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Blocked on Blogging

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Recently, I completed a number of arrangements to have more attention on a few projects that I consider the most important work for my continued vocation. 

That includes attention to my web sites, where I’ll be investing renewed attention, and my blogs, which need revitalization.

Although I have begun, I notice I’m not blogging about it.

That’s especially true at nfoCentrale Status

I know what the problem is in that case.  Although that blog tracks my activities and captures techniques to be reapplied elsewhere, the blog is not great as a reference.  The categories are out of hand and the archives are difficult to browse.  Then I let the setup fall into neglect, so now it is even more work to revitalize.

I have a solution for that.  It takes effort.  I will capture the important how-to techniques in web subfolders (what I call folios) so that there is an easy way to catalog and maintain the procedures and important clippings in an useful-to-me organization that I can always have access to.  That access is on the site and on my mirror of the site and in my source-code control system and system backups.  These provide mutual backups.  (My commitment to have the site and the blog serve static pages is part of that assurance.)

Besides nfoCentrale Status and Spanner Wingnut, the only functioning blog for non-development purposes is Orcmid’s Live Hideout on WordPress.  That blog is a stop-gap, created when Windows Live blogs were discontinued, strictly as an interim location until I manage to revive the intended permanent locations for those posts.  That has been delayed for a very long time.

There’s more coming.  It will be interleaved with other activities.  The ant is moving the mountain, one grain of sand at a time.  The ant is very determined.

I must declare bankruptcy for the timeline and work items of “Got SMRs?” and my 2011 nfoProjects Launch Sprint.  I have completely fallen off the cliff into the rapids and that timeline and its work items are DOA.  I will update the current spreadsheet timeline documents to reflect that sorry state.

All of the activities are relevant, but I have been completely distracted from them.  Furthermore, it is clear that I don’t have the capacity to forward them in parallel.  This may have to do with having too much work in progress as well as lacking a sustainable pace (a major discrepancy between my vision and my perfornance).

I shall tear down my planned structure and create a fresh one with an honest and workable critical path.  That means finding what there is that is essential and indeed critical.   One problem is that there is only one resource (me), so moving something off the critical path means putting it beyond the essential immediate.  The dependencies must work for that.  I suspect that means creating technical debt and I will have to risk-manage that too.

In particular, I am still shifting gears in 2011, and the support for that includes straightening out the blogs, web sites, and the development procedure for them.  Now to identify and work on the critical path for that, with the critical end point being whatever that much takes.

Onward …

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Got SMRs?

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Whenever I write “SMRs” I think of smores, the Graham cracker, Hershey bar, and toasted-marshmallow confection that my family learned on my sister Carol’s return from a Girl Scout Brownie outing.  I think our mother already knew of them, but my recollection is that’s when they entered my experience.

That is, perhaps, my playing with the notion of Specific Measurable Results, the outcomes in reality of defined, actionable tasks.  SMRs as tasty morsels.  I did not realize how much the term has been taken over by business-coaching lingo.  I confess to first hearing the expression in 1993, from Landmark Forum Leader Linda Zraik, and it was already a catch-phrase in that setting.

The combination came up for me today when I realized that my nfoProjects Launch Sprint is too airy and lacks SMRs for me to chew on.  Consequently, it is easy to let days go buy without measurable results.  That was happening here:

Noticing that everything slips with no SMRs to produce each step of the way.

I noticed this because there were no simple actionable work items that led to SMRs, even basic, produce-this-today ones. 

Looking more closely, the labels on the stages that the boxes represent are conceptual.  It made sense for envisioning and looking at opportunities in the available time, but that isn’t concrete enough.

Today, I have been stepping back to create SMRs for the stages themselves, and then for those individual results that I will produce on the path to the SMR of the stage.  

Although it would be wise to start at the end point of the Sprint and work backwards, I will fudge and start by looking closely at the stages that I am managing over the current fortnight.  I won’t go long without filling the gap from the objective back to what’s next right now, but I am forcing in some small immediate activities to ground my effort in the meantime.

The tracking spreadsheet is not going to include all of that detail.  I will use my Personal Kanban board to manage them in a fluid way and also ensure that I provide supplemental envisioning, planning, and reflection on a weekly basis.

I’ve been looking at all of the projects that I have and the number of burners there are for my efforts.

