2015-04-27

Happy 10th Anniversary to the Dork Side!

Thanks to CAD Panacea, I had a little reminder that my blog has just turned 10 years old. Evidently his first blog post was on my 25th birthday, and mine came about two weeks later. 

 It's been an exciting decade for me (and, luckily, not exciting in all of the awful ways of the preceding decades). I was tickled to look back at my first post, which gave the history of my naming of the blog. This week, I was discussing a FitBit challenge with my boss and had to give him my personal email address... which got the expected disbelief, followed by eyerolls. Listen!!! Nobody ever remembers my name, but, they do NOT forget my nickname once they've heard it. 

 Back in those days, I was heavily involved with the Gateway Autodesk Users Group, which I'd founded along with Brian Myers, after we met through the AUGI forums and wanted more local ways to learn and network. That group pretty well fizzled when I stepped down as president upon the birth of my second son. Brian and I are both peripherally involved with the Revit Users Group, headed up by Chris Link. We were happy when he approached us for advice on getting things going again, and he and Ellen Smith and all of the other local Revit gurus who serve on the advisory board and organize and present at meetings are stellar! I miss the cross-industry nature of GAUG, but, things go how they will. 
At any rate, I used to edit the monthly newsletter of that group, which ended up going out to people around the world, instead of just our bi-state region as I'd expected initially. Herding authors and laying out articles takes a lot of time though, so I switched to blogging as a simpler platform. 

I had also just gotten involved with doing the AUGI Salary Surveys, which I've never let go of. It is a year-round job, and probably a lot less necessary than it used to be, with the advent of so many other salary resources, but, it is near and dear to many hearts and provides a good long look at the state of our industry and disciplines

Despite my increasied involvement in the industry, a whopping 5 years into my career, I didn't know diddly then! I've learned an unbelievable amount in the intervening years, and I'd like to thank everyone in my industry and at Autodesk and other firms and on all of the forums who have provided me with endless opportunities for insight. 

And, thanks to the Beta forums and Ellen Finkelstein and diverse others, I have worked as a Technical Editor or coauthor on 16 textbooks for three different publishers, as well as having had columns in CADalyst AEC Tech News, HotNews TipNiques then Polls and Surveys, and AUGIWorld Magazine Forum highlights. As well as random articles in CADalyst Magazine, AUGIWorld and CADdigest and assisting in labs at Autodesk University, and a string of speaking appearances as a BIM panelist.

Since I started a new job at the end of 2013, I have been working longer and more stimulating hours as a system administrator, so my blogging volume has never fully recovered from it's pre-university days and I've cut back drastically on the freelancing and consulting I do. 
I have taken to tweeting and instagramming tips as I think of them, usually with the aid of my #CADdork (aka, 'Lego Me' from the hard-to-find lady scientist set, look, she's got a mole and everything!).
I do still stay involved with the Autodesk Users Group International, giving back to the community that has given me so much!
I believe I'm now in my 5th year (of 6) serving as a Director and an Officer of the Board... because I'm obviously a glutton for punishment. 

 If you'd asked me back in college how my career (and life) would turn out, I'd have had no clue. 
Who could have seen this coming? In the past 10 years, I've started managing projects (construction and IT), been published (and paid for it), started implementing BIM (for MEP in FM), gotten married to a fellow CAD dork, maintained 6 plotters and two lf copiers, flown to Europe three times, finished a bachelor's degree and started a master's, bought a house, had an iPaq, three iPhones, a Kindle, an iPad a FitBit and two 3d Mice and made one major career change (still FM, aw, no more BIM!)... and, so much more. 

Here's hoping I can keep writing about it for the next 10 years at least.

2015-02-26

How to get started in Social Media

Yesterday, I shared my basic philosophy about leveraging social media in your professional life. 
The essence of which is basically: make yourself available.

Getting started:

1. Sign up for all of the popular accounts. 
Use similar naming and the same headshot, so people in your industry can recognize you when your networks overlap, and make yourself easy to find (or more likely to show up as a recommended connection to others).

