in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #121 — Pub

Yet another week of many, many meetings. South Africa’s Youth Day public holiday on Wednesday offered a little respite in the form of a few hours that I could block out to get some things done. Next week seems to be much clearer; I’m not sure why, but I plan to take full advantage of it.

The week started under a cloud as I learned that two people known to the wider team had both passed away from COVID-19 over the weekend. The problems brought by the pandemic are far from over yet, particularly for colleagues in other countries.

This was a week in which I:

  • Put together the first draft of a presentation for an internal audit meeting at the end of the month, on the topic of the IT infrastructure programme that I have been running for the past four years.
  • Saw the team get signoff on the next stage of our IT infrastructure rollout in Beijing. We are a little bit behind schedule but I am hoping we can complete the work at speed.
  • Received a presentation giving an overview on our IT network security and agreed next steps, focused around defining the problems we are trying to solve.
  • Concluded the initial reviews of the team’s Kanban boards where they had requested them.
  • Reviewed the department-wide roadmap with the IT management team for the first time, and agreed to make the reviews part of our regular process. I have some follow-up work to slice and dice the content differently, but it was a very useful start.
  • Reviewed the contract proposals for monitoring and maintenance of our infrastructure stack in three of our locations with our key vendor.
  • Had a couple of meetings on the topic of our big group programme, including a ‘masterclass’ on how our part of the organisation will be enabled and enhanced by a new platform.
  • Met with a colleague for a ‘random coffee’ and learned a lot about what someone in Equity Sales does in their role.
  • Had an exploratory meeting with a vendor on a vacancy in our team, to be followed up next week.
  • Discussed how to approach the challenge of tracking where staff will be located in the future in order to make planning meetings easier for everyone. Not as trivial a problem as it sounds, and not one that I’ve seen solved effectively by a product in the marketplace. I suspect that someone could write an Outlook plugin and make a lot of money in the coming months.
  • Met with a friend of a friend who wanted to talk through her idea for a web platform. I learned about differences between Switzerland, where she lives, and the UK which could have a dramatic effect on how viable the idea is. I’m not sure how much help I was.
  • Attended a short LeanKit webinar where they outlined the new OKR functionality available in their tool.
  • Signed up to the NGA’s online seminars that were scheduled in place of their annual conference. I had meeting clashes so could only attend a couple of them, but the quality was as good as ever. The NGA produce some excellent material.
  • Joined Herts for Learning’s Chairs Strategic Information Briefing. These sessions are invaluable, with lots of information imparted in an extremely short time. They use the Livestorm platform which is pretty impressive and slick functionality-wise.
  • Attended a seminar on What Does Zero Trust Actually Mean?, organised by Presidio. The session seemed a little bit unstructured and didn’t feel like a good use of time, so I didn’t stay for the whole thing. The BrightTALK platform also seems very dated and low quality when compared with others I’ve used.
  • Met with a consultancy in relation to continuing professional development for a member of staff at school.
  • Had a visit from a plumbing engineer to look at a strange patch that has appeared on the ceiling in one of our bedrooms. He was thoroughly convinced that it isn’t an internal leak as the surface is completely dry, which leaves me back at square one and scratching my head.
  • Finished off installing the trunking for the wired doorbell cables. I’m pretty pleased with the results.
  • Watched a lot of football, and have thoroughly enjoyed the Euro 2020 championship so far. I’m not a regular follower of football, but I do love a tournament. The F1 race at Paul Ricard was thrilling as well, and I’m looking forward to the next two weekends with back-to-back races.
  • Had my first night out with friends, at a pub, for as long as I can remember. It was great to feel a little bit ‘normal’ again.

  • Went for another bike ride with my eldest boy, this time only 45km but including a few local hills. I’m really enjoying our excursions at the moment. Only four weeks until we’re both attempting a sportive together for the first time.

  • Ran the line again at my youngest son’s football match. Last week it was crazy hot and this week I was longing for my gloves.

  • Said thank you to my boys for their lovely, thoughtful Fathers’ Day cards and present that they got me. (With some help from their wonderful mum, no doubt!)
  • Started reading A Russian Journal, the next book in my multi-year journey through John Steinbeck’s complete works.

Next week: Less meetings, just in time for me to complete a stack of work that has accumulated in the past few weeks.

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