In the past week, I realized that I needed a consolidated plan with defensible, risk-managed timelines for getting to where I want to be on New Years Day, 2011: Launching a family of interoperability-centered tutorial, test-fixture, and reference-implementation projects around document formats and their processing.  (Hmm, short enough for an elavator speech but not something I would be able to recite at gunpoint.  Needs work.)

I have gathered my envisioning into a spreadsheet that keeps my commitment and my management of it in a structure that holds my vision in existence.  Here is the finish line and, at the bottom, where I am standing right now:

2011 nfoProjects Launch Crunch tracking-document extract

This is a high-level perspective.  I blocked out the calendar weeks and arranged more-or-less week-sized chunks in which to make headway along four tracks.  Since I am a solo developer, this is enough for me to follow and use as an instrument for keeping my eye on critical setbacks and interdependencies that I must keep my attention on.  There’s an opportunity for some Personal Kanban  and Personal Software Process.

The OpenDocument Format continuation work is related to my current involvement on the OASIS ODF and OIC Technical Committees, as well as the ISO/IEC JTC1 SC34 WG6 working-group for ODF maintenance.   As ODF 1.2 moves toward ratification as an OASIS Standard in early 2011, there is a hiatus that allows me to devote more attention to Interoperability and Conformance and the alignment of the ISO/IEC and OASIS efforts. 

The blog, web, and development system (Centrale) efforts have been identified here in a piece-meal fashion.  This three-track view provides my first projection of a coherent feasible structure on those activities.  There will be many opportunities for adjustment and course-correction as progress is made and details of further steps are reviewed.

In simply arranging these activities, I found how to avoid a situation in which I was retiring Compagno and in a sudden-death gap on being able to move everything I needed to the Windows Home Server.  This was definitely sky-diving without a parachute.  What I had not seen until I placed the activities in this form, is that Quadro, my Tablet PC, can mirror Compagno perfectly and also assist in verifying how migration from FrontPage to Expression Web can be accomplished while preserving practices that serve me too well for them to be abandoned without a fight.

I have also noticed, already, how having my eye on New Years Day gets me out of bed in the morning, excited to make further headway on these activities.

I will be reporting results and updates here on the week-by-week progress.  And, for those playing along from home, here’s the tracking document  on-line:

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As part of moving operation of the main nfoCentrale blogs to operation with Movable Type, the original blogs have been placed in various flavors of dormant state. 

Proof-of-concept confirmation of Movable Type workability has been completed.   Customization for the desired style and templates of the main nfoCentrale blogs is now under way.

Meanwhile, here is the the alphabetical run-down of the current status for all of the blogs.

Kiln Sitter’s Digest [Dormant: to be revived under Movable Type]

This blog is dormant pending introduction of a Movable Type version with comparable style.

nfoCentrale Status [Active]

This is a new blog created for confirming Movable Type installation and configuration.   It is now used to provide status information for nfoCentrale blogs and for the ongoing development of nfoCentrale sites.  It’s customization is only loosely-connected with that for the other blogs of this family.

Numbering Peano [Dormant: to be revived under Movable Type]

This blog is dormant pending introduction of a Movable Type version with comparable style.

Orcmid’s Lair [Dormant: to be revived under Movable Type]

This, my original blog, is dormant pending introduction of a Movable Type version with comparable style.

Orcmid’s Live Hideout [Unwanted: to be scavenged and then abandoned]

This blog was an experiment using Windows Live Spaces.  This blog is dormant pending its eventual retirement.

Professor von Clueless in the Blunder Dome [Dormant: to be revived under Movable Type]

This blog is dormant pending introduction of a Movable Type version with comparable style.

Pursuing Harmony [Dormant: to be revived under Movable Type]

This blog is dormant pending introduction of a Movable Type version with comparable style.

Spanner Wingnut’s Muddleware Lab [Active]

This is the first dormant Blogger-generated blog to be revived as a Movable Type blog.  Its revival confirmed the creation of multiple blogs under different domain names under the same web server account.  This blog is used to confirm blog configuration and template customizations before the arrangement is used to clone the revival of remaining dormant blogs.

Blog customizations continue to be explored using Spanner Wingnut.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Numbering Peano category.

nfoCentrale Status is the previous category.

Orcmid's Lair is the next category.

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