Blame it all on my roots

This little march down memory lane has been refreshing. I have remembered a few things I had forgotten.

  1. I like using song lyrics as section headers – this started with my grad school papers eons ago.
  2. I have been in iterative design and development for a long, long time – kind of nice to find more legacy artifacts.
  3. Pictures, pictures, pictures! Oh my goodness these are spread throughout my hard drive.
  4. A lot of things changed during my tenure at my latest gig. It is more than a little unsettling to put it all together.
  5. I think in dates. Give me a date and possibly an experience or question and I can tell you everything I was doing that day. This is scary!

 

What a long strange trip it’s been…

One the biggest challenges I have with my resume is traversing up and down the communications stack. When I started, there wasn’t an internet. People were struggling with the closed systems that represented the communications channels in those days.Email? There wasn’t any.
Okay, maybe a little. I was at the university and we were using VAX systems. I remember notes were handwritten – er taken in shorthand, transcribed into an email and forwarded to the appropriate ‘routing list’. We managed these ‘routing lists’ in steno pads in the administration office. We were bleeding edge.
The commands we had to execute to get that email from my desk to the Dean’s office was ridiculous. Today, I send emails that are shorter in length than the mere command was to make the connection in those days.
We had to use these communication tools to stay in contact with the other campuses, but it was truly a challenge.
There was no constant link. To connect, you had to know the commands to open the socket, make the connection, upload the changes and download any updates. Yes, it was as manual as that sounds. I have a notebook, somewhere, that deciphers what each of those connection sounds meant. Man do I not miss that world.
I remember being thrilled when I had mastered the whole mail thing. I really believe it was this ability to digest the technical information, translate it into human-being language, and execute is how I got the job managing the pc labs at the university until I finished my master’s degree. This was unheard of since I was a business major and there was an erroneous expectation that only engineering students could understand the magic that happens beneath the surface.
But I got it. It makes sense to me. I used to spend my Friday nights, manning the lab and teaching the computer scientists how to email their ‘whatever file’ to wherever. Typically, I could barely understand what their files said, but I could sure help them get it shipped to wherever. It always amused me that they could do their work, but had no idea how to use the vax utilities.
Just about the time I had it down to an art and was providing coaching sessions Friday nights and weekends, it was time to move to IMAP (Unix). Half of the recruiters I have spoken to in the past two weeks weren’t even alive when this was happening in my life. May the complexity remain buried for them.

 

Job descriptions ugh!

Why I write in notepad rather than the web ui.
I always need to roll back!

I am in the midst of the job search. Joy of joys!
Means I am reading job descriptions. The problem with the descriptions is they rarely reflect the actual activity.
Add to the problem I am having to update my CV and explain it to the world, I am getting a little frustrated.

Had an appointment with a recruiter yesterday. Wouldn’t say it went incredibly well.
Okay, the first half hour was okay – the account manager had some specifics she wanted to discuss.
The opportunities are great fits, but –
1. I am on hiatus for x length of time. Unless blah, blah, blah
2. I am not doing that commute – you cannot pay me enough to do that drive daily!

The recruiter and I were left to discuss.
I really felt like this was a pity meeting because she had been given my resume 2 months ago when my other account guy moved onto something else.
We never connected.
When I found out about my end date, I reached out to my network. I have more than a few friends who work there and like working with me. She started getting bombarded with my resume.

Last week, we scheduled two appointments.
She missed the first one because of parking. I totally get it.
I cancelled the second one because it was at the end of the day I was waling out the door. I get EQ points for recognizing that fact.

This week we met, yesterday.
I was early. I did not want a recurrence of the parking fiasco last week.

Let’s just say, we didn’t hit it off.
She printed my resume as we walked into the room.
She made a lot of notes during our conversation.
She provided me feedback and gave me samples of resumes that had recently been placed in scrum master roles.
She provided harsh criticism. Well deserved? Maybe, maybe not.

I read the samples.
Good heavens! These look like a laundry list of activities I classify in the category ‘other duties as assigned’.

Back to the drawing board.

Below is a scrum master job description:

**Need Locals and Face to Face interview is required**Required Skills:
***MUST HAVE VERY STRONG WRITTEN AND VERBAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS***
3 years as a Scrum Master, not a Project Manager that ran scrum meetings, a designated scrum master.
Experience working on customer-facing applications (web and/or mobile)

Additional Skills:
Certified Scrum Master (CSM)

Job Description:
– Senior Scrum Master

Description:

The Customer Systems team at Client is responsible for continually enhancing our website, mobile apps and the applications our employees use to provide excellent customer service. We believe that routinely shipping increments of functionality, collaboratively planning and working to continuously improve will allow us to deliver innovations to our customers more often.

As a Scrum Master at Client you will be responsible for being the rock-star facilitator between development teams and product owners while remaining the shining example of Agile Scrum. You will be expected to hold the standard Scrum events, assist product owners with achieving a well-groomed backlog, removing impediments, and empowering your team(s) to continually evolve. 

