I made a quick list today of about 20 things that jumped immediately to my mind as largish projects or ongoing tasks I’ve been cogitating on or actually doing for the past few months. Not included among them were things like “uh oh, spend half a day dealing with weird sysadmin duties unexpectedly” and “reformat hosed laptop and wrestle with drivers to get Linux running on it again” and “help with research and copywriting to get some of our remote people into America on a semi-permanent basis.”
Twentyish things are a lot of things to manage if you’re doing both the management and in many cases the production, and I’ve decided I could use a little self-imposed direction and accountability. I tend to work from task lists scrawled down on yellow legal pads and transferred (the parts that need transferring) from page to page each day. Doing this works pretty well for day-to-day work. That is, for finite, few-hours tasks that can be checked off the list after a day or two, this process is fine. What it’s not so great for is keeping the bigger picture in mind. My job is a constant struggle between trying to find time for the big planning things and actually executing the things I do actually manage to plan. For a month or two now, I’ve had a big scary item on there called “Planning” with a few slightly smaller but equally scary umbrella bullet points underneath it. I figure that there’s no hope of any of those getting checked off the list unless I build a little more accountability into my process.
I’ll continue to use my beloved yellow legal pads to track my day to day work, but I plan to take a page from the book of Lloyd and experiment a bit also with publishing some of what I’m doing. I hope this will provide some incentive for me to knock things off the list in addition to keeping the community at least marginally informed about what’s going on and keeping my compadres over in California (did you know I’m in Tennessee?) in the loop about what I’m doing on a daily basis (besides, you know, sipping pretty cocktails while easing through my two-hour workday).
The format I’m thinking today I’d like to try is to represent what I’ve actually been working on for the period the WIP covers (I can’t imagine these’ll be daily) and what I’d like to be working on or feel as if I should be working on but can’t for whatever reason. I hope this’ll provide a picture of what’s actually going on and what’s hopefully on the horizon. So, without further ado…
What I am doing (lately)
- Working with contractor about making mailing list/forum integration smoother. (This has been in the hopper for a while now, but the holidays intervened and got us off track.)
- Attending meetings and doing some work pertaining to the redevelopment of flock.com in the near future.
- Part of that includes getting something up and running to deal with extensions a little better than we’re currently doing.
- Some sysadmin related to new hires and to a bugzilla enhancement project we’re in the middle of.
- The aforementioned bugzilla project management, which admittedly doesn’t take much management.
- Engaging with people in the forums and irc and the mailing lists and individual email. (These are pretty much standard activities that can take as much as a few hours a day. I think it’s pretty important to be accessible to the community, and to be honest, I probably spend more time just shooting the breeze with people in irc than is ideal from a productivity standpoint, but part of our culture is that we’re friendly/social, so I don’t feel too bad about being a little more social than I might be at another job. Please pass me another pretty cocktail.) (This also is something that goes into the “what I’d like to be doing” category, though I won’t relist it there.)
- Blogging about various things, including some of the big planning stuff that’s been pretty elusive/oppressive lately.
- Writing up some documents to back up the big planning stuff. There are preliminary Gantt charts involved. It’s not pretty.
- Community dashboard stuff to help us gauge how people are using the tools we’re making available. More on this in the coming weeks, I hope.
What I should be doing (lately and in the near term)
- Podcasting. I’d love to develop enough content to come up with a pretty regular podcast. What would you like to listen to?
- Community dashboard (I know I mentioned it above; it’s something I’ve been working on that’s sort of on hold for now, though.)
- Flockstar spotlights. I need to get these back on track.
- Flock Camp. I’d like to plan some of these. Who’s got ideas about what would constitute a helpful Flock Camp?
- Swag. People want it; we need to figure out a good way to deliver it.
- Figuring out how to non-manually bubble up people involved in the community. The dashboard may help with this.
- Work with Lloyd and others to find a good way of publishing some more-or-less-weekly team seminars we’ve started having.
- Deploy tools for localizers.
- Deploy tools for themers.
- Deploy tools for extension developers.
- Communicate to client developers how best to contribute code.
- Get better acquainted with the wiki.
- Deploy a PR management tool I wrote two months ago (still pending some design feedback).
- Start thinking seriously about spread/promote infrastructure.
- Plan more stuff.
There’s more that I should be doing, but these are some of the things on the short list I’ve been staring at (and in some cases chipping away at) for weeks. Now that I’ve got it listed out, I don’t know that I’ll continue this format. It’s too daunting! But now you know some of the things on the horizon, and that helps put some pressure on me to get some of them done. I do hope I can manage to post an occasional WIP entry (maybe once a week or so) to demonstrate some movement on these things. If you ever run into me on irc and are curious about what’s going on with respect to community initiatives, don’t hesitate to ask.