winding down

By: Paul Ip
August 10, 2007

Hard to believe, but the summer is winding down. People are finishing up their internships, complete with the harsh reminders such as the permanent OOO auto-response that I got from Patrick's United Way e-mail at 4pm (7pm his time). So how has the rest of the summer been? Well, today I delivered a 30 minute presentation to a number of the Group Program Managers as well as our VP. It was part of a larger two-day thing where we all go over what our competitors are doing in preparation for planning the next big release. Short version was that it was a debacle. It was one of those situations where so much went wrong that at the very end I just couldn't help but laugh. If you want gory details you can check it out on my other blog. Overall it went well. We'll see if it was good enough when I get my final review next Tuesday. So I don't want to just jump to the end of the summer too quickly. I should make up for some of that time that I missed between July 4th and now. So as the summer continued the work changed a bit. After doing the research and getting the knowledge, I moved on to the point where I was having a lot of discussions with people about what my thoughts were and started coming up with some high level recommendations. It sounds basic, but it's one of those things that is a perpetual work in progress and is never really complete. I'm not going to say that I'm done with it, but I can say that I've definitely got the ball rolling. It's been fun too. Definitely a lot more intense than when I was just catching up on research, At the same time, things within our group have gotten crazier as well. One day last week (or was it this week?) my coach walked into my office telling me how he was freaking out. I guess it was good to see that it wasn't just me with my compressed intern schedule and adapting to a new company and not having any connections. Phew. No no no. It's not as bad as that sounds. Any time you go work at a place it takes a while to get familiar with people, to gain credibility and influence, and to figure out the most efficient paths to get stuff done. After working at the same place for over four years, I took that for granted. So what's a good way to create some of these connections? How about morale builders? Microsoft's term for team builders. So I think I already talked about the time when we went to this culinary school and then went to drink wine at 3pm. The latest one was one where we got on a bus at 11am which took us over to a river. There were two busses. One was the party bus, painted pink and stocked with beer, cookies, and alcoholic slushies. There was also a huge bed in the back. Yes, sketchy. (-: I wasn't on that bus. After getting to the river, we inflated some rafts, stocked a few beer rafts, and then floated down the river for about 5 hours, making periodic stops for the rope swings or to jump off the end of fallen trees that jut out into the river. That's what I did. (-: It was fun. Got to know my program manager a bit better and also met a few other folks. Good times. And then it was all crazy after that. We got some tighter deadlines set so it became crunch time. It should ease up a bit next week after my final review. I still want to get some more stuff done. I'm thinking that I'll do some competitive write ups that people are interested in seeing. I'll try to produce whatever is the most useful. A lot of the work for the content I already have anyway. Then Thursday afternoon I'll be going to check out Toad the Wet Sprocket, part of the Online Services concert series at Microsoft. I didn't even hear about it, but the giant stage that I had to walk past to get to the cafeteria was a dead giveaway. Life/work balance. (-;

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Paul Ip