- Naming: I started out on forums 15 years ago as Wanderer, but, for the past 10 years (since I started this blog), my primary branding has been with the nom de guerre "Mistress of the Dorkness". I could just use my name, but, let's face it, no one gets my name right. Melissa, Melinda, Miranda, Madeline... Natalie? Christine? Or, even just being confused with another young brunette Melanie in our industry. It was a hopeless case, I had to go by something more memorable.
- Headshot: I know, you're not a model, you're probably a very pragmatic down to earth guy who doesn't even like having his photo taken. BUT just follow my advice, it won't cost you anything. 
- Profile: Complete your profile. Provide basic industry data with a bit of experience and personality. Have all of your contact data pointing back to a single, dedicated personal email address for simplicity's sake (and don't forget to check it at least multiple times per year, opening emails to keep addresses from being placed on an unresponsive or invalid list). If there is a field, fill it out (and use spell check), don't leave blanks.

2. Connect with others.
LinkedIn? Look up your local colleagues and send connection requests.
Twitter? Look up profiles of Autodesk or AUGI and start following some people that follow them, or those they mention or retweet. Or, just find one Twitter guru and follow a "list" they've created, so, the people they find most worth interesting are curated for you, no following required (though that does cut out some reciprocity, following would let those people know you're there).
Forums? Find the topics that interest you most and either create a shortcut for quick access or subscribe to email notifications for new posts (for me, the essential is the Facilites Management forum http://forums.augi.com/forumdisplay.php?519-Facilities-Management-In-Practice ).
Google Plus (G+)? Search the networking site for industry key words, or, ping a guru and ask them to share an industry-related Circle with you.
Facebook? Some people keep this for personal connections, and I respect that, however, loads of people started off there with only professional connections and spend loads of time there. Since my family and friends showed up, I've started posting more personal comtent and less shop-talk, but, it's still great for work topics. I recommend Robert Green's "CAD Manager's Unite!" group for some good folks to converse with and learn from.

3. Consume data.
Find a few minutes here or there to see article titles. Most you'll give a pass to, others you'll read and learn something from.

4. Share data.
Occasionally share content you found interesting, or create your own. 

Just resharing an interesting article (or infographic or forum topic or photo of a local project, etc) can establish you as someone who understands the industry.

Have more time to share? 
Find a blogger who covers your industry and offer to do a guest post. Or, contact a content manager for AUGIWorld and see if you can offer something there. http://www.augi.com/augiworld/augiworld-content-managers Those articles can serve as pointers back to you.

5. Check in on a semi-regular basis. 
Sure, you could cycle through each site or app.
But, that single email address I recommended? Minimum, just run through there once a week, to see if you've got PM's, Facebook mentions, LinkedIn group notices, Twitter @ replies, G+ tags or whatever. 
Just be available and be responsive, you don't have to read it all or create it all, just touch base and be accessible.

I can scroll through the most recent 30 Google+ posts or 75 most recent Twitter posts in the time it will take me to reheat leftovers for dinner tonight.

6. Go Advanced.
There are websites and apps that will push updates to all of your social media accounts at once. 
I don't personally use them, but, those folks in our industry that are true social gurus do. Minimal effort for maximum exposure. No pressure either way, do what you feel comfortable with.

Why?

Networking. 
Professional connections are pretty invigorating to me (believe me, I'm a hardcore introvert who typically prefers the company of books to people, so, I'm as shocked by this as you are) and seeing other people excited about their projects opens my mind to the ways I could change or improve my own work and brings back some of that starry-eyed excitement and those dreams about the potential inherent in every problem we encounter in the workplace. 
We spend so much of our time working, we should find ways to make that as enjoyable and fulfilling and productive as possible.

