Posts made in March, 2009

Team Productivity: Tools of the Trade

Posted by on 30 Mar, 2009 in Improvement | 0 comments

Seven Strategies for Success

I wrote in my last post about my desire to work with teams to help them to be more productive. I’ve been thinking about what my “tools of the trade” will be and how I can add value to the teams I work with. Fortunately I have a wide variety of experiences I can draw on, from my various roles at IBM as well as my work with voluntary organisations and prior employers. What follows is a list of strategies that can have a huge impact on the effectiveness of a team.

1. Use wikis and collaboration tools

E-mail attachments are inefficient and create versioning headaches; internal websites and repositories controlled by one individual or with limited access controls prevent people with key knowledge from sharing it and create information bottlenecks. Something I’ve successfully done in two different teams at IBM and am starting to do again in my current job, is to introduce and encourage the use of a wiki, a website that is editable by everyone, for everything from collaborating on documents or designs to reviewing documents and creating new starter guides. The impact on a team can be significant, not only does everyone have a single point of reference and a “place to put things”, but every team member is empowered to share his insights and correct things himself when he finds mistakes.

Read More

Life after IBM

Posted by on 20 Mar, 2009 in Lifenotes | 3 comments

Finding a new path to follow

Every now and then you come to a point in your life when you are at a fork in the road, you have a choice before you and you know that whichever choice you make, your life will probably end up very different – for example, when you decide what University to go to, or move in with a partner. For me, that is exactly how it feels at the moment. Not so much the decision to move to Canada – of course that was a huge decision to make, but more the decision to leave IBM and “do something different” that came with it.

Thoughts on leaving IBM

I know a number of people who’ve left IBM in the last year or two – Roo Reynolds, Robert Berry, Ian Hughes and Alan Lepofsky to name just a few (A search on Google reveals many more). Usually there is a good reason – the offer of a fantastic job or the fruition of a plan to set up your own business. I think there must be a “physical law of IBM”: An employee will tend remain there unless acted on by an external force!

For me, the choice was not a career choice so much as a lifestyle choice – to be with my wife and help her get her career off to the best possible start with a postdoc position in Canada. It wasn’t possible to move to IBM Canada because there was no “pull” from the Canada side. I hoped at first I might do the same job remotely, but that proved impossible. But once I accepted the reality that I would need to leave IBM, thought processes began about what else I might do, I became more and more excited about the possibilities of a fresh start.

Read More

Vive la différence!

Posted by on 17 Mar, 2009 in Lifenotes | 2 comments

Surprising and not-so-surprising differences between life in the UK & Canada

On the whole, life in Canada is pretty similar to life in the UK. That was possibly the biggest surprise. Nonetheless, after our first month here we’ve noticed various things which are definitely different from what we were used to back home – some have a big effect and some are just minor differences which you may find interesting. So without further ado, here are 10 things that I’ve found different living in Canada.

1. Groceries and Food

I always thought that with the combination of American mass-market economics and the French food-loving influence, that it would be easy to buy groceries affordably and cheaply here. It was a big surprise to find out that the price of groceries here is somewhat extortionate! For example, a pack of 3 peppers (capsicums) (which works out cheaper than buying them loose) is $4.99 (just under £3) meaning they are about £1 each – twice the price they are in the UK. And cheese is horrendously expensive, varying between $20-$40 a kilogram (£11-£22) meaning a 250g block of cheese similar to those you might buy at home for under £2 will set you back more like £4 here. And that’s for basic cheddar. If you want some nice French cheeses it’s a lot more.
Another thing that’s disappointing is the quality of the food, the fruit and veg is often tired and doesn’t keep more than a couple of days.

Read More

Nearby Tweets – Search, find, and watch local Twitter tweets from local users and businesses

Posted by on 15 Mar, 2009 in My Stream | 0 comments

what a great idea – find nearby twitterers

Read More

Free programs to open any file extension!

Posted by on 15 Mar, 2009 in My Stream | 0 comments

great idea

Read More