It’s May already and I am just 6 weeks away from my epic run across England, the Wall Run. 69 miles, loosely following the route of Hadrian’s Wall. Preparation for this ultra-marathon has been all consuming; 5am runs before work, full weekends spent running 20 plus miles and cross training. Tempo runs, intervals and fartlek’s have become part of my everyday vocabulary, not to mention testing the kit and worrying about race day nutrition and hydration.
When people talk about the three critical factors of projects, they refer to scope, time and cost. It is well documented that you can’t change one without impacting the other two, yet it still seems to come as a surprise when a change in scope delays a project or increases the cost.
When I read a recent SYSPRO blog The Grace of Change, about a Seeker of Value, one customer immediately sprang to mind: Westlands Horticulture. A fast growing business, both organically and through acquisition, they always seem to be involved in one project or another with K3 SYSPRO. Finbarr McNamee, in his role as Group IT Manager is certainly the Seeker of Value within Westlands Horticulture. He engages with the business and gets to grip with the real business need, helping others find new, smarter and more effective ways of doing things. Finbarr drives the change through the organization in several ways.
Last week I was at the supermarket in the very long queue at the “12 items or less” checkout station, when I glanced over at the adjacent self-checkout station. The store had installed it a few months ago but I (and most other shoppers) had never tried it – thinking it looked a bit confusing and not worth the hassle of learning how it worked, perhaps due to fear of not picking up quickly enough on how to use it. But the queue was so much shorter there, so I decided to try it. Although there was a learning curve to understand the process, for example to follow the on-screen instructions and to also get the knack of scanning barcodes properly, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I’ll definitely use the self-checkout again.
While performing the recent seven day challenge of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, there was time during the daily six – eight hours of walking to reflect on various subjects of life. On one of these days I was struck by the strong parallels between “Team SYSPRO” and “Team Kili” as we affectionately called it.
I recently upgraded my cell phone (or mobile phone, for some people). I used to have a feature phone, but the opportunity arose for me to change to a new phone that runs the Windows Phone 7.5 (aka Mango) operating system. Getting used to the physical phone, from one with real keys to one with a keyboard display, wasn’t the biggest adjustment – but getting used to the new way of doing things, actually doing everything, was an enormous challenge for me. In tech speak it’s called changing the UX (user experience). The last time I had such a challenge was moving from a DOS-based PC to one running the first version of Windows.
The other week my family banished me to the attic with instructions to get rid of all the stuff I had put up there “that might be useful one day.” I soon found myself sitting amidst piles of cardboard boxes reminiscing about school days and my early career in the computer industry. I even found my old beer mat collection from the ’70s!