in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #169 — Intruder alert

I had it working last week. This week, not so much.

I had it working last week. This week, not so much.

I started the week at home. My wife was away on a residential trip for the first half of the week, giving the children a wonderful experience to remember whilst getting very little sleep in the process. This meant that I was home alone with the boys for the first time in years. As far as I know I only had one ‘dad fail’: forgetting to make lunch for my youngest boy before he left for school on Tuesday. Luckily he had some credit on his school card to go to the canteen. There’s nothing like a short absence to refresh your appreciation for someone and everything they do.

On Thursday I found myself remarking to a colleague in the office about how ridiculously busy the week had been, but that I felt I didn’t have a lot to show for it. Others seemed to be in the same boat. Prepping for these weeknotes is very useful to remind myself of what I actually got done.

A week in which I:

  • Woke up on Monday to text messages from the street WhatsApp group about a random hooded figure who had been wandering around our road at 4:20am. I scanned the footage from our video doorbells and found them creeping up our driveway, flashing a torch at our door and at our neighbour’s window before shuffling away. We logged it with the police and uploaded our footage but I’m not sure there’s a lot they can do. Nobody has seen them since.
  • Was pleased for the team who stayed up through Friday night until the early hours of Saturday morning making a successful, major network change at one of our sites. It is a big step forward in simplification. Our vision is to ultimately remove the need for server rooms at our offices, replacing them with a small cabinet on the wall containing SD-WAN sockets, a couple of switches and cables to the wireless access points. I’m not sure that we’ll ever literally get there, but the idea does help to focus our minds.
  • Put together and sent out communications for the cutover of our final site to Teams telephony. Every single one of our offices has a slightly different technical implementation due to regional differences and restrictions. The team still have some tuning to do but the system is now live.
  • Reviewed more CVs for the vacancy in my team. Briefed our contract resourcing agency on the role and the broader context of our organisation.
  • Had a number of meetings about our investor conference, which is now only a month away. There’s a lot to get done in a very short space of time. I see this project moving front and centre for the next few weeks.
  • Met with our Information Risk Steering Group and gave an update on a number of items that I am running with.
  • Continued work on looking at potential digital signage solutions. After wrestling with trying to bridge a wired connection to our wireless network in the office — something that I got working last week but this week just wouldn’t cooperate — I took a test device home with me. Having looked at about five different platforms there is really only one that I would be comfortable in handing over to our non-technical staff to administer. We completed on-boarding for the vendor so hopefully we’ll be able to put an order in next week.
  • Spoke to our main technology vendor and received an updated quote for upgrading one of our server rooms.
  • Had the monthly update meeting with our Governance and Control, and Cybersecurity teams.
  • Referred to Conway’s Law a number of times in different meetings as we discussed how people can be motivated to look beyond their silos.
  • Enjoyed a talk from one of our team on the new ’first responder’ incident process that they are putting in place.
  • Tuned in to a town hall-style session with the technology leaders from our division of the organisation. Having multiple cameras in the room that cut between the main stage and the audience was impressive. I asked some questions through the chat Q&A function and had some of them answered.
  • Joined our school full governing board meeting from my office in London. Although I was late travelling home, I much prefer it to the old days of rushing out of the door just before 4pm, crossing my fingers that the trains were running so that I could turn up in person at school.
  • Made contact with a prospective new school governor and agreed to make plans to meet up next week.
  • Had a meeting about school technology and our plans for the future.
  • Had a fun evening out for a friend’s birthday at Tabure in Berkhamsted. Rolled home completely stuffed.
  • Enjoyed a bike ride on both Saturday and Sunday morning. The weather was beautiful for it on both days.
  • Finally finished reading Hitman by Bret Hart, and wrote up my thoughts. I love the process of consolidating and organising a bunch of ideas once I’ve finished reading a book.

Next week: Keeping the momentum through what one member of my team has referred to as ‘mad May’ and looking to put some time aside to work on the portfolio management aspect of my job.

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