Today saw another release of my systems go live – the second in two weeks (two systems, staggered releases, simples), and both as smooth as a very smooth thing. It does feel like I am beginning to wrestle some form of control over proceedings (OK, now I have typed that servers will be melting and any second now my phone will ring and someone will say "Disaster Recovery has been invoked"…).

Meanwhile, it is in such apparently small events, such as software doing more or less what it should, that I am able to find a sense of achievement. Not that I wrote the stuff or did anything particularly difficult. But then how badly does it go wrong if no one is beating out the rhythm?

Apart from some interim releases and bug fixes there won’t be another significant release until mid-August. What this means in fact is that I am now embroiled in scoping out the next series of releases – 3 in all – between now and Christmas. That part is more fun in many ways; it’s the creative part of the process where everyone sits down and brainstorms pictures of how things need to look next time. Once we have fixed on which bits of the picture we need to pull together, the rest is fairly mechanical, if challenging. Herding cats, as the saying goes.

In practice this means I can try to document the parts of the cycle we have just completed (from code freeze to go live), ensure "Lessons Learned" is working properly, and take frantic notes about whether the scoping bits are working – or not working – effectively. By Christmas, I will have been in post a year and should have the whole cycle updated. Although "should" and "will" are two separate matters.

Well, that was boring – if anyone has stayed with me thus far, I am looking for tips to help avoid the football. Detaching the aerial and loading up the DVDs is working well for us!

Go on then, it's your turn

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