January 2014 Goals

2014 Release Plan

We have a multi stage process for determining what projects will be worked on every year.  The first stage is a general wish list developed by the actual IT team; this includes all the projects that really don’t have much user value, such as upgrading servers or cleaning up libraries.  Next we add to that list all of the high priority projects from each customer; these will be a combination of pain points, passion projects and broader goal orientated projects.  Then finally sometime towards the end of January we have our operating committee priorities; these are the priorities set by the executives at a local and national level that are a more revenue generating perspective of what project should be worked on.  Then we massage, chop and bargain. I hope to be through all of that by the end of the month.

User Story Workshop

Come mid-January I’m going to be facilitating a user story workshop for product owners.  The goal here is to train our product owners to, on their own, write effective user stories.  Most of our agile teams write user stories with product owners or in some cases translated a request into a user story for the product owners. The latter is less than effective, I believe. This workshop will help eliminate the developer generated story and assist with giving full control of the contents of a backlog to a product owner instead of it being owned by the project manager – or at least a step in the right direction.

Disaster Recovery

It should not be surprising to learn that I dislike documentation; I don’t know very many IT people who are not technical writers that feel differently about it.  Every year I dread the bombardment of automatic notifications telling me that it’s time to update my portion of the disaster recovery manual, for every server, application and warehouse that I’m responsible for.  This year I resolve to find and embrace my deeply hidden documentation diva, force her to conform and knock out these chapters before they are even due.

Deep Dive Lunch & Learn

I chose Deep Dive as a book for my leadership skills training program proposal for 2014, it’s a great book on how to apply strategic thinking within a team to solving problems and completing projects, unfortunately the program is in limbo right now, our sponsor has left the company, and I’ve yet to hear if it’ll be picked up again. Fortunately my team has also chosen this book for their monthly book club, that’ll give me the opportunity to get a curriculum draft started for them that I can then use if we are able to renew the program for another year.

Study, study, study and study some more

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