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES:
Facilitate the Agile Delivery Practice
– Facilitate sprint planning, daily stand-up meetings, reviews/demos,
retrospectives, and release planning meetings for 2-3 product teams 
– Track and communicate team commitments, velocity and sprint/release progress
– Remove or escalate team impediments that jeopardize sprint goals
– Ensure the development teams are practicing the Agile principles
– Identify, suggest and collaborate with development and product owner on measurable
improvements for the team(s)
– Coach, train and support other scrum masters within the organization

Support the Product Owner
– Promote and contribute to the betterment of the product backlog 
– Promote and contribute to internal and external communications, improving
transparency, and radiating information 
– Facilitate value-based prioritization and resolution for new stories

Support the Product Team
– Participate proactively in developing and maintaining team standards, tools, and
best practices
– Identify and escalate and remove impediments to sprint goals 
– Facilitate discussion and conflict resolution
– Empower the team to self-organize
Other duties as assigned
– Embody the Alaska Spirit and conduct oneself with Professionalism, Integrity,
Resourcefulness, and Caring

Qualifications
– Bachelor’s degree or combination of relevant education and experience required
– Minimum 3+ years of experience as a Scrum Master required
– Minimum 5+ years of experience in technology industry and customer-centric
applications required
– Comprehensive understanding of Agile, Scrum XP software development methodologies,
values, and procedures required
– Certified Scrum Master (CSM) is preferred
– Excellent interpersonal skills, ability to work with diverse personality types
– Ability to understand technical issues at a high level
– Exceptional communication, organization, and time management skills
– Ability to lead and coach the team to reach their highest potential
– Collaborative approach to driving decisions
– Strong analytical and problem solving skills with a high attention to detail
– High school diploma or equivalent required
– Minimum age of 18
– Must be authorized to work in the U.S.

When you whine, I listen

Set the stage – for the last year the most uncooperative, self-important person I have ever encountered  has been talking about how awful the new  infrastructure is and how painful the process has been.

Every time she whined, I paid attention.  The negativity is annoying, but there are nuggets in those statements.  The way I see it?  Listening to tales of woe are invaluable when you are doing a task or designing a task.  If I can avoid encountering those issues by preparing on my side, the whole painful process will be less disruptive to productivity.   In days of yore, we called this pre-processing.  I think one of the buzzwords is operational excellence.

The little task I was bragging about yesterday?  She started that process last February!  I think she completed it in January.  I forgot.  I don’t really care.  The only reason I know about is frequent audits of her historical artifacts identifies missing responses from my teams.

I started the task on January 26, 2016.  I negotiated to minimize the impact on team operations.  The development team made my site read-only last Thursday – St. Patrick’s Day 2016.  Cool.  This is a system, infrastructure migration, a little maintenance time is necessary.  We didn’t decide to do this.  TPTB did.  We are merely complying.

I am proud to say that I was able to complete the mirrored migration in less than a week.  It isn’t a brand, new, beautiful, fully-functional site, but it is enough to keep us working in a brave new world.  I am readying myself for the adoption complaints, but that is when I see opportunities for improvement!!

Here’s a little insight into me, when you whine, I listen and learn….

 

2015 – I am healthier

So it is that amazing time of year where everyone starts to look back on the year that has passed and evaluates.  It is inevitable.  If you don’t, you should.

This year, I set some goals for myself.  I didn’t publish them, against all of the evidence provided by the experts telling me this is the best way to make them accountable.

I am proud to say that I more than surpassed my expectations in the most important goal I set for myself – to be healthier.  I am proud to say I am.

This one is really easy to identify.  I was so overweight and out of shape that I couldn’t do things I wanted to do.  Now I can and it is easy to see the progress if you haven’t seen me in awhile.  Will I now be ‘checking the completed box’?  No.  This goal is a lifestyle change that must become a habit, so it will never be checked off completely.  All I can do is measure the progress and I am okay with that.

Stitch Fix Number 2

A couple of months ago someone introduced me to Stitchfix.  I returned most of the first shipment, the choices really were not me.   I thought I would give it one more try, before completely debunking the validity of the concept.  The second shipment was much better.  Below are some examples of what I was able to do with the pieces I received and using other items already in my closet.

I owned the jacket and the freshwater pearls in just the right shade of brilliant blue.  For work, I will put the set together with dress pants – in this shot, I added black ones because they were handy .  My thought is it will pair nicely with jeans too.

DSCN1452

Ironically the person who turned me onto Stitchfix has a very similar blouse that I have commented on in the past.  I will tell her it was selected for me, all I did was choose to keep it.

Another item in the shipment was a pair of completely out of my comfort zone pants.  I tried them on.  My husband said they looked nice.  I chose to keep them.  The beauty of this is they go with a bunch of items in my wardrobe.  Below is one of the outfits I put together by raiding my closet.

DSCN1457

I already owned the navy blue jacket and blouse.  Earlier this year I started viewing navy blue as a neutral and started purchasing wardrobe pieces This pair of pants fits with that theme perfectly.  I considered using the button-up sleeveless blouse from my shipment, but that just feels like too much blue on blue on blue.  I think I need the white to break it up, but we shall see.   If I actually try the blue on blue on blue, I will post a follow up picture.

Overall, I am impressed with my StitchFix experience and am actively updating my communications with my stylist.  My thoughts are she did quite well with minimal knowledge, let’s see what happens with more data.