Also? Work.
Money talks, right?
*I met local gurus and found a support network because of starting a LUG with someone I met on the AUGI forums. I was a know-nothing kid in a niche industry, but, I could still help bring people together, even though I lacked technical knowledge at that time. 
*I got my first two contract gigs (working on books) because of this blog and my profile in the Autodesk beta forums.
*I got another contract gig because of my MySpace profile (yeah, I'm serious).
*I landed a recurring gig with a publisher because I reached out to one of their authors via Twitter when he was at AU and tweeted that he didn't know anyone, he made introductions as a thank you.
*I have my current job because of LinkedIn (and I've also been headhunted there numerous times).

Basically, I had a contact who was working as a consultant, when he left that company, he was contractually forbidden from contacting me, as a client or as a potential employee (as I'd been in the process of interviewing with them). A couple years later, when I had questions about his specialty, I searched for him on LinkedIn and reached out to him there. I interviewed at his new company, but, it wasn't a good fit at the time. BUT, a couple years later, when one of his clients was looking to create a new position that was right up my alley, he made the appropriate introductions, and here I am!

If you want the chance at new experiences, you have to try something different. For me, social media has been a great tool to make friends, network, expand my skillset and grow my career.

Do you have a social media success story? Please share!


How to keep up with social media?

It's no secret that I have been an eager adopter of social media platforms and forums, from AOL chat rooms to MySpace to Twitter and G+ and more.

Because of this, I've often been asked (by those who want to leverage exposure or networking tools or learning opportunities) "how do you keep up with social media?"

The honest answer I always provide is... I don't
Do not worry about consuming all available data on a platform (or platforms). 
It's simply not possible, so, don't put that pressure on yourself, you'll be too overwhelmed to even get started.

To me, all these platforms provide essentially two things:
1. An access point to people
2. An access point to topical data

To get started, you do NOT have to commit to huge chunks of time. 
All of the time I spend on social media are stolen moments; standing in a long checkout line, waiting for water to boil, during commercials, while non-essentially participating in a conference call, etc.

If I have a profile somewhere (Twitter, AUGI, LinkedIn, et al), then people who spend time on those sites can see a resource that reminds them of me or see a question I could possibly answer, and easily locate me and loop me into the converstation 
I don't regularly give out my telephone number, never have, never will, BUT, anyone can get ahold of me if they want to because of my presence on so many popular sites.

Working in a tech field means things change rapidly. Exciting projects are started and finished every day. People change companies and industries. Laws pass or lawsuits affect how we buy or sell things.
Being a part of many networks is the only way you can be exposed to all of this change.

In tomorrow's post, I'll give you some simple tips to get started leveraging social media for professional benefit, and some examples of how my social presence has benefited me.


2015-01-28

A day in the life Blog Roundup

Alright, time for the blog roundup of all of those who took the time to document their day.

Feel free to also check out the hashtag #CADdork on Twitter for some play by play from a few other people, and the other social platforms for a few random comments.



Todd Shackelford - BIM Manager

Robert Green - Consultant / Trainer

Mark Kiker - Director of Information Technology 

Dean Saadallah - Associate Principal 

Luciana Klein - Consultant 

Brian Benton - Senior Engineering Technician 

Paul Munford - CAD/CAM Manager 

Robin Capper - Retail Design Manager 

Melanie Perry - Sr. Facilities Management Systems Specialist

Brian Myers - MEP Technology Director 

Thomas Rambach - Mechanical Designer

Please let me know if I've missed any, I will happily add a link... I know not everyone who wanted to participate yesterday was able to, so, send me your link when you get a post on this topic published.

2015-01-27

A day in the life of a CAD Dork

I've been reading the #CADdork (day in the life of a CAD/BIM blogger) posts by some of my favorite authors today, and look forward to perusing the rest. I'll post a link to them, I believe Todd Shackelford is planning on doing the roundup.


Working in Facilities, I don't always get a predictable day, but, that's part of why I like it. Also, in my current role, I'm primarily tech support as the administrator of our CAFM/CMMS, but, like everyone else in my group, when anything needs done, one of us steps up to do it.

