together, It is up to me to make sure we stick to the structural principles of the model and to find ways to adjust for those modules that didn’t come out of folding exactly right (no one is perfect, and we can only afford to refactor those pieces that are blatantly flawed).
The end of the project is in sight, and when we get there, hopefully I can return to my roots as a folder and embark on a new, smaller project with my fingers back in the fold. Given that we are always pushed to bigger and brighter things, I fear this will not be the case.