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speaker

Weekly post 28th of September 2018

Welcome

Welcome to my weekly post. In this posts I share thought and ideas or fact that I have experienced during my last working week. If this is the first post of this kind, I suggest you to go and check out my latest posts too:

These small posts are aimed at new developers and people that want to learn what I believe to be important events that happened during my week.

I really hope you enjoy it, and as with every of my post, I look forward to see feedback and comments.

Farewell comrades

Unfortunately no matter how great a business actually is. There are times when colleagues decide to take a different career path that will inevitably will see them leaving the company.

In this instance, unfortunately my colleague was looking for a technical stack that we were not able to offer, and I was more than certain that this moment would have happen soon.

I did not have the greatest relationship with this colleagues, as in many times during the first few months of employment, I had to have many discussion about work ethic and other more delicate subject.

Unfortunately this is part of my job, and even if I am not proud of it, it is normal for some people to feel some resentment, but this case was different.

I was initially surprised that my colleague decided to tell me first about his departure, even before his team mates and functional lead. Then he unexpectedly gave me a most welcoming hand shake and thanked me by saying:

Thank you for everything you have done. You have managed to change me, and change me for good! I will never forget itColleague

This experience though me a great lesson. Sometimes we may think that our actions may have no consequence or have a negative effect, but in reality they could actually change someone else to shape their future.

Fresher week

This week, all over the UK, first year students are celebrating their arrival to their chosen university. This week, apart from the great vibe and freebies I could fetch all over town, I was actually involved in a presentation to Computer Science students at the University of Wales Trinity Saint Davids (UWTSD).

I presented with one of my colleagues, and it was great to be able to share ideas and tips to people, and hopefully, give them the opportunity to come and join our company.

While walking around the theatre, I could feel the eye focusing on us, I could feel the thoughts running in peoples minds. I hope to have succeeded to spark some interest, and hopefully give them good tips that will help them in their career path.

At the end of the day, no one can really know what lies ahead, but I know deep inside that I have done my part and I wish all those students the best possible outcome!

Keep organised

While I was preparing the above presentation for the University students, I realised being organised, is probably my strongest skill. If you have ever worked with me, you may know that I am old school and always walk around with my little agenda.

Today I am going to share the methodology used to organise my busy work schedule and small tips that could help you becoming more organised.

This is just a quick guide, for a complete guide I need a standalone post, please add a comment or ask on twitter if you are interested.

My organisation is an adaptation of the Bullet Journal. I should probably thank them for my success, and without their ideas I would probably still be using the agenda normally, loosing out it all the great feature that I now use on a day to day.

During the next few sentences, you may start to think that I am crazy, but I really urge you to keep reading and try it, because it is not actually hard to implement and the results are amazing.

Index

All my agenda’s start with a few pages that are initially empty. This pages will store my index with all relevant titles and page number. This is essential when the agenda start to get full. Differently from a normal usage of an agenda, pages will live for a long time, and you need to know where they are ( it also remind you of what information you have stored).

Usually a couple of page are enough to cover all my agenda (4 pages for just in case).

Week by week

The index pages are usually followed by the first “Week page”. Each of this page begins with a title that indicate the date of Monday for each week. For example this week would be titled “WC 24th Sep 2018”. I usually write the title on the top right so that they are away from the rest of the page ( that gets messy).

This page include all the “action” that I need to take throughout to week and all the one that were not completed on the previous one. This is my first tip “If you are not immediately starting an action, WRITE IT DOWN!”

I write tasks like:

  • Answer john question
  • Send email about X
  • Complete epic X

All tasks here need to be concise and tangible. I would never write anything that could have no end! This page is essential, because it will show you everything that you have done during your week.

More importantly, it will highlight if you have not been able to complete the action that you were planning to do at the start of the week! (there is more to this, and I suggest you to check out the website).

Backlog

This is an agile term that can be described as:

An accumulation of works waiting to be done or orders to be fulfilled.wikipedia

This will be the first page that we add in our index. The backlog will include tasks that you have NOT been able to complete in the “Week page” and that may have low priority at the moment.

If i personally move something in the backlog, I feel really bad, because it means that I am falling behind, or that I did not focus and managed my action properly.

When you have quite times, or when you have the ability to do some extra work, you can easily go back to the backlog and move the tasks into the Week page. (When this happen, this is a good moment).

Special event / meeting

This is probably the most important point of my agenda. I fill it up with meetings and “recurring” action that need a specific point. This is easier to explain by actually sharing a few pages that I have an its needs. Each of this entry need to be added in the index page.

