It’s been a ‘quietly confident’ start to 2019. I had intended to take off all of the days between Christmas and New Year, but as the week before drew to a close I realised that this wouldn’t work. There was so much planning and organisation to be done; we have such a tight schedule that it would make no sense for me to be doing this whilst everyone else on the programme tries to gather themselves and get going again in January. So, I worked from home for a couple of extra days. I’m so glad I did. I now have a very large list of tasks, more than halfway to becoming a detailed plan, which I’m already using to good effect to set direction and give focus across the team on what we need to complete. Having an ‘old school’ project plan feels a bit strange in this day and age where people are practicing Scrum, Kanban, SAFe and all other manner of agile development methods. However, it feels right to me given that the programme is mainly infrastructure-focused (there are little in the way of ‘features’ to prioritise), is heavy on dependencies and critical path analysis, and is a much bigger piece of work than a classic agile team of 5–9 people could manage. There are too many things going on to fit into my field of vision and this ‘advanced checklist’ approach feels right.
I have a new project manager that joined the team on Friday who I will be handing this immediate detailed management work over to, so that I can spend more time looking further out and across the programme. The work we are doing will impact six cities around the world and everything we are focusing on at the moment is just for the first one.
The detail-oriented approach feels right, and it is helped by the start of a new financial year. With the calendar ticking over from 2018 to 2019 we suddenly have funding to buy the new infrastructure components that we will be deploying. I’ve also been working with the internal communications team to kick-start a plan for how we will present and absorb a significant amount of IT change across the organisation this year. It feels like there is some excitement in the team to be getting on with the work; I hope it isn’t just me.
Over Christmas I started to read the Word for Windows 1.0 postmortem, which although 30 years old I am sure will have some useful lessons and prompt some thoughts on how to avoid issues on our programme. I’ve already made a note about avoiding introducing too many new techniques and processes along the way.
I also took advantage of the Christmas break to get back on my bike again. I managed to get out and about, or on the turbo trainer, almost every day that I had off. It was a slow start, but I’ve got some momentum with me now. I’ve learned that a 30-mile ride of two hours isn’t unreasonable to fit into a Saturday or Sunday around family activities; previously I felt glum if I couldn’t go out for double that. Maybe this is one advantage to starting over. I’ve managed to fit longer rides in where the family have been going somewhere and I can meet them there. On the days that I work from home I’ve also been getting the bike set up on the turbo so I don’t have to think too much in the morning before jumping on. I really want to embed cycling as a thing that I do all the time, not just a thing that I do occasionally as a special event.
There’s plenty more to note but the topics will have to wait. The past two weeks have seen a few 9/10pm finishes with work and today is no exception, plus I spent the weekend ill with a little fever which I only seemed to get over this morning. Battling my way into 2019 but feeling positive.