in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #110 — Six-day weekend

I decided to take Thursday and Tuesday off work, further extending the already long Easter weekend. The boys and my wife are all off school so it made sense to get away from the keyboard when they are around, although we hadn’t made any plans.

The three days where I was at my desk felt like they were filled with a lot of ‘busywork’. There are lots of upsides of working in a large multinational company, but there are sometimes downsides too. Hopefully this is just a blip and won’t be an ongoing feature of the weeks ahead.

This was a week in which I:

  • Said goodbye to a friend and colleague in our Americas IT support team. It never fails to amaze me how quickly things move in the US, with two weeks being the standard notice period.
  • Met with the Americas IT support team to talk about handover and support while a replacement is hired.
  • Continued to coach some of our teams in their daily standup and Kanban board review practice.
  • Met with some of the management team to discuss how we can continue to improve ‘team effectiveness’, and what opportunities there are for upskilling when at least half of our team don’t work directly for our organisation.
  • Reviewed the areas of focus for our team for the remainder of this year. We sit in the intersection of a large number of different, larger constructs, all of whom have their own way of representing their aims and objectives. We need to define something that speaks to all of these that is also useful for our team in their everyday work.
  • Got final approval to on-board our new Beijing IT support team member, after some last-minute unexpected hurdles. Hopefully he will start with us next week.
  • Started to think about how we can get a couple of important infrastructure projects completed this year with a constrained budget.
  • Attended a number of architecture discussions for the large group-wide programme that we are involved with. We all make sense of the world through the lens of what we’ve seen before; I can’t help but think that the core of a big SaaS CRM programme is just like an ERP programme of 20 years ago. Am I wrong?
  • Met with the CEO of a very interesting organisation that gets young people involved with company boards to bring fresh thinking to real business problems. Hopefully this will be the start of something good.
  • Attended a very interesting short talk on work a ‘hackathon’ run by our internal AI and Data Analytics team where they used a number of months of historic client revenue data to make predictions on future revenue.
  • Met with a colleague to discuss some upcoming contract renewals in our team.
  • Attended the CAE Live webinar on the topic of ‘Purpose, People and Poverty — The Future of Technology’. Like most events of this type, half of the value is in the attendee chat and questions from the audience. It was fun to be promoting the virtues of micro.blog and the IndieWeb at an event with Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
  • Received an email out of the blue from an ex-colleague and friend that I worked with 15 years ago. He is a Buddhist, and funded time away on camps in India and Nepal through working in IT in London. I’ve now learned that he didn’t return and instead built a home in the Himalayan foothills, got married and wrote a book. It was so lovely to reconnect.
  • Joined the Microsoft 365 Security and Compliance User Group and attended a meeting on ‘Teams Architecture for Compliance’ with Albert Hoitingh. I learned that the ‘code snippet’ component of a Teams message currently gets completely ignored by the auditing processes. (Who knew that it was more than just formatting?)
  • Celebrated our eldest boy’s 14th birthday, his second in lockdown.

  • Managed to get out on my bike for my second ‘real’ ride of the year. I was gutted to find that the beautiful path through Eythrope Park to the grounds of Waddesdon Manor is now closed to the public. Apparently a cyclist was rude to one of the Rothschilds, which when coupled with the increased number of people using the route at speed has resulted in it being closed permanently. I had to take a detour by the relatively horrible A41 to get back onto my route.
  • Saw my youngest son play his first football match this year. It’s great that activities have started up again.
  • Joined some close friends in their garden for cake, the first time I’ve socialised in person with anyone for months. It was cold but we made the most of it, and it was so lovely to see them.

  • Went for an Easter Sunday lunch visit to my parents’ back garden, the first time we’ve seen them this year. We enjoyed the best weather of the weekend, and at one point even started applying sun lotion. It was lovely to see the boys off of their games consoles and making their own entertainment, reinventing ‘blow football’ on the table tennis table.

Next week: Another couple of days off before heading back ‘to the office’. Returning to the turbo trainer to keep out of the cold and snow.

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