A bit about project management writing

Remember that blog I started last year, Meta-Manage, where I was going to write about management stuff? I wouldn’t blame you for forgetting about it, since I regularly seem to forget about it too. Anyways, I’m hoping to start writing there more often. I don’t know if I’ll start writing here too, so as always, if you want to keep up with me the best way is via Twitter.

I’m doing lots of cool stuff at my job, but I don’t want to bother all of you with work/management posts, so I’m going to keep those at Meta-Manage. But if Atlassian tools or reporting or anything tech-management related is of interest to you, you should head over there and subscribe.

As for this blog, I’m going to keep plugging away at my master’s and maybe return to more regular personal blogging once that is finished in December. Though technically, I have one more class to take in the spring, and I want to get a couple of certifications in the first half of next year, so that will probably keep me pretty busy too.

Returning to Meta-Manage

I haven’t written here in a very long while, due in equal parts to job satisfaction, a busy social life, and working on my master’s degree. More challenging, though, I have been struggling a bit with the mission of this blog.

My intent was to write posts that could help people manage their companies, projects, and lives better by translating the advanced processes I know and am learning into steps or approaches that can be used by someone without a master’s degree in this stuff. The problem is that I’m now spending all my time eating, breathing, and sleeping Atlassian tools, and if I start writing about them, then I’m not as generic as I had intended. I’d be writing about how to use a tool to accomplish something rather than giving general advice.

At the same time, I want to write about the Atlassian tools because I think they’re pretty much the best out there. I can write a bit about Evernote and Trello and Smartsheet and other project management applications, but my expertise and day-to-day is spent with Atlassian.

So I’m just going to go down this path for a while and see where it takes me. Right now, I’m researching (partially due to a class I’m taking this summer) how to create organizations that foster innovation, and I’ve been thinking a lot about agile portfolio management. I’ve been speaking at some different professional organizations and user group meetings about JIRA Portfolio and related topics, and I want to write more about that.

This summer at least, I’m going to get back into writing here. This fall, I write my seminar paper and graduate with my master’s, so I imagine my writing will decrease or disappear altogether while I’m working on that, but you never know. I suggest subscribing to the RSS feed and keeping an eye out because I may just surprise you (and myself too).

Why I love PAX (and why I won’t likely go back)

When I first attended PAX in 2009, I had already been a fan of the comic for around six years. The business model that Mike and Jerry had of creating content and giving it away for free was inspiring to me, I loved their response to Jack Thompson, I was a staunch supporter of their charity, and I just generally wanted to meet them. I had an absolutely amazing time, and I knew I wanted to go back.

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Not Embarrassed

The warm-up at The Pit boxing gym is pretty intense:

  • Jumping Jacks x 30
  • Body Squats x 30
  • Arms out rotation x 50
  • Arms front rotation x 50
  • Chain breakers x 30
  • Close grip push-ups x 25
  • Reg grip push-ups x 25
  • Wide grip push-ups x 25
  • Burpee x 20

I went for my first session two weeks ago, got maybe 1/5 through the warmup, and had to lie down on the cold concrete floor because I was so dizzy. Something about all that plus going up and down for burpees gave me vertigo, and I was out of the action for probably 20 minutes.

I should have been mortified. Here I was, with a group of about a dozen guys and a twelve year old girl, who all went through the entire warm-up in half the time I only managed a fraction of it, and I was laid out on the ground. Fifteen years ago, I’d have wanted to hide my face for weeks, or crawl in a hole and die. But I didn’t find embarrassment, or not too much. Rather, lying on the ground after doing just a portion of the warm-up, I found motivation.

Everyone at The Pit is incredibly nice, non-judgmental, and inclusive. There were no sneers or judging glances at me, though several people checked to make sure I was OK. Their tone wasn’t derogatory in any way though. Later, one young man told me that he was puking the first two months at the gym, and I at least hadn’t done that. Boxing is generally a solo sport, but there’s a strong team atmosphere there, which is to the credit of the coach, Will Grover.