Thinking of my regular tasks, I didn't lay out any potential renovations in #AutoCAD today, which is fine, because when my coworkers watch me CAD, it makes me self-conscious. I didn't really do any reporting (think of me as the Penelope Garcia of Facilities). I didn't do any programming or user training (I've got some upcoming changes to our maintenance module, so I'll be in touch with a few users to get them up to speed and ease them into the differences then). No new account setups or role changes.
I DID do some tech support, data verification, table auditing and helped cover some work for a vacationing coworker.
We don't have a lunch break at work, just all eat at our desks, so breaks are taken when we have a lull in our activities.

Usually I am home by 5pm, helping with homework and cooking a full meal most nights. We have an open plan, so, I can see and speak with the family while I work. I enjoy cooking, it's the only creative thing I really do well (that and I'm a super picky eater). 
After dinner, we enjoy movies and Netflix marathons while we catch up on our games, make jokes at each other's expense and enjoy the dark and relative quiet. I check into AUGI accounts all the time, very much embedded into the community and happy to be a part of such a fun group of members.

If I've had too much stimulation during the day, I tend to stay up late after everyone else retires and read because I so seldom have any time alone.
Of course, I read (fiction only) every night before bed, always have, always will.

Full details of my day below.

6:30 Get up and check personal & AUGI email and other social accounts.

7:00 Morning ablutions.

7:10 My husband is already up, making lunch for the boys and starting a pot of joe. Grab a cup from the still-brewing coffee, kiss the family goodbye & head out.
I blare music during my commute. No talk, no news, just music.
Today? I was feeling 90's. 

7:50 ZOMG, traffic is uncharacteristically horrible, sitting on the interstate. 
I hate being late. Message my boss to tell him I won't be in on time.

7:55 Traffic finally opens up.

8:15 Arrive at work. I really prefer to get in earlier, to have some quiet time before people start arriving, getting a handle on planning my day (whether I'm given the luxury of following that plan is not something I can always control ;) ).

Here is my cube, I hate paper, so, it's mostly filled with swag to distinguish me from the non-IT people that surround me:

Check my email, and the two mailboxes I'm covering while our Corporate Facilities superhero is on a week+ long vacation.
~sniff~ Including an email about the Archibus Nexus conference, that I can't go to because it's (once again) not in the budget. I'd love to take the system integration and reporting classes there, as well as see what other users are doing with their systems.

9:00 breakfast. Leftover chili (variety of beans + quinoa, very filling).
Eat at my desk while trying not to strangle a nearby cube dweller who has their phone on speaker, they're on hold. The looped messages are annoying.

Take a swing through www.forums.augi.com and check the moderation queue for posts that need approving, reply to PMs from other mods, no action today in the moderators' forum. Read posts to see if I can answer any questions.
Try to check the adesk cad manager's group, but, it locks up on me, too much for my attention span (or lack thereof).

9:15 Pull up Citrix to log into Archibus thick client.

Yesterday I was asked which conference rooms in our corporate buildings are restricted (used exclusively by one department, or presently out of rotation because of being utilized as a workspace).
That information is not currently being tracked in our CAFM system.
So, today I added a room type for restricted conference rooms and will be adjusting the records as I can, it'll piggyback on a recent audit I did, whose results I'll go over with my coworker when she returns and digs out.

As long as I'm in the room types table, I see there are description formatting inconsistencies with 10% of the room type descriptions, and 30% of the room types have no floor plan highlight colors assigned, so I rectify those gaps.

9:45 I've been sitting for 2 1/2 hours already today and just received a FitBit taunt from Frozen Layers.
So, I'm going to run the stairs and get some coffee.
Alright, 10 minutes = 600 moderate steps. I needed that break, too.

9:55 Check the employee starts/moves that need processing, chase up managers when no locations are given.

10:06 a coworker walking by is discussing TMI medical stuff. That's lovely.
~trying to carry on filtering data~

11:00 Heard back about the questions I had regarding restricted rooms in our main buildings and pulled up some floor plans to categorize them all.
12:00 sent off summary spreadsheet to my VP along with a couple of changes I'll be making in our database to account for this. I miss our Corporate Facilities superhero, she could tell us without running a report.

