July Goals

Leadership

Everyone Communicates, Few Connect

This Wednesday morning I’ll of the kicking off the first of the seven sessions of our training series based upon book.  Mission accomplished on the presentation and slide deck as they are ready to go, I also implemented a website with a number of tools to assist us with these meetings with discussion boards, a calendar and all kinds of good stuff that SharePoint has built in. I have a few more days of rehearsing a bit of reading and then I’ll talk about what this first experience was like. I am very excited and so grateful to be given this opportunity.

Management

Agile

We are in the midst of our first agile iteration, our planning meeting went very well, we ended up tackling eleven stories and ended up with about 60 tasks to track over the three week iteration period.  We are also trying out something a little bit different than most agile implementations; I have a dedicated scrum master who is also functioning as what they call a jumper. He will be there to tackle help desk support issues and pick up any extra tasks that were either unplanned or missed in our planning meeting.  So far it’s going really well, we’re accomplishing more than we planned and most of the team is still energized and excited about the process.

Reviews and Development Plans

Well as much as I wanted to get reviews and development plans implemented in June, we have not been given the OK to go forward so I’m in a holding pattern to get these finished.  I’m hoping that in the next couple of weeks I’ll be able to sit down with my employees, give them their reviews and finish up their development plans for this common review cycle.

Projects

In our first Agile iteration we will be tackling a 2000 to 2008 data warehouse conversion. This warehouse covers circulation statistics following subscribers through the life cycle of their subscriptions.  We’re pretty excited to get this one completed because right now the server hardware that it’s on is a bit outdated and of little clunky, not necessarily something you can count on.  Part of this warehouse conversion is also to upgrade a custom built reporting application that was partially developed due to customer changes. It’s a fairly complicated application built on totally in .Net that shows customer retention in charts, maps or Excel type pivot reports.

This month will also be working on converting reports from Access database to Reporting Services, adding some additional account views to an external data warehouse, creating a training calendar application in SharePoint, and integrating a new data extract into an existing warehouse.

Another item on my list of things that I’d hoped to get started in June was our Costa Rican contractor; we’re now looking at July 16 for the kickoff date, fingers crossed.

Personal

During the month of June I decided to implement a new time management process featured on Lifehacker as part of a GTD. Basically it is a quick weekly review that I now do every single Friday; I review any open items left on my to-do list and schedule them out as a higher priority for the next week, close out anything that I don’t have time for or delegated it to someone else, follow up on any non-critical emails and take notes on anything that I’d like to tackle in the next couple weeks. The second part of this process is I literally physically clean my entire workspace and mentally let the previous week go. I take the remaining time that I have for the week coming up, go through my list of things I’d like to get done and also anything that I need a prep for that is already on my calendar figuring out what the daily to-do list really looks like so I can tackle of things that are most important to me.  So far I am really enjoying this process, I feel like on Mondays I am a far better prepared (I’m actually sleeping better on Sundays too) and that I’m actually accomplishing more now than I have been in the last couple months.

One final carryover from June, I did not get an opportunity to review the current state of my department’s training efforts so in the next week I’ll be sitting down with our office manager to find out what we currently have scheduled for the rest of the year and working up a plan of attack on prioritizing and ensuring that the right people are going to the right types of training.  I’m a little bit on the fence about how to deal with conferences, I don’t consider them an opportunity to actually learn much and I’d prefer we focus our efforts on actual training classes that people can apply directly to their jobs.  I’d also like to setup some type of minimum training investment time that we give every single employee, maybe 2 to 3 hours a month split between technical and soft skills.

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