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Archive for January, 2019

Like many people working in technology, every year I assemble a summary of accomplishments for my annual review. It’s always interesting to take a long view look at things. This is especially true when you’re working on things with long lifetimes and uncertain outcomes.

Let’s look at the raw numbers:

  • 73 topics researched
  • 1 intern supervised / mentored
  • 11 independent projects led
  • 2 classes created
  • 3 classes updated
  • 8 classes taught
  • 61 student taught
  • 6 books reviewed for possible internal use
  • 2 standards bodies participated in
  • 1 ISO technical study group chaired
  • 18 project teams worked with
  • 12 first-line managers worked with
  • 4 upper-level managers worked with
  • multiple outside organizations worked with
  • 126 individual code reviews participated in
  • 29 internal trainings taken
  • 2 conferences attended
  • 2 Coursera classes taken

How can I be sure about these numbers? In a word, notebooks. I’m old school that way. It’s not that I don’t use technology for notes. I use Microsoft OneNote to track various subjects and lines of thought. URLs don’t really work in notebooks (or notes to Santa). But for daily tracking of thoughts and events, being able to pick up a pen and start writing is unequaled for me. I take my notebook to meetings preferentially. They don’t get IMs in the middle of meetings.

From these notebooks come my weekly status summaries. From those come my annual status summary document. If anything, my numbers may be a little low. There are times when I neglect to write in my notebooks.

2018 was a very busy year. Lots of overlapping projects in flight. Many of which produced their first fruits. Most of them were multiple years in planning and execution, requiring the efforts across many teams. I love it when a plan comes together. I had the opportunity to work with a cosmic boat load of teams.

It’s a pleasure for me to be asked to create and teach classes. I learn more about the subjects. I get to help improve other peoples’ skills.

Participating in conversations with the ISO C / C++ committees is always an education for me. It doesn’t matter how long I worked with a programming language, there’s something to learn, some new view or example that will help me teach others. It fun.

Participating in code review is much along the same lines. It’s a discussion with the code and the developer. Done properly, everyone learns something. And through the process, you get better code.

I read a lot, but usually that’s a person endeavor. Reading technical books for possible use by others within my organization either for general reference of in conjunction with a class is a different kind of reading. The scope, presumed background and audience are all very different from me just adding another chunk into my existing world map. I need books in support of individuals who need current reference materials. Sometimes I need them in support of technology which is vastly out of date.

One thing I don’t track are all the non-dead tree reference materials I review, summarize and pass along in support of the research projects or management requests for information that I do on a daily basis. On one level, this is a hole in my somewhat obsessive self tracking. On the other, doing so would be too much of an interruption to flow. This material, at least the good stuff, get tracked by subject in OneNote. Eventually, it’s either folded into supporting material summaries for management or put at the end of class material sections of for support and further reading.

Some of my most interesting work last year revolved around interactions with outside organization. Bringing technologies in to lighten the load and support group efforts is always satisfying.

As to what 2019 will be like, who can say. If it’s anything like 2018 was, there will be a lot to write about in next year’s review post.


image credit: Dustin Liebenow (creative commons)

 

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