12:15 walking downstairs to see if there's anything decent looking in the cafe.

12:30 The roasted veggies looked nice so I grabbed a variety. I eat while popping into the AUGI forums again. Hint: I always keep chopsticks at my desk, makes one-handed eating simpler. Not very filling, so I'll have a protein bar later (if you visited me & Uncle Bill at Autodesk University, these are what I bring with me in the case of weird foods or a too-busy schedule when I travel, I keep a box in my cube for busy days).

12:45 I'm finished with lunch and email, procrastinating on working on the occupancy plans again... but, as my alternative is to work on the Processes and Procedures manual for my team, which my manager just put me in charge of (since I can't keep my big mouth shut)... I dig into the employee movement records again.

12:55 Call about emergency project in another building. Plan done and sent off to create project.

1:10 Back to occupancy plans.

1:30 Call from my Archibus business partner (Talisen Technologies). We try to meet once a week to go over outstanding issues and troubleshoot my code, because I'm such a noob. Just a quick touch-base today, we'll reconnect next week and put out fires by email.

1:40 Tech support visit from the Real Estate Manager, a cache-clearing resolves it. 
I copy out the log file to peruse later to investigate a timeout issue she's having.

1:50 Mental health break. Coffee. Hide in the bathroom.

2:00 Back at desk, I open up AutoCAD to a drawing I was playing with (a polyhedral desk calendar... lady-geekified).
2:03 Met with Branch Facilities superhero to brainstorm on the issues we're covering for our vacationing coworker.

2:30 Check on progression of moves.

2:40 Back to occupancy. Verifying which people have left this week, or consultants whose contracts have ended or been extended.

3:50 Run update routine to populate Department into the rooms, from the new occupants, or freed up due to departures.

3:55 One last run through the mailboxes. I would normally stay a bit later to plow through more of this, but, I have a meeting in Clayton at 4:30.

4:30 Settling in at the Christner office training room, with some of the most awesome local talent for a RUG steering committee meeting.
Chris Link and Ellen Smith led the rest of us in talks about meeting frequency, networking event locations, topics, resource collaboration (such as skills requirements and PxPs), division of labor with more frequent meetings and sponsors. The St. Louis Revit Users Group also wants to beef up its social media presence, sharing our content and keeping in the forefront of members' minds so they don't miss any events they're interested in.

5:30 Meeting breaks up, discussion on cloud collaboration setups and options breaks out. Interesting stuff. Everyone is working on interesting projects. Oh, drumming up support and authority from leadership was another sidebar.

6:00 Leave and head toward home.
As I leave, I think how disappointed I am that no one at all noticed my One Ring earrings today.


6:25 Stop at grocery store. 

6:45 Home at last. Unpack groceries, sort mail.

7:00 Dinner in the oven (toasting breadbowls for leftover chili).
7:08 Family eating.

7:10 Some alone time on my elliptical.

7:40 I'm a wuss and my foot hurts. Shower time.

8:00 Getting my kindergartener ready for bed.
I'm very proud, he made his first pun today (it involved farts, so my husband is also very proud).
"I want to be somebody new" is our bedtime story. His reading is progressing quickly.

8:20 Eating my dinner. Taking some hits on my guild monster, I was a terrible slacker missing battle this evening, gotta make it up to my guildies before my DH finishes shaving and starts up our movie (we're watching Serenity tonight. It took some work, but, I've made him into a huge Firefly fan... he's even got Jayne's Blue Sun shirt and everything.).

8:40 Livingroom time. 
If I'm doing any blogging or specific AUGI projects (like surveys/polls), this is when I'll tackle it.

2015-01-20

CAFM the first year Part 5

Back in November (~checking calendar~ Holy cannoli! How it is the end of January already!?!?) I began a series of articles on how I've adjusted in my new role.
While I have spent my entire career in a post-occupancy setting, coordinating CAD/BIM and technology projects on an Engineering team for a large medical facility is much different than administering a CAFM/CMMS for an equally large (though much more far-flung) office environment.

