Sunday, May 31, 2009

When I Make Mistake

In any projects I have been involved, it is very common to make a mistake. Or mistakes, if that matters. This is a good sign. Making mistake is one way to remind us that we are still human.

The question is: what should we learn from the mistakes? Try to avoid to repeat the same, obviously. But for me, I want to move further by writing down all my mistakes and sharing it to others. And in my current team, it's part of our responsibilities to replicate any knowledge that we have to another team. That's why they call us the 'practices' team.

So I'm trying to write down all my mistakes that I made during the deployment and implementation of all my previous projects. It is quite rare for me to be involved in a brand new network infrastructure known as 'green field'. Most of time I have to build and deploy the new setup by upgrading the existing setup. And most of the time the process of doing so is not straight forward.

So the output will be the strategy and detailed approaches that I (with all my team mates) took in handling the different type of deployment scenarios. I hope the information can be useful.

I know I may not be a good writer. I'm a blogger and the way I write may not be acceptable by my company's high standard of documentation. But I will make sure it will be published somehow, within my internal organization and public. At least, I can make sure it will be available in this blog.

Expect less blog entries while I'm doing this.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Against BlackBerry

"I wake up every evening with a big smile on my face,
And it never feels out of place,
And you’re still probably working at a 9 to 5 pace,
I wonder how bad that tastes.."
- All American Rejects, Gives You Hell -

This is the era where we don't need to "go to work" anymore. We simply work. From anywhere, at anytime. And we live in the world without boundaries. The concept of country during online meeting only comes up when it requires to synchronize the meeting time.

I have been considered as a mobile worker for several years now. It means I can work with flexible working hours from any place as long as I have connection to my company.

If I'm not at customer site, or on the way to the customer, then I would prefer to work from home. Working from home means I don't have to spend time to travel to the office. It means I contribute to the greener environment by burning less fuel :) , my company doesn't have to rent a big office to accommodate all the employees, and I can manage my work-life balance and I feel like I can work more efficient. And the best from all, I have all the collaboration tools to support me.

My company is behind this Work 2.0 phenomenon, if that's how we call it. I'm normally connected to the Internet and to my company using secure connection for about 12 hours a day. I use WebEx to communicate with the customer. I use the same collaboration tool for my team's weekly meeting. The team members live in different part of Europe and Middle East countries, but I can have regular virtual coffee with them, a team meeting using TelePresence, at least once or twice a month. I watch the training video and read the books online from the internal company database. I store the document in progress in WebEx Connect so my team mates can put their review and the system will track the version changes automatically. Once the document is done and accepted by the customer, it has to be uploaded to my company internal repository where it is available and searchable using the search engine. I have one-on-one discussion with my manager to track my career progress using TelePresence, just as if I had it in the same room with him. Sometime I use WebEx to control my customer's PC in order to connect to the network devices. Other time I let my customer to control my PC using the same tool to connect to our internal lab. We have our own Instant Messaging system which is the real-time communication I use the most to communicate to anyone within my company.

All those stuff may sound cool and awesome, especially for those who never try them before. But the point here is not the "coolness" or the "awesomeness" on how we deliver the work. The main point is still the work itself. For example, the focus of my work is the network design or the migration plan I build to help the customer to enhance their business. I use all the collaboration tools to make it easier to communicate with the customer and my team mates in order to complete the work. So I use the tools to help me to deliver my work, and not to make the process looks cool. I know I would be able to deliver with the same quality without all those tools, even it may take me longer time to complete or it can cost more. The tools are there to make the process more efficient.

So this is the reason why until now I have no BlackBerry, neither I have plan to get one. For a simple reason: I believe I don't need it. I can do my work without it. I can still be efficient enough without it. I simply can live without it.

I just use the required tools and whenever only it is necessary. I don't want to get addicted and start using the tools to turn myself to become inefficient. After connected 12 hours a day to the Internet and to my company, do I still need to receive email anytime, anywhere? I don't think so. Do I still need to browse the Internet while on the move? No, I don't. Do I need to update my Facebook status or Twitter every minute? Oh, come on.

I prefer to spend my spare time after work to enjoy my life. Now I have a garden in the backyard that I need to take care of. I live close to the small lake so I like to spend time to walk around it. I have a list of things-to-do-before-I-die and I would prefer to chase them instead of trying to keep my status online all the time on the Internet. It's better to learn a new skill in life instead sitting in front of my computer. I'm connected to the Internet only when I need to do my work. And when I'm unplugged and not connected, I still have my old mobile phone. It does voice and SMS perfectly so I believe it's more than enough.

Against BlackBerry. You may think I'm dumb to say such thing in this world where many people believe we must all be connected all the time and must use this latest technology.
I don't want to. It's just not for me.

I'm not against the technology, nor the product. I'm against the excessive usage of this kind of technology that make me not become more efficient but only to get addicted to the Internet and waste my time unnecessary. If you need BlackBerry to support your work then you use it. But for me I don't have to. I can live happily without it. And if you want to contact me when I'm offline, a simple phone call or SMS would be suffice.

Call me old school.
But I just want to live my life the way I remember it used to be.