Chris Burgess bio photo

Chris Burgess

Thinking about future societies, living in the present. Humane web techno-generator for social change orgs. Believes in stories. Dunedin, NZ

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It’s the start of 2015 and I figured why not follow on from the year in reviews offered everywhere with my own. Hi! I’m writing this for my own reflection more than for public consumption, but sharing it might just encourage me to be a bit more engaged. MAYBE.

At the start of 2015 I’m thinking most about family - we had Christmas in Dunedin with Saira’s parents and my brother James visited, but we missed being in Auckland with the rest of our families. Living in Dunedin puts us further from our siblings and parents, but living here means more time for our family nucleus - something we both feel pretty strongly about. Times like Christmas throw this choice into pretty stark relief though.

In 2014 I reflected a lot on my career path after some conversations with our school principal when she had her regular principal’s appraisal. I saw her approach to career which takes a longer term view to professional development than I had considered, and wanted to establish similar perspective for myself. This forced me to ask whether a larger workplace might give more opportunity to learn from teammates - currently I’m in a solitary office with a team of four~six distributed about NZ, and I sense that I could be learning more FIXME “be the lions tail”.

My approach to this was heavily influenced by a single tweet FIXME which I saw from @br3nda while attending FIXME. I value both our family’s happy life in Dunedin and my supportive employer, and I realised that by doubling down on that commitment and improving my existing situation rather than seeking to replace it, I could ramp up my learning and improve things for our team.

I got sunk into improving our processes - something I’d felt strongly about since joining the team a year or two ago, but had lacked confidence about driving change with, not wanting to impose change on a team that I was the newest member of.

In 2015 I’ll work to strengthen this aspect of my work, and extend it into other areas of my life.

One element of the work environment which I think we’d struggled with was a sense of teamplay - making sure that team members are informed of changes and the reasons for them, that configurations are documented and so forth. My aim was to improve visibility across the organisation so that we all had a sense of what the wider team was engaged in. This is an ongoing project but I think the results have been good for us so far. Over the summer break I’ve taken advantage of the quiet time to further improve systems by automating monitoring, reporting and informing - aspects of the business infrastructure which I think had previously left a lot of the operation “off the radar”.

Election 2014 was a big part of the year. Being in the engine room of the Green Party’s election process also helped inform some of my thoughts on teamplay in projects. The election result wasn’t stellar but it was the predictable outcome.

I studied Te Ara Reo Maori level 2 with Te Wananga o Aotearoa, which was a really good experience. I recommend the course massively (it was a zero-fee course, in the local community rooms with about two dozen students). Kia ora Ritchie and Shaun for your great work this year … I learned a lot, including a good reminder that being a student requires commitment. I came away with much more confidence than I started, which was what I hoped to achieve; I don’t think I’ll enrol again next year - I’d love to but I want to focus my efforts closer to family and work for now.

  • Election 2014
  • BoT chair
  • BCAC rates
  • Happy teams tweet
  • NZG computing, wordpress hack
  • Drupal South 2014 *