no team member …

indispensableIn one of the responses in an ongoing discussion in LinkedIn, I saw the following sentence:

no team member should be indispensable. That’s a *team* problem, not an individual’s problem.

The discussion was related to the availability of a team member during a Sprint phase, and the above-mentioned was just one sentence in the lengthy discussion.

It really captured what I’ve tried to portray in an earlier post:
What secret agents can teach us about Project Teams

Many thanks to Paul Oldfield who made this comment

Lessons from the Library – what I learned at a free seminar on genealogy

Library seminarRecently, I attended a seminar at the Central Library titled “Writing up your Family History”. It was free, and it caught my interest, so I decided to go along to it. During the seminar I quickly realised that I was picking up so much more than just the subject matter:

Commit yourself

This is more of a personal thing that I do rather than something I picked up during the seminar. During sessions like this I always sit at the front of the room. There is a lot of value in this because I then feel that I am really involved. As well as being able to see any slides, etc, clearly, and being able to hear the speaker clearly, I can “interact” with the presenter more. I make eye contact, and acknowledge that I am listening (with small actions such as head nods, etc). As a result I feel that I am more receptive to what is being said.

Keep it Simple

The lady presenting was what I liked to refer to as a “library bod”. That is, someone who was fully immersed in the world of research and study. In fact she worked in the research section of the library. She was completing a PhD, and had written several historical papers, and was very knowledgeable. However her language was simple, and the things she discussed were far from confusing.

Break up the presentation

The presenter broke her presentation into “chapters”. She would introduce the particular area that would be talking about with a PowerPoint slide (containing the title of that “chapter”, and then she just talked about it. No further PowerPoint slides, no further distractions (however, I do comment further on this below).

Keep still.

While the presenter was talking she stayed to one side of the room. She used her arms to help “explain” some parts of the speech, but she did not move around the room. This meant that you could focus more on the message rather than the movement.

Know your stuff

Nothing new here. It was obvious that she knew her subject. I didn’t get a chance to ask whether she had practiced her presentation or not, but she certainly never faltered, or seem “lost”.

 Avoid “busy-ness”

I mentioned above that the presenter made minimal use of PowerPoint. She had a slide with the name of the particular area that was talking about, and that was it. This was left displaying until she changed to a new sub-topic. Many of these slides, however, had impressive looking word clouds on them – in multiple colours. I found that I would try and read these, which distracted me from what was being said. I think, in his case, just having the name of the sub-topic displayed would be enough.

Other observations

During the seminar there were a few things that I found interesting. The presenter was talking, at one stage, about styles, and the correct way to cite sources. She mention that there was a particular section of the library where books that covered these topics could be found. I found this interesting because, if it was me, I would turn first to the internet for advice. It did show the difference in the “worlds” we lived in. She works in a world of books, so her first instinct is to turn to a book. I live in a world of computers.

Another thing that I noticed was when she was talking about using Word to write material. In this case, she was expounding the virtues of the “Outline” function of MS Word. There was a screen shot showing on her slide, and she mentioned that his was the latest version of Word. It wasn’t. The screenshot was of Word 2007. However, this small error did not make one iota’s difference  to the material she was presenting, and, besides, the entire audience (apart from myself) were retired elderly people, for whom it would also not make one iota of difference.

All in all, I was really surprised by the seminar. I learnt a lot. Even some things about geneaology!

  • Grandma’s stories – turning gossip into genealogical fact
  • Your Personal Family History: Learning About Genealogy

Virtually working – managing virtual teams


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It’s like working in an Encyclopaedia


Everyday I am truly in awe. 

I work in an open-plan office where there are developers, designers, hardware people, project managers, business analysts and a few who I am not sure what they do.

It’s a great work environment, and one that I have found to be incredibly educational.

Because it is open-plan,and because all the  developers, designers, hardware people, project managers, and business analysts are so passionate and enthusiastic about what they do, I get to sit in on some very interesting discussions  (Hell, sometimes I’m almost able to contribute something useful to the conversations.)

A great example is the other day. In that one day I was able to listen to two designers talk with passion about design techniques, as well as some of the new technology available. Then I was involved with a group of business analysts discussing a successful project that had taken place. Later that day I was able to follow another passionate discussion related to UI design, and usability. And then I had a chance to sit in on a debate between two developers on the benefits, and downsides, of Scrum and Kanban.

I always left these discussions feeling like I had just been watching a TED talk, or had been reading through an Encyclopaedia.

The Difference between Records Management Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines – Richard Medina Doculabs


This is a great post from Richard Medina from Doculabs. It digs into the structure and differences between the policies, procedures, and guidelines you need for an effective RM program. Click on the link below:

The Difference between Records Management Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines – Richard Medina Doculabs.



  • Advantages of Records Management (
  • Record Management and You (