  • Chapter meeting – This page is used to add information that you would like to share during the chapter meeting. It is very useful for information that you want to share and it will help you in be consistent in delivering information to your team.
  • Functional Members – I am a functional lead, and as such I need to take care of my members. I like to write down Good and Bad events. This information NEED to be written down, otherwise you will surely forget about them! And for my past experience, they are extremely appreciated!
  • Specific meetings – I have on average 4-5 meeting a day, and I do not actually use a page for each them, otherwise the agenda will last me a week. I just record meeting in which decision where taken and or assumption where made. It is important to remember what was agreed when the time comes for the work to actually take place.
  • 121 – This is another important page for me. Keeping track of even that I want to share with my functional lead. There is nothing worst that meet your functional lead and say “I have nothing to say”. We all have something to say, we just do not remember!

Summary

This week post has 3 different posts and it is not easy to find a specific topic. I really hope you have found any of the above interesting and I look forward to receive comments and suggestion.

With this I salute you and I wish you a fantastic weekend.

 

 

 

 

Conference presentations – behind the scene

A few months ago, I was delighted to be part of the amazing DDDnorth conference that took place in Bradford. This time, I was actually facing the attendees as I was taking the role of speaker for the first time.

It was a truly amazing experience, and I want to share my afterthought with you all, in the hope that I will be able to convince some of you to take this extra step in your career.

The hidden Iceberg – The preparation

Many website accept your talk from the abstract ( a few hundred words to explain the content of your talk), and many speaker actually do not prepare the actual talk until their talk has been submitted. I thought that was just my mistake, but it seem to be a big mistake from newbie that I am not going to repeat again.

The actual preparation that goes behind a conference session is immense. I have spent almost 25 hours changing and adapting the Powerpoint and another 20+ repeating it over and over until I got it just right. It would have been fine if you share this over an extensive period of time, but do it between being approved and the actual talk ( less than a month) was not a great idea, and I really suggest you all to learn from my mistake!

I have been lucky to keep an initial copy of my presentation, and I have been able to compare it with the final one. It is admirable how much it changed. I am not just talking at the actual design of the slide or the odd pictures, but the overall content and message that the presentation broadcast to the audience.

This is probably one of the main reason why sometimes the abstract can be quite different from the actual presentation.

A journey to self discovery

Writing an abstract to submit a Call for paper (CFP), is quite easy. We all have our “special” topic that we like to discuss, or a personal experience that we want to share, and this is usually good enough to draft down the bare bones of a presentation. But the real work needed to actually create enough content to present a whole session is a different story.

Spending time, trying to put your thought on paper is not easy, I actually felt the pain of all writers, that have something beautiful stuck in their head, and do no know the best way to share it with others. Luckily I was surrounded by great people, I would ask you all to ask and get people involved, because there is nothing better to actually share your thoughts to give you the energy and the power to continue and make a great presentation.

When I applied to be a speaker, I actually thought to know enough on the topic, and did not think that I needed to do any research, but I was completely wrong. You can never know too much! I have learned so much on my specific topic, and the feedback from other speaker was completely the same! Some people have even confessed, that the main reason why they speak at conference or write blog post is to “force” themselves to actually research and study specific topics in details.

The main event

There are no nice words that I can share, or special powder that will save you from the “Speaking anxiety”. Some people are affected more than others, and luckily I coped very well with it.

If Anxiety does hit, I can only suggest to remember that it is too late to back now, so do you best, if thing goes wrong, just work hard and try again! We are all humans after all!!

In my case, I felt amazingly energetic after I started my session. For the first time I really felt like all the preparation, all the hard work and all the hours talking by myself were finally worth it! Having lots of people staring at you can be scary, but remember that people are not there to judge you, but they have joined your session because they think you and your topic are worth the time!

The actual talk and questions time will fly! You will not believe how quick it will be before someone will warn you of the time!

The after event will be the best part of the conference for you, it is the time to try and get as many feedback as possible, because do not forget that the aim is always getting better and improve, so even if you did something wrong, you just need to focus and see what you can do to improve and not focus too much on the actual mistake!

Conclusion

I have personally loved it, and I cannot wait to do it again. The amount of work that goes behind it is incredible, so make sure you are really ready for it, and give 150% of yourself, but do not let this get you down because the personal satisfaction is the feeling of accomplishment that you receive at the end cannot be explained!