Monday, 29 July 2013

To Scotland and Back

It's been quiet here recently, as you may have noticed...

We've made our annual trip to see my parents in Scotland, and a few people in England.

More to follow, but after getting back yesterday afternoon we have not had a chance to relax today. I was having more laser / electrolysis this morning, followed by shopping for food, a medical appointment, taking the shopping back as some of it was out of date and then collecting the cat from the cattery. There should be at lease one day I think between getting home and having an alarm going off early in the morning to announce a full day!

But...  A good trip, and some good news.

Be back soon, promise!


Saturday, 6 July 2013

Long hair is dangerous!

Really short post!

Firstly, well done Cass!  I'm really proud of you!

Secondly, I am in so much pain right now :) The smiley face is for the way I injured myself...

Whilst conditioning my hair this afternoon I reached behind my head to rinse the hair and... OW!!!

My right shoulder froze and I spent the rest of the time rinsing my hair going, 'ow, ow, ow, ow, ow'

Yup... I pulled my back out rinsing conditioner out of my hair. That's a new one, even for me!

That was about 8 hours ago and it still hurts now :(

Hopefully I am going to be able to run in the morning...  We'll see!



Actually, that's a lie - I've rarely  sneezed with this cold. It's much more of a blocked nose, sore throat type of cold.

Oh, and in the last week a hacking cough to go with it (it's lovely, I'm having a great time!).

And I've not worked out for two weeks. And it's driving me insane! Partly because I am far too obsessed with my weight, even though I know I shouldn't be, and partly because leaving the routing for two weeks makes it all the harder to get back into it.

So, what I have I been doing to fill my time instead of spending 175 minutes working out?

Well... Thinking about what to put into this post, and then not writing it down and forgetting it. (At the moment this may be a very short post :p )

After the migration of our Team Foundation Server last week I had a lot of loose ends to tie up. The rights issues have been ongoing all week. Nothing bad about them, just enough of them :) Actually, one of them was really hard. It was a buried role somewhere in the server and took me some searching and trial and error, but it was solved and people could work.

That left me time for the future. We use the TFS server for billing hours, source control, release management and (for one of the teams) grooming the product backlog.

New server, new ideas. Everything that we had done in the past was based on ideas that I have 6 years ago, and even those ideas were based on the mess left behind by previous people who didn't  know what TFS was and just did, well I don't know what.  I took me 6 months to get the machine into a usable state :)

So...  Lets start by seeing what we can keep standard (no point in customising something if there is no need!)  and what we have to make ourselves. So, we are going to use the Scrum 2.2 template for everything except the hours and release management. Those are specialised to our process and so are just additions to a standard template.  It keeps most things simple!

It was still a job of about 2 days to make sure I had everything as I needed it to be, but at the moment it seems worth it.

Of course in a month when we start to use it for real, e'll see if the new ideas are correct!  We're in the middle of the holiday period and I want to introduce it to as many people as possible at the same time. Except the hours - there are other pressure there so they had to be used as of this week.  That's right, the week before I made them :) So this week it's manual logging, and then everyone is going to have to manually enter there hours when the system is up and running again. Not great planning, but needs must, as the saying goes.

So what else?

Scrum Day!  Well, Scrum Day Europe! That's right, the day that caused me to breakdown just over a month ago was this week. And it was worth the wait.

In a nutshell:

  • We are doing good Scrum
  • We still have improvements
  • It doesn't matter about the size of the company - the theme was Scrum for the enterprise and the speakers spoke of the same issues we had with a company with 10 times the amount of people
And. Drum roll please!

I spoke to people. I know, that is a stupid thing to be proud of - but for me it is! On the train on the way there I was feeling nauseated about the thought of being at this conference by myself and knowing no one.

But, someone came and stood next to me whilst drinking my coffee when I arrived and I managed to strike up a conversation with her. We had a good chat about Scrum, project management and less work related things and then she asked if I minded her sitting with me during the keynotes. After that we got another coffee, discussed the keynotes and then went out separate ways for the 1st sessions.

