Wonder if…

Windows 10 upgrade hosed my mail on my android device?

This morning, randomly I could no longer retrieve email from my phone.  Not a happy camper.  I have an amazing husband.  He took my device after I whined something about lugging a boat anchor around.

Through his dedication to solving the problem – it took hours – he got it fixed.  It just hit me, I wonder if the ‘known issue/unknown resolution’ hiccup we encountered is related to the Windows 10 upgrade I just did?  Hmmmm

 

This is happening…

Since the last time I sat down to blog, I have accomplished a lot.  Probably why I haven’t found the time to blog.

Recent events caused a complete upheaval for one of my family members’ travel plans.  I am so sorry they weren’t able to make it home to celebrate our mother’s ninetieth birthday, but it has evolved into a full-blown family reunion.  First one in almost twenty years!

Seizing the opportunity, I approached the family about planning a get-together to celebrate all of the parents’ milestones this year, but in one fell swoop.  It is difficult to get all of us together in one place, at one time.

Quickly, I identified everyone’s schedules to consider.  This was so much easier when all of the grandchildren were kids and the parents had a lot more control.  Now, everyone is a grownup, taking care of grownup things, so this task has become much more complicated.

I am proud to say that by the end of four days communicating, we were able to get the pillars in place that allow us to move on to the more interesting challenges with planning and executing a family reunion.

This sounds really mundane, but it isn’t.  We were able to agree on a date, location, schedule travel and other arrangements for 20 people in less than one week.  That is pretty impressive by itself, but toss in the fact this involves 4 different states, 10 professionals, 2 senior citizens, 2 teenagers and a couple of great grandchildren and the breadth of the task starts coming to light.

Family reunion, here I come!

 

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….

 

No whining

I need to brag just a little bit.  I just successfully completed migrating my team’s intranet from an old, old version of a sharepoint to a new version, with minimal interruption and downtime.  The average length of time to complete a migration has been 4 months.  We completed ours in less than 2, with minimal staffing.

To me, it is common sense.  Answer a few basic questions.  Find the right people.  Communicate and verify the messaging.

What do we need to save?  What can we eliminate?  How can we optimize the processes?  Who do we need to work with to get this thing done?

It is all about the relationships!  Last Friday, it was going south, quickly.  So, I reviewed the documentation, identified the key resource who should be able to help me, I followed defined procedure without complaining and BAM – today we are back in business on the new platform.

You’re welcome!

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Natural networker

This week was absolutely crazy, busy.  Nothing like hanging on in the middle of a storm.  This week, I helped bring on a couple of new team members to one of my teams.  I take a lot of pride in my onboarding process and it is really nice when someone truly recognizes the value.

Maybe that is the difference in the onboarding of seasoned folks verses initial entrances into a new career?  The folks who have significant, large organization experience seem to “get it” significantly better than the newer entrants.

Through this week’s experience, I was able to put my finger on another ingredient in my ‘secret sauce’ – networking.  It is all about networking.  The first couple of tasks open the gates to the network, but how those tasks get accomplished is through networking.

One of the guys told me I was a ‘natural networker’ and I took that as high praise and a smidgen of appreciation goes a long way.

What does this checkbox mean?

I get to the bottom of the form and see this checkbox.

Update_Customer_Record_BJs

Did I just create a new ‘Customer Record‘ on my account OR did I just update all of my account information with the form information I just submitted OR yet some other nefarious scenario I haven’t considered?

So frustrating.  Advice to small business ecommerce sites, eliminating confusing interactions will really help reduce the abandon rates and improve the completed transactions.

My secret sauce?

I have an onboarding process that works.  It is valuable because it gets everyone productive in a very short time frame.  So what is the one way to set me up to fail?  Drop the ball.

I gave them my checklist.  I have been defining, writing, revising, producing the right steps for years.  When I have the time, I use it to keep it updated.  Well, of late, I haven’t had any time to do that because I am already trying to complete an 80 hour per week job in 40 hours as it is, so there isn’t a lot of lull in my schedule that allows me to produce updated tools in one of the most evolutionary environments I have ever experienced!

