Recently in compagno Category

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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Scampo Setup on Centrale I have a serious itch to move from Scampo to a fire-breathing multi-core Windows 7 development platform.

Although I have my eye on some contenders (basically a hot Dell XPS 9100 or its comparable Alienware Aurora configuration), I must resist making the jump.  Although I will likely upgrade before the end of 2010, there are some things I need to keep my eye on.

Core Scampo Functionality

Before I cut loose from Scampo, I must remember that there is on-going use of this Gateway 831GM Media Center PC running Windows (Media Center) XP SP3.  As much as I want to be on Windows 7 and desire to be able to upgrade to tools that are no longer supported on Windows XP, there is some baggage.

  • An E-MU 1820M that I need to move to Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit (and there are new drivers available, and Cakewalk Sonar will support the 64 bit operation).  I must make sure that the upgrade has slots and connectors for the 1820M PCI boards.
      
  • My Hewlett-Packard ScanJet 7400C, although a little long in the tooth, is still my primary scanner and it will need to run on the upgrade (name yet to be chosen).
     
  • Battery Backup may need upgrading to handle the 550-850 watt power-supply, depending on configuration.  Apparently, some of the higher-performance machines will see spikes on backup kick-over and shut down.  That is an additional problem, as well as making my office setup provides enough power through the outlet cluster my computing equipment is dedicated on.
       
  • Centrale Network HubGigabit Ethernet?  A router/hub upgrade to provide Gigabit Ethernet connectivity to the Windows Home Server might be wise.  The greater capacity of the new development engine, with multiple virtual machines for interoperability testing and confirmation of software porting on multiple platforms may stress the WHS capacity.  There may need to be some upgraded drives and perhaps even an upgraded WHS machine.
      
  • Although not part of the initial upgrade, the desire is to eventually upgrade from 24” to a larger monitor (at least 27” but 30” preferably) once they are more affordable and Energy Star compliant.  The upgrade will have the graphics power necessary for that and for multiple monitors, even if the completion of upgrading is later.

Obsolescence Staging

Although I want to deal with fundamental system configuration and upgrade issues, there are also problems of preserving in-progress project and dealing with my current dependence on software that will have to be changed-out as part of platform upgrading.

  • Microsoft Money is now on life support.  I still use it and have not migrated to Quicken.  I doubt that the version I have will run very well on Windows 7 (although it might on the Windows XP VM that will be provided).  I need to be prepared to do a financial software migration along with or prior to pulling the plug on Scampo.
      
  • Microsoft FrontPageMicrosoft FrontPage and web-development Issues.  It appears that Microsoft FrontPage and FrontPage extensions don’t operate properly between a Compagno on Last LegsWindows 7 system and a Windows XP SP3 machine running IIS and the FrontPage extensions.  This may also be related to issues with regard to Visual SourceSafe integration.    There is a long-overdue retirement of Compagno that moves the IIS development web to WHS, moves VHS support, and then moves from FrontPage use to Windows Expression for continuing web development.  I can’t stop web development using Windows XP SP3 until I accomplish that transition.  It will be an eventful November-December 2010 because of this issue alone.
       
  • Microsoft Office 2007/2010 Upgrading.  Because I run two copies of Outlook, one on desktop, one on laptop, I must have the same version of Microsoft Office, with Outlook, on both machines so I can move my .pst files back and forth.  I am on Office 2007 now, but my Windows XP SP3 Tablet PC does not handle Office 2010 well enough for me to do a synchronized move to Office 2010.  It is also a pain to run multiple versions of Office on the same platform, another reason why I want to have a VM-capable development machine. 
        
    I need to be running 2010 and beyond for interoperability testing purposes, but I will have to stay on Office 2007 as my working installation simply because of the need for Outlook parity.  At some point I would like to have a single PST that is on the traveling machine, but I can use it from the desktop when I am in the office.  If I keep the PST on the traveler, using it in the office by remote-desktop is an option but it may not go quite so well with the degree that I use copy-and-past between Outlook and other applications.  A weird but promising solution would be to run Exchange server on a future traveling replacement for my current Tablet PC, and then I would have full Outlook access to it locally and from my office desktop when I’m at the home office.
      

There are probably more considerations and setbacks I have to deal with.  But this is enough top-level to serve as a reminder that I can’t just throw a switch and have a shiny new high-performance development system up and running.  I must address the staging issues.  And I shall.

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[update 2010-08-23T04:14Z I realized, when posting about additional web-development categories, that I can seed the unseeded subcategories simply by using the seeding post: this one.  This repost is strictly to accomplish that.]

As part of the nfoCentrale anchor-site stabilization, I am seeding all of the new categories I have established.  This will cause each category subfolder to be created and populated as part of the nfoCentrale Status blog structure on the hosted site.  I will then bring those folders under the construction-structure management of the nfoCentrale anchor site.

I have been quietly repaving the nfoCentrale anchor, as part of bringing a systematic sites cleanup and repaving under a single coordination point.

I will also be experimenting with alterations of Movable Type templates here and on Spanner Wingnut in preparation and confirmation of the stages to be undertaken in the systematic re-animation of my now-dormant blogs.

Although this seems to be a diversion from the task of restoring blogs, and I have this pent-up urge to be posting anew on them, this repaving work is crucial for providing me a place where I capture my experience and arrive at a guide that I can follow systematically.  This is also a precaution against any future situation where I need to do more of this, whether because of upgrading to new releases of Movable Type, porting to a new hosted site, simply adding more blogs, or integrating with new, now-unanticipated content-management facilities.

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