I spoke during the first session - the speaker was trying to translate dakkappel into English and couldn't. So I helped her. Dormer window. Now, this is something else that I don't do. A room full of people and I bought myself to the rooms attention by speaking up.  Thank god for foundation, blusher and powder to hide blushing :)

Then a games session. The delegation game. What level of delegation do you give various tasks. I joined in the discussions and stated my case for the level of delegation I was suggesting. And then struck up a conversation with one of the other people taking part on the way to lunch.

Where I also struck up a conversation with a freelance consultant about our experiences of Implementing Scrum versus his. (And again, it seems that we are doing better than average in the time that we have had!)

A bathroom break, some water and I was listening to the edge of a conversation. It was an interesting conversation, but there was nothing that I could add so I stayed on the outside listening in. Until I one of their colleagues came up and struck up a conversation with me (he was also part of the delegation game). It seems that I now speak English with a Dutch twang (only the British notice this, the Dutch still think I speak in a very posh English accent). And we got chatting about various things (Scrum, Scotland and the weather there, general life things).

A few more talks and a CXO QA session and the day was over, except for drinks. I stayed with the people I was chatting with at the end of Lunch and we had a good laugh, I would have done for dinner with them in Amsterdam, but it was not going to be an early night, and my alarm was still going to go off at 5:45 the next day so I had to pass.  Unfortunately.

But, a nice end to a good day. Considering how I felt at the start, I came away really quite happy :)

Right, I think that I have bored you enough for today ;p And I have to load the car with the final load from the attic with a back that has just frozen up whilst rinsing my hair in the shower!

Oh, and after what I said at the start of the post - in between then and now I have actually started to work out again. 15 minutes cardio to start with and it was exhausting! But I'm glad I made a start. 7km tomorrow! Albeit very slow :)

Monday, 1 July 2013

Let's get moving

Where the hell does the time go these days? Just a couple of days ago, 2 weeks tops, it was the start of the year.  Now, not than a month later, it's suddenly July!

Did I sleep through all of those months (or do I just wish I did ;p)...

But. I'm another 6 months on. 6 months of seriously painful laser, and 1 session of more than painful electrolysis and a visit to a plastic surgeon. Whilst I've not been in a great place for the last 6 months I can see that things have been moving.

As for the hospital. Honestly I am not stressing any more about the lack of information. I'm tired from it all, and trying to recover from the stress, but the stress is not really there right now.

I am royally narked off though (Cass: there was almost another bad word there). My job is to plan things, it's to make sure that the processes we have are efficient, lack as much bureaucracy as possible whilst still providing the information that you need. And as much as I have been happy with what the gender clinic had done this far, this part of the process doesn't even seem to have a process. Hap hazard is an understatement. And it is for something that needs more than that.

So yes. The stress has made way for being royally pissed off... (There you go Cass)

And with the stress draining away a wonder virus seems to have taken it's place. There is a cold going around at the moment, and I guess that the stress has lowered my resistance to the point where the virus decided to take up residence.

So, exhaustion backed up by a bit of a head cold.

Well at least I didn't need to do anything and could just chill.


This week we moved our TFS server to our new environment, changing operating systems, SQL version and upgrading the TFS and SharePoint version at the same time. There have been enough practice runs for me to know it inside out, and we had some amazing help from an external consultancy (yes, we managed to find one that solved our problems, not added to them! Though out of all of the ones we looked for it was the only one that could!) and so I was as ready as I was ever going to be.

But, fuzzy head, blocked nose, tiredness and a throat full of razor blades was not going to help :)

So Friday I spent the day stressing about the migration, and trying to get as much organised as possible before actually starting.  But it worked! I had allowed myself time to do some cleanup before starting, but it was not needed - everyone had done it before I started.

And then... The second shift of the day - by the time I started I had already worked 9 hours - and after a bumpy start (the first DB backup did not work as I had hoped!) everything started to run.

By 23:00 I had got to the point where I could leave it to run overnight. Sleep!

The next morning I woke up really early, with the cold really going strong. A check on the migration (and again, a small hiccup, but nothing that caused lasting damage - I hope!) and then finish of the last steps. By 10:30 people were testing and by midday I was done for the weekend.

Now I'm just trying to get over the stress, cold and tiredness from the weekend.

Whilst finishing everything that I have to do in the next two weeks.

Oh well, no rest for the...