Weeknote 13/2021: Project progress and procrastination

This has been a short week (with only 3 days at work) but I’m pretty pleased with what I achieved in that time:

  • Publishing the Architecture Toolbox I’ve been working on for a few months. That sounds a bit grand for what’s really just a library of re-usable artefacts but, hey! I finally realised that I can’t do everything (perfection is the enemy of good) so it’s time to let it fly and let others contribute…
  • Starting to get under the covers of a new engagement with a local authority client where we’re carrying out some digital service design. It’s fascinating for me to learn from my colleague Richard Quayle (@RichardSQuayle) around concepts like the locus of control, the negatives of a command and control structure (cf. Edward Deming’s approach), failure demand – and much more as we jointly deliver this Business Consulting engagement.
  • A very insightful chat with a client where we’re looking to engage around an Architecture service. It was refreshing to hear that they find TOGAF too conceptual and want to take a more pragmatic approach around EA on a Page (which I referenced in my post on developing IT architecture skills).

I’ve struggled with procrastination/distraction this week too. The challenges of back to back online meetings are obvious but it seems meetings spaced out through the day can be equally problematic. The challenge is that they leave no time to really get into flow before the next meeting is due.

Anyway, both of these cartoons resonated with me…

(in the week that a the MV Ever Given got stuck and closed the Suez Canal, for 6 days.)

Back in the world of work, Alex (@LyleD4D)’s lateral thinking let me embed an msteams:// link in a SharePoint page, by changing the protocol section of the URI to https://.

Meanwhile, my colleague Richard Kleiser (@ThatRichK) introduced me to this diagram from Dave Clarke, which attempts to visualise the concept of Enterprise Architecture:

And that reminds me of something I meant to mention in last week’s weeknote – Rich Goidel (@RichGoidel)’s Strategy vs. Tactics cartoon, which featured in my Microsoft Catalyst pre-sales training:

I also started to see the direction that motoring is heading in. As electrification reduces revenues from servicing, software will become the next subscription opportunity.

Although it was probably intended as an April Fool, What Two Figures (WTF) pretty much sums up my feelings about What Three Words.

Outside work, the UK’s easing of “lockdown” restrictions saw the return to Caveman Conditioning – training outdoors again instead of over Zoom!

I also completed some online learning around First Aid Essentials in Sport. This is a requirement for my certification as a British Cycling coach but I’ve struggled to complete an approved course during “lockdown”.

A look ahead to the weekend

This weekend will see me:

  • Meeting up with another family for a country walk (something we’ve not been able to do for a while!).
  • Returning to Youth Training at my local cycle club (the first time we’ve been able to run a session since I became a coach).
  • Resuming Cyclist’s Dad/Directeur Sportif duties as my eldest son returns to racing.

It will probably also involve consumption of Easter Eggs (I did buy rather a lot of Creme Eggs this week).

Talking of Creme Eggs, Natalie Jackson (@NatalieDellar) alerted me to this post with “groovy things to do with Crème Eggs“.

And next week…

In addition to celebrating the 49th anniversary of my arrival on this planet, next week will be mostly spent at home including some time doing geeky hobby stuff in the Man Cave. There will also be the final assessment for my First Aid Essentials in Sport certification (which will be interesting over a Zoom call, to which I’ve been asked to bring a pillow and a bandage!).

This week in photos

Culinary creations and “International English”

As a bit of a foodie, I’ve always enjoyed creating meals although, if I’m perfectly honest, I normally do the “glory cooking” when we’re entertaining friends, and my wife looks after much of the everyday food preparation.

Right now, Mrs W. is very busy in her work (for which I’m very grateful – freelancers need to “make hay whilst the sun shines”!) and that means that I need to pick up a few more tasks around the house. Combined with my need to eat healthily and carefully count calories (I still have another 5kg to lose before the end of March) I’m currently taking on most of the responsibility for our meals, spending a good chunk of the last two weekends in the kitchen, with a good share of my culinary creations heading towards the freezer for use as ready meals.

I’m no Masterchef contender, but my food generally seems to go down well, and it’s good to try something different from time to time. Last weekend, I was creating a Spanish-inspired meal for friends and I decided to make Crema Catalana for desert.  The recipe I followed is pretty simple but I found myself thrown by two things:

  1. “Cups” of ingredients (give me grammes, or even pounds and ounces).
  2. Strange terms like cornstarch (could that be cornflour?)

I finally found a use for a kitchen computer as, with a little help from my smartphone, I had determined that quantity in a “cup” depends on the product. There’s a handy reference at AllRecipes.com. So that was number 1 sorted. As for 2., well, yes “cornstarch” is what we, in England, call “cornflour” and there’s a useful Wikipedia entry on “International English” food terms.

[English is the language spoken by (most) people in England and adopted by many other nations. Some of the variations even make sense (color instead of colour, for example) but I speak, read and write English – and find the term “International English” to be nonsensical. There is English, and there is American, Australian, etc. I know that languages constantly evolve, but… OK, I’ll come down off my soapbox now.]

My time in the kitchen is not normally a topic for this blog but I thought these references might be useful for others. As well as for me, next time I’m confused by a recipe written in “International English”.