Wednesday, June 15, 2011

10 Things Between Projects

I've just completed one project for Cisco customer last week, and another project has been waiting somewhere around the corner. All technical consultants for Cisco Advanced Services live from one project to another. If we are lucky we do only one project at a time, but usually we do two or more (my record is 5 when I was in Asia).

Now I just want to share my list of 10 things I do between the projects to keep my motivation and stay sane. And writing this actually helps too.

1. Watch fun movies
Gotta love watching fun movies. Recently I watched Hangover II, Fast Five, Kungfu Panda 2, X Men First Class, and Pirates of Caribbean. Can't wait for Transformers 3!

2. Go to desert
I do it twice a month. Recently my wife told me (read: instructed me) to sell my land cruiser. Well, at least I'll be busy trying to sell the car, then later I guess I'll be busy trying to convince her to buy smaller car to go to the desert.

3. Read books (physical books)
I'm an analogue guy. I shoot film camera. And I read physical book. The last 3 books I read that really enlighten me: Delivery Happiness, Enchantment and Making Ideas Happen.

4. Give free consultation about CCIE and career
Many people ask me advice about CCIE and career from time to time. I've been sharing my thoughts and experience about those subjects through my personal blog (I started blogging 6 years ago), tweets and Facebook status update. It's what triggers point no. 5

5. Contribute to CCIE program
Few months ago I helped CCIE R&S Program Manager to build new questions. I also did the alpha testing for it. I was invited to become CCIE Techtorial speaker in Cisco Live, but I was late to reply so they can't give me speaker pass. That's a life, I guess. Despite that I continue to do what I do, just like in point no. 6.

6. Conduct CCIE WebEx session
On April I conducted "CCIE R&S Unofficial Update" over WebEx. More than 400 people around the world registered, and 170 dialed in. I received more than 50 positive feedbacks. Something that made me think that I should do more, I should do "beyond blogging". This leads and become the cause of point no. 7

7. Build Project Avatar
I wanted to share my knowledge and experience beyond blogging, and I can't find a good platform for it. Social network like Facebook is too social. Professional network like LinkedIn can only provide connection, but that's all. I wanted to build a platform where other professionals can share their knowledge and experience as well. So early May I founded Project Avatar.

Project Avatar is an open community for professionals and students with one goal: to help its members to learn, to get the experience, to connect to each other, and to pitch and market their profile to the world. Experienced professional can help by sharing his knowledge to younger professional. Professional can share his experience to the students so at least they get some clue how the working environment looks like. Every time someone shares his knowledge he gains more. Every time someone gives free gift to some people they will do the same to some other people. So then we build the culture of giving gift. Students someday will become professional too and they will continue this chain of knowledge-sharing culture.

That's the value that I believe we are doing with Project Avatar.

And that's also the reason why in the beginning I self-funded That's the same reason why I spent time at nights after my 40-hour a week for Cisco to keep the website alive.

Within the first 5 weeks there are more than 1150 members in the community from more than 100 countries. Members are discussing not only about CCIE or networking, but as well as about Linux, iOS, SAP, mobile, to non-technical such as ITIL, entrepreneurship, positive world, life after university and so on. Project Avatar now has features like groups, blogs, videos, chats, ask questions, sharing document, polls, news, jobs ads, lounge where members can use virtual whiteboard and do conference with audio/video, and an online project collaboration tool to run Project Avatar's Challenge (PAC) projects.

Since the objective is to spread the knowledge it's not required to register to browse the content. But by logging in the members can participate actively in the community. All activities are rewarded by the point system.

8. Create CCIE's Diary e-book with Project Avatar
I created Project Avatar's Challenge (PAC) where the community members can do collaboration work to make a product. So it's a simulated work environment, with real professional as project leader, real project members, using real online project collaboration tool, to create a real product. The first project is to build "CCIE's Diary" e-book based on the daily tips of how to become CCIE that I shared on the group discussion, and I'm personally leading this project.

9. Write Handbook for Cisco
Back to Cisco, I'm currently working with another senior consultant to create a handbook. I'd rather not to disclose what it is all about. What I can share is we are currently still formalizing the table of content and the scope of the document.

10. Spend more time with family
Last but not least, I try to spend my time more with my family. I work from home more. I like to work late night so I can delay my work in the morning, to give chance to have breakfast with my wife. And I always try to drop and pick my kids from school.

So there it is, my list of 10 Things to keep my sanity in between projects. It seems work so far.

How about you?

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