NFO seems to think that the French will drive me crazy. I've dealt with the French on other projects and have no illusions. I was more surprised by the actions of my own "team".
There has been discussion of this assignment for about 1 month. The only delay was a question about French taxes but my going was confirmed. Last Monday there was a meeting that I thought was going to be a briefing on the project and my role. That part of the meeting took about 10 minutes. There was no discussion of project overview and no documents like organization chart, schedule or process flow diagrams given out. Instead, I was handed off to an assistant and she was told to get me an access badge and a lap top. I know her and she doesn't take bull from anyone. She was quick to inform them that they would need 3 weeks to get me a lap top. Unfortunately, I was leaving next week. So much for their ability to plan ahead.
I had heard that there was going to be a design review that week and that the French were coming to town. I naturally suggested that I attend as well. "Well, you can come and if there's room, you can sit in." I was told. WTF, over? You want me to be your prime contact in their office and you don't want me in this meeting? I went anyway and stayed as long as I could stand it as they all violated the meeting rule not to analyze the problem but to capture it on an action item list for the future.
I don't know whether to be concerned or amused by their attitude. This project has had a reputation for being poorly managed and that is part of the reason I'm going over there - new management wants some eyes on the ground. I am the troubleshooter that will either keep things on track or I am the goat that will take the blame to protect their careers.
I enjoy the challenge. I know what I need to do and I can get the information I want from the French contractor. It just would have been nice to have my own guys take enough interest to supply me with what I needed.