Weeknotes #58 — Young Voices

A week in which I…

  • Got hit with a complete office networking outage first thing on Monday morning. I was so grateful that it happened just before 9AM, when most of the team were there, than an hour or two beforehand. It didn’t take long to resolve. We still have much to do to improve the resiliency of what we’ve built.
  • Locked in the dates for the end-user rollout in New York next month, and booked up travel for the team that will be going there. We still have a few key things to complete, but we’re now at the stage where we will be able to improvise if necessary. I’m very excited about getting another of my client’s sites online.
  • Agreed in principle the support model for my client’s sites in the Americas. The details need to be ratified, but I’m optimistic as we seemed to reach a general consensus very quickly.
  • Spent Thursday and Friday evening at the office as we completed the migration from our old infrastructure in Dubai. Yet another change that took far longer than it should have. I’m not sure if the world of infrastructure is always like this, with more improvisation during a change than the sort of detailed testing beforehand you would have in a software release. I suspect that we have much to improve. The unexpected late nights meant that I nearly missed my youngest boy’s performance as part of Young Voices at the O2, and sadly missed Album Club. I woke up very early on Sunday to check in with the office and was so relieved when they reported that all was well.
  • Really enjoyed the Young Voices concert, and was so pleased that my son and all of his classmates had a great time. The school works so hard to make Year 6 a memory factory with lots of rich experiences; I’m sure he’ll look back on his time there with a lot of fondness in the years to come.

  • Tried to find yet another angle for getting a Microsoft Teams telephony project up and running across my client’s remaining sites. For some reason it seems very difficult to get much traction with any vendor we’ve been speaking to. I had a good new lead on a company we could work with and I’ll be following that up next week.
  • Got things moving again with the vendors in São Paulo, ready to start ordering the bulk of the equipment we need next week.
  • Added the coronavirus to our programme risk log. I remember how locked down things got when SARS appeared in 2002–03, and then swine flu in 2009–10, with people needing to stay at home for incubation after coming back from business trips. Like everyone, I am hoping it will pass without much of an impact on people around the world. It may well curtail any plans we had to travel to China for the final part of our programme in the first half of this year.
  • Enjoyed a ‘welcome home’ celebration in my client’s refurbished offices. Move in day is Monday and the whole team needs to be in early to pre-empt any connectivity and other IT issues that people may have. There has been a lot of change in a short space of time, with server room moves, wireless access point deployment, desk migrations and implementation of a completely new audio/visual system in the meeting rooms, so I am sure there will be a few glitches. I have my fingers crossed for everyone as they have worked so hard to get it ready on time.
  • Watched as the ‘digging things out’ stage of our home extension came to an end, moving into foundation-laying and building things up.
  • Kept up my fitness regime, jogging with my wife on Saturday morning, refereeing my youngest son’s football match on Sunday and also jumping on the turbo trainer. I may be getting fitter, but all the calories and then some are getting replaced by all the snacking I seem to do.
  • Finished reading Radical Focus by Christina Wodtke after hearing the WB-40 podcast on OKRs. The book is so much more accessible and practical than John Doerr’s book on the same topic. Like a lot of new techniques, a little consulting and coaching would go a long way and I might approach my client to look at this for the IT team at least.
  • Watched Star Trek: Nemesis with the boys. It was so much better than I was expecting, and is probably my favourite film of the four Next Generation movies. From what I have read, it suffered from being released in 2002 alongside the latest Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and James Bond films and got lost as a result. The story is great and the effects are excellent, even 18 years on.
  • Rewatched The Sixth Sense with my eldest boy. He’s been on at us to watch a horror film for a long time and I don’t think it is a good idea, so this seemed like a good compromise. The film holds up well but he wasn’t overly impressed. “It’s not really horror, Dad — more romantic gore.” I’m not sure that’s a genre, but I know what he means.

Next week: Early start in the new office, getting my bearings with not having a regular desk every day. Pushing to dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s for New York, resolving any snagging issues in Dubai, trying to make quick progress with the equipment orders for Sao Paulo and watching the news closely on the coronavirus epidemic. Plus prep for the next round of school governor meetings.

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