in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #124 — Audax

A four-day week. My upcoming monster bike ride dominated my thoughts as I watched the changeable weather forecast getting more locked in as the days ticked by. I took the Friday off in order to get a lie-in and an early night as I knew I would have to be up at 4am on Saturday for the ride.

The week was busy, but had a pleasant feel to it thanks to the meeting-free Wednesdays that we are experimenting with at work. Wednesday came at just the right time after a busy couple of days, and initial feedback across the team is that most people appreciated the initiative.

The pandemic is never far from our thoughts. Schools and pupils are having to cope with so much right now. On Wednesday my eldest boy was sent home with a message that he had to self-isolate due to close contact with a positive case. On Thursday morning he got a message to say that he could go back to school as a follow-up test was negative. Then on Friday I had a text in the afternoon to say that our younger boy now has to self-isolate due to his contact with a positive case. Keeping people safe and stopping the virus from spreading makes a whole lot of sense, so much less so when the TV is showing masses of people at sporting events and in the pubs, bars and streets.

I continued to feel for colleagues in Johannesburg as I heard that two more people known to the team had passed away from COVID-19. It makes hearing about ‘freedom day’ in the UK even more jarring.

This was a week in which I:

  • Presented to our IT Architecture Governance Authority on the second major iteration of our network topology, and got the green light to continue down the simplified path that we are on.
  • Attended a kick-off meeting for our Beijing IT infrastructure project and agreed next steps.
  • Contributed to the IT submission for our company Board report.
  • Attended our IT governance meeting for Dubai and took the attendees through my slides on our IT infrastructure journey.
  • Reviewed and edited a lean business case for a potential new marketing initiative.
  • Reviewed CVs for a technical consultant position in the team and agreed who we would take through to interview stage.
  • Spent time refining a business case for moving two more of our offices to Teams PSTN calling, along with mandatory compliance recording. Spoke to a colleague in the wider group who is already some way down the line in doing the same thing, which may make the work significantly more straightforward. Got an introduction to very knowledgeable Unified Communications specialist via LinkedIn who has been super generous with his knowledge.
  • Agreed to defer some detailed technical design decisions until a key team member returns from a long absence next week. It’s going to be so good to have him back.
  • Asked a team member to help out with taking ownership of an application developed outside of IT using modern Microsoft 365 tooling. It’s interesting how the problem of critical Access databases springing up in business has shifted technologies but is still fundamentally the same challenge.
  • Attended a school strategy planning meeting with our Chair of Governors and another colleague, making good progress on an updated mission and vision. I spent some time writing it up on my day off work and am glad to have had the time to move it forward.
  • Conducted annual reviews for two of our school governors. I wish I had started the practice when I was Chair as it was very worthwhile to take the time to reflect and thank the governors for the work they do.
  • Enjoyed a relaxed day off which included a lovely lunch with a friend in town. We agreed that we should do it more often.
  • Had our oven professionally cleaned for the first time, and it looks just like new.
  • Enjoyed the final week of matches in the Euro 2020 championships. Yes, even the final 😊
  • Took my bike out for a 327km ride, leaving my house at 5am, starting the 307km Audax ride from Aylesbury at 6am and getting back there around 10pm. A really beautiful route through some amazing towns, villages and countryside. I was gutted that Strava didn’t record the last 30km or so — I am guessing that the ride data is held in my iPhone’s RAM while it is being recorded, and it was struggling with swapping data every time it tried to do something different like receive a phone call. Next time I think I may rely on the Garmin as it seems more reliable. A man from West London Cycling had his GoPro with him and made a short video of the ride which captures the essence of it. On Saturday night I was ready to pack my bike away for good but by the end of the weekend I started thinking about my next adventure.

Next week: Vaccine shot #2. The last school Full Governing Board meeting of the year. Album Club. And work starting on our back garden, hopefully turning it from a weedy mess to somewhere that we would actually want to invite friends round to visit.

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