Weeknotes 06/01/2019 – Week 18

New Years Eve was delayed at the start of this week due to my wife working a double shift at the hospital and not being free to party until 3.30pm on New Years Day. I had to entertain my two boys all day on the 31st and most of the 1st. Dragged them into town on the train. A little bit of shopping with Xmas money. Quick trip to the Millennium Galleries and back again to return to computer game playing.

New Years Day we went for a nice walk in Ladies Spring Wood, which starts off with a steep step climb and then a path at the top of a valley running parallel with the rail track and Beauchief Golf Course. We stumbled across a great rope swing which was a real hit but I was not brave enough to give it a try although I am sure it would have took my weight…maybe. Then I sneakily walked them to Millhouses Park with the idea of ending in the Waggon & Horses just in time to meet my returning from work wife.

Once the kids were in bed we decided to celebrate Fake New Years Eve by Drinking booze, sat on the sofa and watching TV. Including Hootenany out of sync. Wife fell asleep before 12. Party time. Maybe we should just delay it until December 31st.

Two days back at work were quite productive ones. Got a few things lined up for next week around goals and priorities for the year. My amazing squad managed to get something live with a few more things ready to go live next week. Great start to the year and hopefully we can clear the decks of some big projects to free up space for a lot more customer facing change.

Decided to do Dry January. For a few reasons. Skint. Still fat. Good discipline. Also should help focus me on running a bit more. Not run since Xmas Eve. Was a bit under the weather this week so did not run into work either. Did a Kettle Bell workout today though which was a little bit of a boost. Running to work tomorrow to get half marathon training back on track. Aim is to do at least a 13k run by the end of this month. 16k by end of Feb. 19k by end of March.

Watched the fantastic Paul Heaton documentary. So many hits. Such an interesting and slightly controlling bloke.

Also finished Season 1 of Queen of the South. Got better towards the end but still lightweight and basic compared to the likes of Narcos or The Wire.

Getting back to readin slowly after the Mik Herron splurge. Started reading Change Agent Daniel Suarez which has yet to grip me but I have not given it enough attention yet.

I wanted these weeknotes to spur me on to writing other things to. The habit/Sunday evening phone reminder has worked for these but not managed to write anything else. Not there yet. Hoping to get some inspiration for Phil Gyford.

‘I’m trying to break free from the routine of weeknotes while still keeping blogging. The self-imposed obligation to post something every Sunday was sometimes a little chore, and sometimes there just wasn’t much to say. Other times, bits of a weeknotes post felt like they should be posts in their own right.’

Phil Gyford

He seems to have managed it but then he is more interesting and erudite than I. Then again it is not like anyone else is reading these so I should just publish them FFS. Be bolder in 2019 or something like that.

Weeknotes 30/12/2018 – Week 17

Last full week of 2018. Only one day in work on Xmas Eve. A slow, quiet day with only half the office in attendance. Had a bit of a think about what needs to be achieved next year and more so where we need to improve around product delivery.

Christmas Eve Evening spent in the pub with friends and their kids. 6 boys all sat quietly on iPads is bliss for adults in pubs. Then back home for a bit of Santa preparation.

Christmas Day we spent alone as a family for the first time ever. Presents opened, breakfast then a walk to the park. A couple of drinks in the pub then home for dinner and a lazy day. Lovely.

Boxing Day we hosted Bev’s parents, Sister and her two kids. Buffet style lunch, afternoon games, a trip to the pub for the Dad’s to watch some football and see some other Dad’s. Back (just) in time for buffet style tea.

28th Was a vist to see my parents, Sister and her three kids. A day trip to Tew kesbury and back. More family, more food, more kids enjoying themselves (and getting more presents).

29th a night out with the boys. Annual tradition of getting together between Xmas and New Year. Watched Liverpool thrash Arsenal then headed to Kelham Island for too many drinks.

Now the week is nearly over. Watching The Sisters Brothers, which I read the book of just a few weeks ago. Pretty good although quite different from the book which I am a little confused about. Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly excellent as the eponymous brothers.

Going to do a little end of year write up tomorrow too. Maybe some resolutions or more like some plans for the year ahead. Run more, read more, write more, be a better dad, that kind of thing.

Weeknotes 23/12/2018 – Week 16

Last full working week of the year is done. On Wednesday it was our Xmas do. A big quiz in the office, then a meal for 70 people and then a few more drinks around the beautiful city centre of Sheffield. Lots of sorry individuals the next day, including myself.

