With a great deal of synchronicity this is my 50th post as it is my equally significant roundy birthday 🙂
OK, maybe that’s just a little bit contrived! Numbers and anniversaries are important and useful though, despite the “it’s just a number/ordinary day” moaners, as they give an opportunity for backwards-looking reflection, analysis, and forward-looking planning. They provide a pause-for-breath outside of normal cycles of activity, such as working weeks, monthly sales targets, annual contract negotiations etc. It is typical to arrange such as review at end of a project, sales drive or other significant and meaningful chunk of work or time…like another 12-months on the planet! However, reflection is possible at any time, in fact it can seem less like a chore and a box-ticking exercise if it is more informal and unexpected.
Looking Back to the Future
Most professions, and particularly higher-level education, have a concept of reflective practice, and most organisations make efforts to evolve and learn from experiences, from informal learn-and-adapt mechanisms to formal Continuous Improvement programmes. In IT and software projects we may carry out Post-Implementation Reviews (PIR) at the end of a project or part-way through at a significant way-point (milestone or end of a stage).
The name and detailed process may differ between industries and organisations, but the purpose will be broadly the same:
- Identify what went well
- Identify what was less successful or could be improved (ideally without apportioning blame)
- Identify, document and implement any process or procedural changes
The above represents a single loop learning cycle with negative feedback – negative because you attempt to reduce the gap between current practice and an optimal or target best practice.
It is also possible to have a double loop with positive feedback, with the aim to look backward (how close are we to where we should be, typically used to fix operational problems) and to look forward to develop future goals. Sounds complicated, but it is something we often do without thinking too much about it in change or process re-engineering projects.
Back to my birthday, I mean blogversary!
I will use this handy, if arbitrary, anniversary as an excuse to summarise the story so far, thank various individuals who have helped and enabled me to get this far, and maybe look ahead to the next 50 posts and evolution of the IT elementary school. Apologies in advance for this self-indulgence.
The Story So Far
I started blogging on 5th January 2015 using a very simple ‘out of the box’ WordPress.org website and the help of Sam at Suffolk Social Media.
My first post was an early version of an IT element Projects, a cut-down version of some learning material that I had developed for my Master’s research project in 2014.
After a few more posts on more general newsy, commentary and IT-related topics on 9th February I started a 30-day blogging challenge organized by Sarah Arrow and Sarkemedia via a Facebook group. As well as providing a challenge and a structure to strengthen my writing and blogging muscle, the group was (and continues to be) really supportive and encouraging, and there were also daily tips and suggestions for improving the blogging progress – primarily to increase visitor traffic and engagement.
This next significant event was the 29th April with the launch of the ITelementaryschool.com, incorporating my ongoing blog, with much thanks for her excellent work on the new website and ongoing support from Angie at Purple Baby Hippo. I now write with 2 different hats on – not real hats, but virtual personas! While I blog-on the IT Chemist is populating the table of IT elements one basic concept at a time. You will find the following 11 bite-sized modules (out of 40)…and more to come soon. Please let me know if you want information on any topic in particular and I may be able to ‘bump’ it up the list.
Last, but not least, I’d like to thank Joe, my right-hand graphic designer and creative who continues the work of evolving the look and feel of the IT elements and building my team of helpers.
I need to think about my target readership and gather more feedback, comments and suggestions before embarking on the next 50 posts. I will definitely be writing more IT elements and blogging when the muse grabs me.
It’s only been 50 years (or 5 months) and still very much work-in-progress. So it’s happy birthday to him, and happy birthday to me.
(c) 2015 Antony Lawrence CBA Ltd.