Weeknotes #50 — Of Mice and Men

A week in which I

  • Started to ask around for consultancies that provide training on and running of Failure Mode Effects Analysis sessions. I think that something structured in this way would be very useful for a team that has just put a brand new IT infrastructure into production, but I need to talk it over with someone who has experience in it.
  • Spent an hour and a half on a video call with agile coach Stuart Mann, getting his advice and feedback on how our programme team are working and what I intend to put in place get the rest of the programme delivered. It took me 40 minutes to give the background and context, but it’s always good to talk it through and see it through someone else’s eyes. Stuart’s a great guy to talk to. My conclusion is that we are doing a lot of things right and are on a good path. As usual, we need to take just what we need from the methodologies available and focus on the outcomes. Getting this advanced is at the forefront of my mind.
  • Got a hard copy of our LeanKit Kanban boards and various reports up on the wall in the office. A really interesting experiment to see the whole thing at once instead of having to scroll up and down on a web page, and the reports generated some good discussions within the team.
  • Continued to push forward with vendors in New York and Sao Paulo. Our initial kit orders in New York are on their way and we need to finish them off early next week. Brazil is proving to be an order of magnitude more complex to do business in than anywhere else so far, with all kinds of exotic import/export, billing and taxation issues to manage. With one month to go until the end of my client’s financial year, getting our orders in is my top priority.
  • Stepped in to give an update to one of my client’s Management Committees on where we are with delivery of our programme. Made a ‘note to self’ for next time that I should ask whether there are any actions I need to be aware of before going into the meeting.
  • Brought our school’s Pay Policy up-to-date to the 2019–20 version and caught up with my actions from our Finance, Premises and Personnel governance committee.
  • Worked from home to meet a plumber to get a leaky radiator valve fixed. We have an insurance policy so we ‘only’ need to pay the £60 excess. They were meant to turn up a few weeks ago but called on the day to say they weren’t coming, and automatically sent me a £10 cheque as compensation, considering the matter closed. Service is not what it used to be.
  • Got back into refereeing my youngest son’s Sunday football matches again. I’d not refereed a match in many months. I find it a real challenge, particularly as I’m not a dad who is into football, but it’s definitely the best job to have at the match on a cold winter’s day as you get to run around and keep warm. The boys had a great game today, with a 3-2 win and an exciting opposition corner to finish.
  • Got on the turbo trainer every day where I had the chance to. It takes up time, but boy do I feel good for having done it.
  • Had my eyes tested for the first time in a couple of years. Feeling like an old man as I am now slightly long-sighted as well as being very short-sighted. I knew this before I went in there, from the way in which I sometimes have to peer over my glasses and bring something close to my face, grandad-style. No time to shop for new glasses this week, will need to do that later in the month.
  • Finished John Steinbeck’s In Dubious Battle and read Of Mice And Men again. Of Mice and Men was my introduction to Steinbeck when we studied it at school in the early 1990s as part of GCSE English. I fell in love with his writing, and remember our teacher assigning us to parts to the book like it was a play, with one of our classmates having a brilliant mock-American twang in his voice for the role of George. What struck me from reading it again this time is how compact the novella is; it has nothing superfluous to the story and it moves along at a very rapid pace. I bought the 1939 movie version on iTunes and watched most of it on Saturday; it’s excellent, and fascinating to think that it was made when the depicted events were still contemporary.
  • Watched The Shawshank Redemption for the first time in a long while. It deserves to be #1 on the IMDB ratings chart. Great story, great acting.
  • Had a lovely lunch at The Swan in Southrop with my wife’s family. A stunningly beautiful village and pub. We had our own private room complete with log fire, which started to get us into the Christmas spirit.
  • Watched the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the last of the year. The circuit always looks the part but never seems to deliver an exciting race. Just over 100 days until we start all over again in Australia.

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