This is my final installment in that series, tasks which I have begun working on, and which I will continue to plow through. I will link to the other articles at the bottom of this post.



Goal Setting
I won't bore you with any more talk of goal-setting after my last article. But, of course, I managed to tie my personal goal up into one of the goals for my department. We aim to improve our stewardship of the assets in our care this year, by changing the way that we track and monitor them (in some cases that means collecting more data, in others, it just means taking time to analyze that data to see what bubbles to the top and can inform our choices. Applied analytics or organizational informatics is what this is... oh, yeah, big data, baby!).

Data Auditing
My personal aspiration is to audit every SQL data table in my Archibus installation.
585 tables. I've audited 26 so far.
That is a bit misleading, though. I might open a table to see what it contains, and detect where the data gaps are. But, a true audit will only come about when I reference tables against each other. That is a little harder to track, but, I have a future post in mind about how to streamline this for long-term use.

Examples (skip this if you're not a hopeless nerd who gets off on organizing and trending massive datasets, seriously, I won't be offended)
Our real estate manager routinely runs reports on our active leases. I can't even conceive of all of the metrics she has established for these, but, one of the more important data points when querying for her report is whether a lease is active or inactive. Her regular audits and established processes ensure this data is always kept accurate.
However, each of these leases is also assigned to a building. I found by looking at the building table that no one was currently marking when a building was no longer being used. This was evidently done by another employee in the past. This can have repercussions in all of our modules. So, I created a process to address this, and had myself inserted into the move notifications, so, the project manager who moves us from one location to another sends out a mass email to those who need to know, which now includes me. At the appointed time, I mark the building inactive and move the Work Requestor employees from the old building to the new one, ensuring maintenance and other records are applied to the correct location.

I mentioned in Part 3 of this series, that I detected some problems in our maintenance KPIs (key performance indicators), in that there were too many generic work requests, which could have fit into existing categories for more granular and accurate tracking. Making things easier for the (non-maintenance) work requestors involved paring the main list of problem types from 32 down to 16, and renaming some to be more clear (such as switching 'Mechanical' to 'Heating & Cooling'), and adding sub-types for common issues.
As we were having this discussion, we actually talked about having keys made, which we did outsource, but, after I asked our corporate facilities manager how much we spent on that, she got a quote for a key machine and we saw the ROI was at 18 months. Bam, now one of the guys makes keys in-house for us, saving both money and time (that's like $^2, right?).
That is analytics informing business decisions and process change. Beauty.

I recently streamlined the room types table, but, it could probably still use a bit more tightening up, I need to consult with our corporate facility manager and vp before I make any further changes, as they are the experts on how our buildings are currently used and might be in the future.

I mentioned above how I will only have a complete audit when I reference some of the tables against one another. For example, I can look at the rooms database and see if there is a space number which isn't linked to a dwg (an orphaned space designator after a renovation, or a number manually entered during an employee move which doesn't actually exist?), and I can look at the employee table and ensure all information is filled in. But, it isn't until I pull these two tables together that I see that maybe there are three employees assigned to one cube, and I know we're not THAT crowded. That is the point where we chase down possible causes and implement new procedures, or tweak the views where users input data.

Rather than going on and on with similar examples and possibilities, I'll wrap up now.

Have you done some data auditing? Did it help you prevent mistakes? Save you money? Cause you to outsource or bring new functions in-house?


http://mistressofthedorkness.blogspot.com/2014/11/cafm-first-year-part-1.html
Upgrading Archibus from release 18.1 to 21.1, and after some unresolved errors, ultimately to version 21.2. Migrating data, forms and users, documenting as I learned about our processes.

http://mistressofthedorkness.blogspot.com/2014/11/cafm-first-year-part-2.html
Learning how our real estate team works and customizing a form with numerous panels, in order to keep the information together and easily accessible... and the crazy unexpected and hard to reproduce errors that slowed us down for a few weeks.
It's important to build good rapport with your users and remind them to report errors as soon as they happen (good users try to work around problems, but, that doesn't solve them).

