Weeknotes #68 — New job

A week in which I…

  • Felt like I luxuriated at work for the first couple of days of the week. With only a couple of meetings each day I could stretch out and get some focused work done. I managed to get a project definition document moved from draft to ‘version 1.0’ and caught up a little with my gigantic email backlog. Sadly the meetings crept back in as the week progressed. I’ve come to dread that ‘eighth videoconference of the day’ feeling.
  • Along with my family, felt as though we had settled into some new routines. The angst of being together all day every day has passed, and everyone seems to be getting on much better. We’re all having dinner together every day, and finishing off with a family game of UNO or a movie. I’m still struggling with finishing my work day much earlier than I otherwise would, but I’m sure I’ll get there.
  • Celebrated my eldest son’s 13th birthday. The years are short; from baby to teenager has gone by in a flash.
  • Started a permanent role with my client, putting on hold my short career as a contractor. I absolutely love working there and it’s great to properly join the team. My main role is going to be organising how we source, prioritise and deliver change work for our business in five major financial centres. It’s going to be strange — in a nice way — to get back into the mindset that I can take the Easter weekend off and I will still get paid.
  • Kicked off my time as a ‘permanent’ employee by taking the team through a slide deck on how we look at prioritisation using ‘cost of delay divided by duration’ (also known as ‘weighted shortest job first’ or ‘WSJF’). I had good feedback on the material and people have already started using the language in our discussions. I’ve adopted a simple model that I found in this presentation by Kim Harbott, as shown below. I’ve added some guidance on what constitutes a short, medium or long piece of work. My next problem is what orders of magnitude the ‘cost of delay’ side of the matrix should take. I’d be interested if anyone has any good examples of this.
Prioritisation matrix

Prioritisation matrix

  • Closed off a mini-project to get our Beijing staff working while they are out of the office and in lockdown. In the absence of having ordered our proper end-state laptops, we had some of our employees purchase consumer devices from JD.com. Our team were able to walk them through the process of upgrading from Windows 10 Home China edition to Windows 10 Enterprise, extracting the hardware hash so that we could register the laptops as ‘ours’, and then taking them through the Autopilot/Intune build process. The choices we made a couple of years ago are really paying off in just the way that we envisaged.
  • Attended a ‘town hall’ meeting with the rest of the International team. It was excellent to get a business update and understand how the company has been helping our clients, particularly given how troubled the economic waters are.
  • Had a wonderful end to the week where our COO and his daughter broadcast a gig to all of us from his living room using Teams Live Events. It sounded amazing, and was lovely to be a part of something with the rest of the staff around the world as we headed into the weekend.
  • Continued to exercise every day, although my legs have started to complain. I’m planning to take advantage of it being a little rainy on Monday to have a rest day before getting back to it. I just need to make sure that my food consumption also has a bit of a rest.
  • Couldn’t get enough of video calls during the the day, so joined both the Remainiacs vs The Bunker and Smoke Fairies live sessions. None of the live events I’ve attended have been entirely successful, but it felt important to be there and support them. Everyone’s trying!

  • Had a beautiful spring family walk on Saturday across the fields and woods behind our house. We are so lucky to have this on our doorstep and I will never take it for granted.

Next week: Trying to fight my diary to get more space to work. And my first paid day off in a quite a few years.

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