In more productive work news we ran a migration test on a huge change we are working on. The first run of it went smoothly but took 8 hours which is a bit too long. We ran it on a beefed up AWS box and it completed in under 4 hours…eventually. We managed to break it a couple of times while running it. One of our platform engineers managed to delete the database while it was still running. He was very apologetic and rebuilt the database. He also renamed it u-live-db-temp-dont-delete-knobhead-colin-cluster which amused me greatly.

Another big task was road mapping for the new year. An Idealised massive list of all the things we need to do. Divide by resource, sprinkle over some prioritisation sugar and you have an unrealistic set of probably not going to get done stuff. Splendid. Lots to still work on. How to represent non-development work? How to size things at such an early stage? How to focus on outcomes over a big list of projects and features? How to set up squads and teams on projects or products or platform? How many more staff do we need?

Outside of work I seem to have got a bit addicted to word puzzle apps. Crosswords, Type Shift and Wordscapes. Ruined my reading focus as I only finished a Mick Herron short of 60 pages. Need to fix that I think.

Ran up a few (small) hills for the first time in a while. It was painful but very glad I did it. Trying to get into a routine of running to work on a Monday and a Thursday (managed a PB this week). Then a longer hillier run on a Saturday morning in the build up to the Sheffield half marathon in April.

Exercise and diet going pretty well. On the way out of the house my youngest son told me I looked small. I assumed this meant he thought I had lost weight rather than a damning indictment about my leadership and authority.

Weeknotes 16/12/2018 – Week 15

Busy week at work. We have taken on a huge project into our squad which we are dependent on but it has hit us hard and delivery beckons. Got to get better at finishing things. Do less, better. Planning for next year has begun and the list of work to do is long. Our new technical delivery manager thinks we should sweep away that old list, start again and make a far shorter one. I like this idea as it feels like a clean slate and should allow us to better control what work is requested, started and finished. We will see how that goes.

Finished reading London Rules by Mick Herron. Only The Drop left to go of the Jackson Lamb series. Started watcing Queen of the South, which disappointingly is not a program about lower league Scottish football but a poor Narcos rip off.

It was my lovely wife’s birthday. Some friends came round for drinks Friday evening, first time entertaining in our new (year old) extension and it went really well. Saturday we went for lunch at Dore Moor Inn and it was one of the worst meals I have had. Abysmal slow and clueless service and then expensive terrible food. One meal got sent back for being cold (and only half of the order arriving), then two others were barely edible. Dreadful. Avoid.

To celebrate my 3 year anniversary of taking voluntary redundancy HSBC I went for lunch with another escapee. A cheeky portion of Bhaji fries and a lovely pint of High Wire at the Rutland Arms. A lot has changed in the last 3 years and I am very glad I left. I can go back now though so if anyone wants to offer me lots of money and a far less frustrating role than I had when I was there previously then offer away but I won’t be accepting said offer.

Weeknotes 09/12/2018 – Week 14

Crunch time at work. A couple of sprints from a big delivery date, I know this is not very agile but here we are. Think we will meet our goals but it might be a bit of a push.

This week I managed to get to a couple of talks, both on Wednesday. First up was James Boardwell speaking as part of the Sheffield Hallam University Curated By series. Thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Learnt a lot and also got nostalgic about some of the classics James was referencing. Think it may have sparked a future blog post about formative years.

Also went to see a talk at Agile Sheffield on User Research.
It was half presentation half workshop hosted by Claudio Pires Franco, who is currentlyu working with NHS DIgital (who are doing some brilliant work and have some brilliant people). Perfect subject for some work we are trying to do at the moment. Unfortunately there was not enough time to do the workshop parts fully. I think it was more of a half/full day kind of thing rather than two hours it was attempted in. Still well worthwhile though.

A lazy week exercise wise post the 10k run last Sunday. My parent were staying with us for week too which means babysitters on tap which means lots of chances to visit places with special taps. 

Watched Mission Impossible: Fallout which was boring. Tom Cruise was more enthralling in his recent video demanding people switch off the motion smoothing controls on their TVs. Not been reading much either. Half way through Mick Herron’s London Rules which is pretty good but is Brexit/Fuax Farage related and it feels a little forced and too close to real life but not real enough. Jackson Lamb still hilarious mind you.

Took a trip to Hillsborough to see Wednesday vs Rotherham. First half as bad a display as I have seen there. The last minute goal in the half really was not deserved. Two quick goals in the second half by Rotherham had the ground on edge. Boos aplenty for the Jos Lukuhay who is surely on his way out. The equaliser was deserved but the game was very poor standard. Won’t be rushing back.