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.


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.


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?

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.

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).

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.

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.


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.

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. Baby steps are what have moved me along my journey to reach each milestone in my life. 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 toward 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.