Weekly Deliverables at Work

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Though it’s practically March already, at work I still feel like I’m trying to catch up to the fact that a new year just started. Sooooo many things!

In the last week I did manage to finally deliver the three user support videos (Learner, Manager, Content Owner) that I’d been trying to make for a month, as well as finalizing the intake forms that can help us manage the flow of new inputs from stakeholders. Not only did people really like these, they really made a noticable difference in how we’re responding to things. These humble assets are points of leverage.

Now I’m blocking off some time in my calendar to chip away at a few weekly commitments to create more points of leverage like this. I believe this will really help our whole team, but most especially it will help with me keeping my head above water in the ebb and flow of Crazy that I’m dealing with in my role.

  • User Interview or Usability Test (30min per week)
    To keep aligned with those we serve, I’ll spend a half-hour either conducting a user interview with someone in one of our identified personnas (Learner, Manager, Content Owner, Business Partner, Auditor, Senior Leader), or conducting a quick Usability Test on one of the key functions they’re supposed to be able to conduct. The smaller the better on the Usability Tests, these are so informal that I’m not sure they even really live up to the name, but they’re super informative!
  • User Support Video (60min per week)
    People need to know how to do stuff, as evidenced in the item above. Sometimes that’s changing the process, and sometimes it’s just showing it to them. For showing, videos work best. I can spend 15min or so testing and setting up for a screencast, 5-10min recording it, and 20min or so editing and embellishing, and another 10min reviewing and uploading and configuring it. This leaves me no margin for getting any part of that process wrong, but I know what I’m doing well enough that I think this is probably ok.
  • User Support Form or Template (30min per week)
    This time will be spent either improving existing assets like this or creating new ones. There is way to much legacy process garbage floating around that requires people to reply in an email or fill out a template in Word or Excel. In 2021, I find it laughably embarrassing. Somebody needs to do something about it! And…(sigh) I guess that someone is me. Microsoft Forms and Sharepoint Sites, here I come ;)
  • Review/Improve Content Batch (60min per week)
    Now that I’ve reduced the number of active learning objects in our training catalog by a factor of 10 (from about 25,000 to 2500), it’s time to improve the configuration quality of what remains. Everyone wants to track hours, for instance. But this can’t be done until this information exists somewhere in the configuration of the learning object itself. Descriptions are missing more often than not. Because we didn’t make Search available until this year, there were no keywords and different trainings could have the same name. All this stuff has gotta get cleaned up. While we can’t pause everything to do this, I can take a batch of 5-50 courses per week and make them better than they are now. I intend to spread as much of this task as possible across the rest of our team too, of course. But I can’t ask other people to do this unless I’m doing it myself as well.
  • Writing Announcements (30min per week)
    All of the above deliverables are good, but they really only count if people know about them. I’m including a half-hour per week to talk about what actually shipped lately. This can go on our forthcoming intranet site as a posting, or in an email or something. Note that this is not what will ship, as everyone always wants to do and asks me about. I’m not going to spend this time talking about what will happen but hasn’t yet, only announcing the things that are now done and ready for who they’re made for. This is the important part, and it’s all I can fit into this tiny time slot.

Do I have the time for any of these things? No. No, indeed I do not. I’m on 10-12hr days these days. Sometimes more, rarely less so far in 2021. Adding another 3.5hrs of new stuff to do (that will easily turn into 4hrs overall) and that doesn’t satisfy any existing requests doesn’t make me feel joy.

But I also don’t have time not to do them. If something is gonna drop, it’s going to be a one-off request from someone whose hair is on fire about something that broke or that goes live today but they forgot to tell us about. Those emergencies are real, and I’ll do my best to help, but unless my manager tells me otherwise, the above items happen first.

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