August 23, 2012

Filters

Posted in General, Uncategorized tagged , , , at 9:44 AM by Solutions2Projects, LLC

Last year I took my son to a leadership training program for kids presented by Jim Wiltens.  Jim offers corporate and academic programs (per his website) and we had the opportunity to participate in a four week parent/child program at a local school.  The program was on Wednesday nights from 6:30-8:30 which was pretty tough after a long day at work and I often felt that while there was some good material in the program, that it was a sales pitch for his summer camp for kids in the High Sierras (which appeared to work as my son did attend a two week session this summer).

One of the things he covered during the class had to do with filters.  No, not camera filters or pool filters but the filters through which we observe things that happen and pass us by in life.  Jim encouraged the kids (and parents) to write down all of the things they want to do in their lives, both big and small, and create what one might morbidly call a bucket list.

The reason for this was that when you write something down it becomes more concrete and real.  And by doing so, you start to pay attention to things in life a bit differently.  Where you might not have noticed something before, you now might notice it because you have adjusted your filters.

We’ve all heard the example of when you buy a new car, let’s say a red BMW, all of a sudden you notice all of the red BMWs out on the road.  Or when you are expecting a child, all of a sudden all you see are pregnant women and babies.  This is because your filters have changed.

While my son wrote down his list in a brand new journal as part of his assignment, unfortunately, he hasn’t revisited the list to remind himself of what he wanted to do.  I, on the other hand, have revisited my list to remind myself and keep my filters adjusted.  It is so easy to fall back into complacency and the day to day routine and forget about other things you want to do.

So, give it a try.  Start writing down some of your dreams, no matter how big or small, in a journal or your iPhone.  Revisit the list daily or weekly (without stress or pressure) and see what starts to appear.  Perhaps you notice a posting for a French tutor at a local coffee shop or learn about an apartment in Paris not advertised through normal channels…things you wouldn’t have noticed if you hadn’t written down a goal to live in Paris for an extended period of time.   Á bientôt!

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August 16, 2012

Recreating the Wheel

Posted in IT tagged , , , , , at 1:22 PM by Solutions2Projects, LLC

I love documentation and I won’t apologize for it.  Documentation saves time and leaves space to think through the tough issues. 

In IT, documentation is often a four letter word because documentation  isn’t as much fun as playing with technology.  I understand this. 

But, how often have you had to rethink a process or fumble through something that you haven’t done in a while?  How much time was spent on this that could have been reduced if there had been a specification document or work instruction?  What about when key personnel leave and they take their knowledge with them?

Recently I worked with a client on a system that I hadn’t touched in over two years.  Fortunately, I had documented the process and had a work instruction for it and was able to quickly answer the question and address the issue.  If I hadn’t, we would have had to contact support, wait on hold to get through two to three levels of support to get to the answer.  This was assuming it was during the right support hours. 

Another client is struggling to recreate processes performed by technical personnel who have left the company. And, because it was a small IT department, this person was solely responsible for performing some technical tasks and didn’t write anything down.  We are now in the process of starting from scratch to figure out how to get the work done with, of course, a very short timeline. 

The extra time it takes during an initial project implementation to document the system, configuration, and work instructions is less expensive and less time consuming in the long run and not nearly as painful as one might expect.  The documentation doesn’t  have to be formal or complicated; it just needs to impart the necessary information so that others do not have to recreate the wheel.