Classic Nerd Guru: The Mid-Year Accomplishments List

For reasons outlined below, Q2 ended for me April 30 and I just finished my habitual mid-year accomplisments list.  Even if you have a more traditional calendar and your mid-year doesn’t hit until June, it’s a good idea to start thinking about this.

The article below ran last year in July (several months late for me), but served as a good reminder for me this year of the different places to look when recalling the variety of things I’ve been up to.

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Many years ago, Dave Packard noticed that his accounting staff had to put in overtime at the end of December in order to process all the necessary paperwork to close out the financials for the year and he didn’t think that was fair for them to have to give up family time in that way. So, he moved the start of the fiscal year to November 1 (moving it back to December 1 complicated Thanksgiving plans) and thus HP’s unusual financial quarter boundaries were born.

That’s a really long-winded way of saying I’m late when it comes to completing my mid-year accomplishments list, which I should have done in May but am only getting to now.

Why make a mid-year accomplishments list? Well, what did I do last November? Uh, off the top of my head I can’t remember. If I can’t remember that now I have no hope of remembering it in October just before my performance evaluation. Hence the need for a mid-year accomplishments list.

First, I looked at my last end of year accomplishments list. Mainly, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t accidentally taking credit for something that happened in that October/November timeframe twice, as it would not only be unprofessional to do so but I would also feel pretty stupid for getting nailed stretching the truth later when I could have prevented it.

Next, I went through month by month to see if I could remember what it was I was spending my time with. I find it’s helpful to think of what was going on in my personal life as those things stay with me a bit more. Case in point, I know where I had Thanksgiving dinner (on the Disney Wonder cruise ship) but I have no idea who I met with right before that extended U.S. weekend. Using that technique, here’s what I came up with (as with the actual performance evaluation, each line item is written with a leading verb in the same way you would do for a resume):
November:

  • Handed off program management responsibility for a major presales marketing site to a development manager teammate
  • Worked with third party vendors for an external data center exit
  • Created and presented an architectural overview of all projects to our new Vice President

December:

  • Suggested and oversaw implementation of an extension of the external data center hosing provider when the negotiations that took place in November fell through
  • Prepared version comparison spreadsheet for more than 40 web site programs so that, in anticipation of the FY09 planning processes coming in January, software stack version upgrades (OS, database, middleware, etc.) required to keep up with HP data center standards could be identified and enumerated properly
  • Generated a potential project list for IT streamlining during FY09

January

  • Provided coarse level estimates (small/medium/large across 3/6/9 month durations) for 30+ projects for the preliminary FY09 planning process.
  • In conjunction with 3 Solution Architects, generated fine level estimates (specific man days per week) for 10+ projects
  • Crafted a process with business teams for evaluating 3rd party vendors that could be engaged with HP IT oversight
  • Conducted a technical evaluation of two 3rd party vendors as part of the emerging process

and so it goes for 3 another months worth of material.

Next, I looked through my email archive.  Specifically, I sorted through my “Sent Items” folder looking for items that had attachments to them (because that meant I was delivering some work product to somebody) or that went to recipients I don’t normally work with (meaning I was expanding my influence).  That was good for at least 2 more bullet items per month.

Finally, I looked through my file system (which, like a lot of people, I have organized by project) to see if there was something else I might have missed.  The results, after about 90 minutes spread across 3 days, was a list of about 3 dozen items spanning 6 months worth of work and should provide a good foundation for my performance evaluation in the Fall.

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