Time-frames and Velocity

Next Monday I have a meeting with my team lead at 2:30pm. It’ll be the 3-month review mark in my new job, which still feels insane to me.

I blame the velocity of the release cycle at Campaign Monitor. I came from an organisation where releases are carefully planned and executed around a 6-month release cycle to coördinate deployments with numerous external parties each with their own IT department. I came from an organisation that rightfully was cautious about the idea of Agile and where it might apply. And I’ve jumped straight into the middle of an Agile maelström.

We have a release window every fortnight (or more… sometimes weekly). Sometimes that’s just an internal deployment. Sometimes that’s a production deployment with functionality still turned off by default. But it is a deployment. An opportunity for code to be exercised, reviewed in the wild, and feedback to come back. It leads to a much more experimental approach, and a preparedness to be wrong because at worst it will get fixed in another fortnight.

Which makes this morning all the more dazzling in its sudden slow-ness.

There is an issue in some of the development environments. And I’m sure it’ll be fixed by lunch, but in the face of the otherwise blistering speed, half a day without access suddenly feels like the Biggest Tragedy in the History of the Universe.

So in my helplessness I am studying on Pluralsight.

I should post about Pluralsight, because it is more awesome than I ever suspected. In the past month I have completed 30 courses on a variety of topics. It’s the quickest way to get into a new unfamiliar technology for me, and I feel so much smarter already. Just wait until I finish the full catalogue… only 3970 more to go!

Back to Angular.js for me now.

And then lunch with some ex-colleagues. Yes, I am abandoning the chefs. “Chicken and sweetcorn soup” the internal menu proclaims. I’ll be back in time for cookies though.

Day 260 – A Long One

I had a long and busy day today. I foolishly accepted responsibility for too many meetings in one day tomorrow and I had to prepare for all of them today. So tomorrow I’ll be scribing one meeting, brainstorming another right after and then chairing a third right after that. A 7 hour marathon of meetings.

I’ll also be doing this with a sore midriff. I have been to the gym Monday and Tuesday, but to spare my shoulders I took on extra challenge on the legs and core. Which seemed like a great plan at the time, but might have been a strategic mistake in retrospect. Time will tell.

And tonight was fun relaxation at Ken’s with a cornucopia of cheese, fruit and chocolate, followed by a plethora of pizza and a sufficience of 7 Wonders. I feel thoroughly entertained. But also quite tired.

And I have to be up again at 7 to get a few things sorted before my first meeting starts.
So I’m going to leave this short and safeguard my rest and sanity.

Good night world.

Day 233 – Just a Little Unwell

I still don’t think I’m entirely well. I feel much more tired than I should be, occasionally I still have a coughing fit, and going to bed at 2am yesterday probably didn’t help much either.

It’s important to call your mother on her birthday though, and I had forgotten due to Wednesday Regulars until after midnight when I had a sudden panic. She was trying to let me off the hook, but we had a good conversation for an hour, and I was happy to make the sacrifice.

Then the work-day unfolded with a lot more draining content than I was ready for, but alas, that’s the job sometimes.

And then I finished up with a visit to the gym. I had skipped Monday and Tuesday already, and at some point I just start feeling wrong. The class felt good at the time, but I’ve been slumped on the lounge all evening. And now I think I’m ready for bed. And another meeting-ful day tomorrow.

I need to throw something restorative into the weekend.
Maybe sleep?

Day 6x6x6 – Compression

And so I dropped from one extreme into the other.

I’m trying to remember what I did today, but for the life of me I cannot tease apart the tangle that was my workday today. I know there was plenty in it; 8 hours in fact, and I categorised them into my time sheet as the day went past. But I could not say what each hour was about now.

Nominally there is this thing called a Calendar which presents me with a serving suggestion for my workday. It’ll tell me what meetings I must make. It’ll tell me what meetings I can ignore. It’ll tell me what meetings I’d like to make if at all possible.

Today my day and my calendar were so far divorced from each other as to be indistinguishable from perfectly random noise.

Ah, the life of a manager… 🙂

I was trying to work information entropy into this somehow as well as a reference to Shannon’s information theory, but it felt too hacky, so I’ll leave it as a mere incompressible footnote.

Day 211 – Working Late

Wednesday is always the biggest blur of my work-week.

Wednesday is one-on-one catch-ups day with my staff. I only have 5 staff to worry about, but at 30 minutes each that takes about 3 hours out of my day all-up.

Doing one-on-ones right is so far the biggest benefit I’ve gotten from listening to the Manager Tools podcast. It’s not that it is particularly hard to regularly catch up with staff, but a good understanding of what it is actually for and how it helps does direct me better in getting the most out of those 3 hours in my week.

Picking the right day also makes a big difference. Middle-of-the-week works particularly well because there’s enough time before Wednesday for staff to achieve some things, and enough time after Wednesday for us all to take further actions based on what we discuss.

Adding in another 2 small meetings basically left my whole day looking like Swiss Cheese.

I wish there was an interesting story somewhere in all this, because basically my brain is fried. And I still have a presentation to write and some research to do before tomorrow morning… as well as an early start at the office. *groan*

So Much to Do


Next week contains an interstate trip for work, which usually makes the week somewhat hectic. I’m hoping to get one or two things out-of-the-way for work today:

  • Read “Virtual Team Success” for work training sessions
  • Work through the “Virtual Teams” workbook that goes with aforementioned training
  • Make some preparations for the peer-education sessions I’m trying to set up within the development team
  • Read up a bit more on Atlassian products so I have the details straight


And then the usual chores for the weekend:

  • Floors: vacuum & mop
  • Laundry: probably two loads
  • Litter Tray: get hazmat suit, clean tray, hose self down


And I am hoping I can find a little time to play around with the new 6D to figure out where all the controls and settings are.

And I had hoped to play through Alan Wake as well, and perhaps another round or two of Binding of Isaac.

But first, most importantly, I go and get my coffee.