http://mistressofthedorkness.blogspot.com/2014/11/cafm-first-year-part-3.html
Adding 500 branches to our CMMS (for work orders, we'll tackle preventative maintenance later on, the branch team is still streamlining our hvac contracts and working up standard procedures for our equipment) and creating a simple end user tutorial on entering work requests.
The whole branch team now has an SLA and is using the new Operations Console in WebCentral, but, I still need to migrate our corporate team from the old pages, their user roles and VPA restrictions will need to be wiped and started over, as there is a lot of customization on their current settings which prevent their seeing content in the new Console.

http://mistressofthedorkness.blogspot.com/2014/11/cafm-first-year-part-4.html
Archibus's bread and butter is space asset management. Migrating tasks and functions from the thick client to WebCentral and introducing the Space Console and making plans to capture common spaces not currently polylined.

2015-01-17

Setting a goal you can actually achieve

I have never been the type to set resolutions on New Year's Day, though if it is an effective motivator, I fully support all who do.
Although, with everyone's talk of goals recently, I have been reminded of goal-setting at work (which we complete by October 1st). 

If any of you have done goal-setting in the corporate environment, you might be familiar with the SMART acronym. The guideline that prompts us to make our goals; specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.


I have underlying motivators all the time; complete a pet project at work, find interesting side-gigs, obtain a new job, pay off debt, save for retirement. 
Admittedly, I am a details person, I usually see the trees and not the forest. Babysteps are what have moved me along my journey to reach each milestone in my life, or, in business speak, achieving set goals. I do NOT usually make my goals time-bound, though, and could really stand to work on that.

So, I'd like to encourage you to think about any 'wishes', 'desires', 'dreams', you may have. 
Turn those wants into something actionable!

Want a new job?
Be specific about what that really means.
Obtain a role focused on "project management" for a "company with a good family atmosphere or work life balance" in "a city I would like to move to" paying at least "$67,000 a year with decent benefits" by "January 1st of 2016."

There are things you can do to increase your chances of receiving a job offer. Those can be measurable.
Attend at least five networking events.
Update my resume (and portfolio, if applicable).
Send my resume to three trusted friends for review and feedback.
Update my resume based on that feedback.
Visit all online accounts and ensure they are up to date, so potential employers can contact me (LinkedIn, AUGI, other professional organizations, social accounts... link them all to the same *personal* email account, so contacts from your network can be in touch consistently also update your job title/duties and headshots so they are current).
Write three articles for "industry publication and/or guest post on industry blog".
Practice public speaking.
Obtain a certification.

Now, some of these could actually be goals in their own right, but, I'm just attempting to get you to brainstorm for now. 
Maybe your goal for this year should really be to "raise my professional profile" and next year will be "to obtain a new role". 
If you feel your next dream job isn't attainable until you get more practice speaking or take additional training, then adjust your goals to focus on those steps first. Hosting lunch & learns, speaking at a LUG, recording a podcast, joining toastmasters, etc can help you be a better speaker and raise your profile.

Are your to-do list items relevant and realistic?
If you want to be a data analyst, you might want a Revit MEP certification, but, it isn't really relevant to your goal. And, while you might want an MCSE to help obtain a role as an IT Manager, if you don't have the time and money for a course and studying and testing, it might not be a realistic task for now.

And, of course, just like most writers and project managers, I am useless without a deadline. Your checkpoints need to be time-bound.
Organize the things that will move you torward getting that job offer, and set deadlines for yourself.
Don't wait until summer to begin attending networking events, because they're sparsely scheduled and attended while folks are doing family vacations, so, spring is probably a better starting point.

Goal setting

I use job searching as my example for goal-setting, because almost all of us have gone through the process more than once and can identify with it.
Maybe your goal is to change a major process at work, or switch software platforms, or start a personal hobby to take your mind off of work.

Whatever your goal may be, you can reach it, if you organize your thoughts and provide yourself some checkpoints to keep you motivated and moving forward.

Any goal-setting or goal-checking advice? I'd love to hear what works for you.