Archive for January, 2012|Monthly archive page

Isn’t It Ironic?

Within a couple of days of posting the last blog post, The Pursuit of Perfection, a new and shiny opportunity came up.  It seemed like something that would be worth creating a whole host of new details and running around and changing things at the last minute — all the things that I was aware would stress people out.  Nevertheless, there’s a balance and responding to new situations is part of the balance.

Somewhere in one of the several things I have been reading recently about organizational culture and change management, I read the statement that change is more accepted when there is respect for existing roles and responsibilities.  Keeping that in mind while I made an (in the end futile) attempt to change the plans already in motion meant that at least this adidn’t do more damage than good.


The Pursuit of Perfection

I sometimes describe ThatCon as “ambitious”, by which I mean that we’re constantly trying to do better, bigger, and more exciting than we’ve done before.  One-upping our own past performance is part of the fun.   Of course there’s a downside to this.

There’s a time in the convention timeline when we have to just execute what we’ve already committed to and not subject people to more shifts and adjustments in their plans.  No matter how awesome a new idea is,  its cost in terms of stress and potential communications problems  gets magnified as we get closer to the event.  I’m noticing that different people have different thresholds for when that moment has arrived.  For me, it was about two weeks ago. For Mr. Enthusiastic (not his real name, of course), it’s possible that moment wont be here until we’re sweeping up at the end.

ThatCon will be live in less than a week.   Right now, the pursuit of perfection is causing frayed tempers and tired staff.  It’s true that every detail we get right now can save us a significant amount of time not fixing problems at runtime.  But no NEW details, please!


And to get started …

Where better to start than a New Year’s Resolution?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m trying to accomplish in the next year,  and one of the things I’ve been doing is laying out a calendar of the meetings we’ll have.   Years of experience have shown us that we need a certain frequency of meetings to get everything done.  But we don’t always use our meeting time well.  Gathering people into a room because it’s that day of the month again, and going around and hearing status reports without context or dialog?  Doesn’t get people engaged.

So here’s the New Year’s Resolution: no boring meetings.  I’m not sure I can pull off being entertaining and creative at all these meetings.  At least, no pointless, annoying, time-wasting meetings. The ground rules surely have to include

We all know what we’re trying to accomplish in this meeting.

The right people are present at the meeting.  Conversely, people who aren’t necessary for the purpose of the meeting don’t feel like they’re supposed to show up “just because”. 

At the end of the meeting, we know what to do next.

If we’re interested in the outcome of the process, then these meetings won’t be boring.  We’ll be able to see how these  meetings are building up towards where we’re going.

I made this resolution thinking about my work on ThatCon but immediately started thinking about the weekly status meetings I run at  $DayJob.   Well, those meetings are less than engaging, honestly.  I need the information from those status reports and I still feel like that.  $DayJob meetings have a handicap in that we’re meeting over a telephone conference line.  I’m going to think about that as I head to first status meeting of the  shiny new year tomorrow morning.