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Ungathered Thoughts

2014 Year in review

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.