What I Do All Day, Really

I thought I’d mix things up a bit and do a little post on what I actually do in any given day. This month I picked a Tuesday – because I normally don’t have any meetings and it’s a day beyond the craziness that can be a Monday around here.

My Morning Ritual

I “Inbox 0” every morning, every single email that’s come in since yesterday is grouped and triaged. A good 60% falls into what I call the FYI category (stuff that I get copied on but doesn’t require any input or response from me), the rest is either delegated or responded to depending on the topic.

My team SCRUMs every morning at 9:30, it’s during this quick meeting (5-10 minutes) that I find out how things are going, what needs to get done today and who needs my help.

Once I’ve gotten through email and SCRUM, I adjust my goals for the day, then I review the calendar and set the to-do list. I’ll outline what I actually did here with a note on whether or not it was on my to-do list.

The List

  • We’re light on warehouse developers and I’m the last of the original design/implementation team at the moment so I regularly pick up development projects where institutional data knowledge is important. This morning I migrated a new dimension table build process to the current production box, populated history and retired the old table. I also synched this with a new server that we’re parallel testing.
  • We had one story during our planning meeting last week that the team felt was incomplete but couldn’t be resolved during the meeting. This morning I sat down with the author, conveyed the concerns on the scope of the story as well as the tasks and discussed changes.
  • Related to the first item – We began parallel testing a new server this week. Today I reviewed the previous day’s data on both servers, documented the issues and met with the developer to discuss possible causes and resolutions.
  • Architecting solutions is probably my favorite task on any given day and today I was lucky enough to spend some time pondering and planning how best to redesign a very old and slow cube.
  • A “Do you have a minute?” that turned into a deep dive – In discussing mapping functionality for an application we own, I ended up researching what another group was using and then did some cost analysis on an alternative.
  • Coordinating activities – around a half a dozen miscellaneous items that bounced up to me to research and coordinate. I’d say about a third of my day was taken up by looking into a problem, sorting out who was best to address it and then coordinating with the person (mostly not on my team).
  • Paperwork – I spend a good hour or so a day documenting things; goals, plans towards achieving goals, actuals against the plans, prepping for meetings, keeping calendars up to date and reviewing other documentation. I feel fortunate that it’s only an hour or so.

If you’re pondering a position as a development manager, here’s some food for thought – Most of my day is spent helping people, whether it be creatively or tactically. A good leader should spend the bulk of their time focused on furthering the goals of the company and I’m happy to do so every day. My position is a bit different in that I do still spend time on technical execution but I like to mix it up and it can be fun to get your hands dirty when it’s your choice. My biggest piece of advice would be to get a handle on your emails and meetings as quickly and as early as possible so that you’re able to focus on achieving goals, you can’t unstuck others when you’re stuck.






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