The general theme of the vacation was sickness, first my wife, then my daughter and at the end me.
At least the last 4 days was really wonderful and made up for all the sickness, thanks big brother!
Regarding being sick on you vacation - I was emailing with my favorite SEO expert and he nicely suggested that it might be because I was too overworked before my vacation that I got sick.
I had silently made the same conclusion before he wrote, so it was easy to read and accept the truth that I just have been too stressed for too long.
To alleviate me from stress I have decided to make some changes to my business life.
1. No customer consulting Monday
I need to make sure I have a day where I can talk with the employees, help projects get along and work with my own projects. To be able to do this I will book every Monday for the rest of the year and not put any customer into that space.
From now on Mondays will be team meeting, individual meetings with employees about personal stuff, projects and their work situation in general.
2. Improve project management
Until shortly before my vacation every project sailed its own way, its own course in its own time, the new Mondays will also be used to follow up on projects and decide what project will be the next one that we will sprint on.
3. We will start working in sprints on our larger projects.
Currently I think we will do one or two weeks sprints with one week rest between.
Sprints will be a period where everybody focuses on one project and helps each other. This do not mean that they shall ignore the regular customers, small support items and stuff like that but it do mean that they should use all available time to help the project that is being sprinted.
We did this the last two weeks before the vacation and it was such a fun and energizing experience where every one of my employees (and me) smiled more than usually and generally had a great time working together.
Seeing a project moving forward at great speed is extremely giving, it motivates and opens you up for doing things faster than usually, thinking in new ways and trying out stuff that you normally would have avoided.
4. Work on projects so that they are complete and followed through
I have been having this image in my head most of the vacation of a golfer at the tee driving the ball down the fairway.
Even though I do not play golf, I do know that, even though the golfer only has contact with the ball for a short instance, the entire swing is important to the length and direction of the ball.
At the moment we hit the ball (delivers the project to the customer) we kind of loose interest in the swing.
From now on, we will focus on every part of the swing, so even where the club ends after the swing is completed is important to us.
I got the inspiration for this from the excellent book “From worst to first” by Gordon Bethune where he talks about how he asks who is most important in the business by comparing it to a watch and asking “what part is most important” and the takeaway of course being that no part is more important than the other.
If you remove one part the clock stop working.
The same way with a project and a golf swing, if you do not follow through it has an impact on the project delivered.
5. DYFR by Brennan Dunn
Keep reading and applying what I learn by reading DYFR by Brennan Dunn.
Even though I have been self-employed for 15+ years I apparently still have a lot to learn!
We are still working on our next non-consulting project, a mobile time registration solution for MS Dynamics Nav – the feedback we get from the beta testers are great and it is really moving forward.