As expected, the final week was a culmination of all the work and analysis done in the previous weeks; but for some reason, it seemed unsettled. It could have been because the final week was all about finalizing and presenting the deliverables for submission. More likely, it could have been that we could see the end and what had seemed to be some far away event was now in front of us. Recalling the week, it did not have the cadence of the previous weeks. Each day was unique, and the party atmosphere that had greeted us when we first arrived was now filled with introspection. Meanwhile, the days piled on. On Monday, we worked to close the loop on any outstanding issues and finalize the draft. On Tuesday, we presented to the internal clients, but it was a little more than that.
We decided that it would be nice to have some snacks for Tuesday, so I snagged two boxes of Dunkin Donuts, while my colleagues bought some Colombian snacks, as they thought that would be more fitting. In any event, the clients were well fed. We took the clients through our 40 + page document and it went very well. There was a good discussion and by the end of the meeting, everyone was on the same page.
Wednesday consisted of finishing a survey with the client and garnering feedback on the entire experience. We also finalized our executive presentation, which would be presented in front of all the teams, some university students, fellow IBMers, and maybe some press. As Wednesday faded into the past, Thursday appeared, and the final event was upon us.
The presentation was divided into two parts: the first section consisted of clients and IBMers discussing the challenges and outcomes of each project, and the second section consisted of a fishbowl technique, which is when a core group has a discussion while others listen, knowing that anyone in the audience can join in. As expected, all the presentations went well and were well received. Since we did have weekly meetings with all the subgroups, we all knew about each other’s projects and it was nice to be able to celebrate the conclusion together.
When we started the fishbowl technique section, the questions became personal and more about the overall experience. There was one question that asked about when we felt the magic, which meant when we knew that this experience was something special. For most it seemed to have happened early on, or when they presented their deliverables to the client. For me, I think I’m still waiting. I went into this experience with no expectations, so I have nothing to gauge it on. If it impacted me or if it changed me, I won’t really know until I leave. It’s been my experience most don’t realize the importance of a situation or a time until after it passes, so I’m guessing that eventually I’ll have to have a blog post about the cumulative experience that has taken place in Colombia, but that won’t be today.
For now, I know I had a rare opportunity to work in a country that was foreign to me. I worked with many great people and really believed in the mission of my client. I enjoyed working with IBMers from other parts of the world and hearing about their stories while creating new ones. It could be that after all this time (I’ve been waiting since 2014), I’m sorry to see it end. The fact is that the people I’ve spent so much time with over the last month, I may never see again. However, I do take solace in knowing that memories will remain and through meeting them and working with them, I am a better person than I was before this all began.