As it turns out, my dizziness was probably due to illness. The day after going to the gym, I came down with a wicked cold, and I didn’t leave the house for six days because I felt so bad. Then we traveled to Wisconsin and I missed a couple more workouts. But last night, I went back for my second session, and I completed the warm-up and never got dizzy.

Getting there almost 40 minutes early to give myself time to stretch and go slowly through it helped a lot. We do a warm-up, then a bunch of different boxing exercises, then a work-out that’s 2-3 times more intense than that warm-up. Newbies like me are only obligated to do half of the work-out, and I only managed about half of that, or a quarter what everyone else did. And again, they did it in a fraction of the time.

But I completed the warm-up. I did more last night than I did two weeks ago. The way I see it, I show up 2-3 times a week, do what they tell me for two hours, and I’ll get in better shape. And I really need it. I need to get my health under control. Since I started working at home, the pounds have been piling on, and it… “scares” might be too strong, but it does kind of scare me. I don’t want to be fat. I don’t want to be one of those IT guys who just gets more and more round and waddles around and has high cholesterol and heart problems in his 40s. Working out for two hours, three times a week, is a huge sacrifice of time for me, and it has already meant missing out on social activities I’d like to be part of. But I’ve got to get this health thing re-aligned.

I’m not embarrassed. Part of me feels like I ought to be, but internally, I look at that and think, “Let that embarrassment fuel harder work. Do better. Be better.” And that’s not hard, because I’m not on my own. I go to the gym and have a group of people who are going through the exact same thing, and they model it for me. I have people encouraging me, and guiding me, and correcting me, and telling me that I’m going to get there.

Two more weeks from now, I want to be able to complete the work-out. Maybe not quickly, but I’ll get there.

Introducing Meta-Manage, a new management blog

For around a year now, I’ve been thinking about starting a blog about management. I really enjoy studying project management and I’m loving my master’s program, and I feel like I have a lot of ideas to share, but I was lacking focus. A recent lunch with Jeremy Bartley of ThinkDigital.io really inspired me, though. There are a ton of resources written by project managers for other project managers, but what’s really lacking is helpful advice for regular workers, small business owners, and managers who don’t necessarily know all the jargon and particulars of project management. Helpful articles for those audiences would be a real boon.

The more I thought about it, the more excited I became. I love the idea of helping other people do for themselves. While I’m more than happy to be hired as a consultant, my goal is always to help people learn the principles and steps so they don’t need me anymore. If I can help people become self-sufficient, then mission accomplished. And more often than not, this goal leads to me having even more work and getting to do even more advanced and exciting things.

So I began thinking, and building, and writing. I decided to launch early and iterate often, so the site isn’t what I would call “done.” But it’s to a point where I can start sharing content, and I’ll expand and improve as I go.

If you would be so kind, please take a look. Re-share and point other people to the new blog if you think they might be interested. Submit suggestions and requests for articles. And let me know what other resources might be helpful for me as I write and develop. I’m particularly looking for book recommendations and people on Google+ and Twitter who share inspiring and fantastic thoughts.

Meta-Manage

Web | Google+ | Twitter

Starting a New Project

With a new blog, you have to have a first post. Years from now, you’ll forget what that first post was, but people will dive all the way back to the beginning of your archive to see where you began. With that in mind, I’ve decided to write about my process for starting this new project of Meta-Manage.

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The best thing about Starting Strength

A few weeks ago, I developed terrible pain in my left shoulder. I don’t know what brought it on, but the muscles tensed up so hard that it hurt as badly as when I broke my collarbone in 2008. Wondering at the cause, I searched online for chronic muscle tension, because this isn’t the first time my shoulders have hurt like this, just the worst it has ever been, and I discovered that this sort of tension is common for people like me who sit at a computer all day. The best remedy is exercise.

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