The interesting part is that even with my checklists, they can’t execute.  The reason my process works is because I do it.  I personalize every encounter.

Why does this have to be done this way and in this order?  Well because I understand the cadence necessary to optimize the transaction.  Maybe it is my old school database theories rising up from deep in my soul, but ultimately I am trying to optimize the employe eXperience for the newest team member.

I need to work in a ‘trusted’ environment again.  When I look back on my career, I realize I was the happiest when I was deep in the belly of the beast and optimizing transactions.  In some way, this has tainted my view of the world.  I see everything I am doing as a transaction to be optimized; so if I can remove roadblocks to completing that transaction, shouldn’t I do everything in my power to do so?

But it is more than that.  In my effort to be effective and efficient, I try to never forget that these are not just messages I am sending about, these are people!  At every step of the way to get the job done it is all about the people and the relationships.  I think I am one step closer to defining my own personal secret sauce!

 

 

What does ‘pokey’ mean?

Essentially, I interviewed for the job I have been doing for the last five years to join the company as a full time employee.  What can I say?  I live in the land of reorganization, so there are always job openings and title changes.  It was communicated to me that they won’t be making me an offer.   At some level, I take that as a compliment, but I am still digesting the feedback.

I know the hiring manager and she was courteous enough to schedule a one-on-one debrief to provide me post-interview feedback.  To her credit, she had a checklist.  I was actually thrilled, hoping to get some constructive criticism that will help me rise to that next level.  We had a brief discussion.  For the record, it has absolutely nothing to do with my skills.  My skills and abilities were seen as stellar.

We had a good conversation and she did provide two specific examples of communications that were negatively interpreted during the entire interview process.  I get where she is coming from and it is probably best that I don’t get an offer, because I don’t think I truly could thrive tied to such a sensitive environment.

The whole application/interview process was disrespectful.  Looking back on this now, all of the scheduling/re-scheduling shenanigans that happened to get this thing on the books was a clear indication they truly were not interested in making me a full-time-employee.  If they were truly interested, they would have gone above and beyond to get it right, but they didn’t.  In the end, it feels like we only went through the exercise in futility so someone could keep their word.

Ultimately, I thanked her for the opportunity to interview and I walked away with a couple of things to think about.  The one item that continues to go over and over in my head was a slice of the direct feedback where I was informed that my relaying of the story about how mis-managed this whole process had been ‘felt a little pokey.’   My head almost exploded!  First, I was shocked at this response to my honest feedback about how the ‘we-want-to-hire-you-candidate’ was awful was not appreciated and second, the only pokey I could think of was from my childhood.

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Pacific NW Term: Moist

I couldn’t believe it, I used the word ‘moist’ today.   The bright side is I used it properly. It has been dribbling rain off and on all day long and this is the absolutely appropriate term to describe the day.

Growing up in the high desert, moist was one of those terms we only ever used when describing a washcloth or to create a giggle amongst our friends.  Moist was never a term I used to describe the weather.  Definitely one that has wormed its way into my vocabulary since relocating.

Today – Win Column

We had a new team member begin today.  For me, it is always kind of fun to help someone new start.  Maybe I have been in consulting too long.

Why I like to do on-boarding – I am good at it and it is completely measurable.  Value-Add is measurable.

If I can have someone new up and running, self-sufficient at the end of the first week – that is phenomenal!

It is easy when we bring on someone who has been contracting before – they ‘get’ it.

A new hire cannot be expected to do anything if they can’t access the tools – this includes knowing where they sit and ease of building access.  It is possible, although challenging.

It is so pleasant when the new team member remembers how painful on-boarding can be.

This year started out rough.  The first team member on-boarded after the mighty upheaval in organizational processes was more than a little painful.  It was so bad earlier this year that tears were shed.  That shall not happen again, on my watch.  It was a horrendously painful experience for everyone involved.   Save the drama!  My first goal is to eliminate externally caused drama, whenever possible.

A post-dramatic-event-root-cause-analysis identified plenty of process improvement opportunities for future team changes.

Today’s completely successful ‘one and done’ kind of on-board clearly identifies the value of the process improvements implemented.