After Tim rebuilt the server, the Stabilizing Phase moved forward rapidly. The remaining bugs in the pilot release were cleaned up in a few days. Tim's Logistics Management team did a final internal release and worked with Marta to carry out the final internal testing.
When they were convinced that the application was ready, the project team did a limited rollout in the Chicago office over a weekend, testing the Win32 client further. At the same time, the IT staff members from the other offices connected to the Internet and submitted numerous mock timesheets.
The limited rollout was a success. No new bugs were discovered, and the installation routines worked without a hitch. The team was excited, but they knew that the final test was on Monday, when Marilou carried out her first two training classes.
On Monday, the RMS project team gathered in Dan's office, along with Sam and Beth. The group was scheduled to go to lunch just as they had after they finished the Planning Phase, but they had to wait for Marilou and Jim to return from the second training class, which was directed at managers using the Win32 client. Earlier, Marilou and Jim had overseen the first class, a general course on using the Web interface to work with timesheets.
Dan sat at his desk, fiddling with a pen. Sam, Beth, Tim, and Marta were playing cards at the small conference table, while Jane sat in a corner, reading. Bill paced back and forth, his arms folded over his chest.
"Bill, will you stop your pacing?" said Jane. "You're acting like an expectant father."
"At least we didn't have to bring a shower gift," Beth said. Everyone laughed, and even Bill smiled slightly.
"Don't worry about it, Bill," said Dan. "It's not like your career depends on this one application."
"That's true," said Bill, "but after that last high-profile project bombed, I'd like for this one to be a hit."
Dan walked to his office door and looked down the hall toward the elevators. "Well, looks like you'll know in a moment. Here they come."
Jim and Marilou walked in, and Marilou put her training materials on the credenza. When she turned to face the rest of the group, she had a somber look on her face. "She's usually pretty bubbly, especially after a class," thought Dan. "This looks bad."
"Well?" Bill was anxious to know the verdict. "What about it?"
"Let's go to lunch," sighed Jim, "We'll all feel better after we eat."
Amid protests from others in the group, Dan said, "I think we'd rather hear the managers' reaction first, Jim, even if it's bad." Everyone agreed.
Jane stepped forward to face her friend. "Marilou, no sugarcoating now, just tell me straight: What did they think?"
Marilou glanced at Jim, who nodded slowly. She threw up her arms. "They loved it!" She hugged Jane, while Jim stood laughing at the surprised looks on the others' faces.
"You stinkers!" Dan smiled amid the general celebration among the team members and shook hands with Jim. "You know your lunch bill will probably be higher," Dan joked, "We'll all want to pay you back for that little scare."
"Not a problem." Jim laughed again. "I'll gladly pay for lunch many times over to hear some of the great comments we heard today."
"Why the big response?" said Tim. "I mean, it's a good program and all, but it's not like we wrote the next version of Windows."
"It wasn't the program itself that generated most of the raves, although they did like it. They realized the difference the application will make in their work," said Jim, "but it was the way in which we did the program that impressed them the most. The project was done on time, on spec, and obviously written in response to their suggestions. They liked the level of communication we gave them, the way in which we handled the rollout, and the training.
"Most of all, though, they liked the fact that we kept our word. Almost everyone said over and over that we restored their faith in our IT department's ability to deliver." He turned to Bill. "They especially mentioned you, Bill. They knew that your folks did the actual writing, and they kept saying how they knew you'd give them a winner."
"But that's not fair!" said Bill, humbly. His hand swept the room. "Without all of us—all of you—we couldn't have pulled off this project."
"Don't sweat it, Chief." Dan punched Bill in the arm. "By putting together a good team and working a good system, we put out a good product. If you and your developers get most of the credit, that's alright." He looked at Bill slyly. "You can make it up to us by going back to work while we eat your share of lunch. OK?"
"No way!" said Bill, grinning. "We're tired of pizza and Jolt. Time for some other food groups."
As the group moved off for lunch, Marilou told Tim, "Speaking of food, I really liked the icon you gave the program. None of the managers got it, but I thought it was cute."
"Icon?" Bill was baffled. "The last time I looked, it was something like a timesheet."
"Oh no," Marilou grinned. "That got changed before the rollout to the managers' machines."
"Well, what is it now?" asked Dan.
"A doughnut!" shouted Bill. "Where did that come from?" Tim was hiding behind Sam. "You did it, didn't you?" Bill said, pointing a finger at Tim. "I'll show you a doughnut or two!"
Tim ran for the elevators, Bill close behind him. "Save us a place at the restaurant!" Jane yelled after them.