Snowpocalypse Report – Jan 27, 2011


Originally uploaded by cdymek

We welcome our new snowman overlords.


Cutting Cable

Well, Comcast just got around to raising the rate for us.  So we’ve decided that now is the time to cut the cable.  Here’s our plan in 8 easy steps.

1.  Get TiVo Premiere

2.  Get a new antenna

3.  Sign up for Hulu Plus

4.  Make sure Netflix streaming is configured

5.  Set up Espn3

6.  Set up Comedy Central

7.  Get the ORB BR

8.  Cancel Comcast


Project Manager Coaching – Competencies

I’ve come to realize over the past year that developing others at work is one of the next critical skills I need to develop in order to continue to advance my career.  I’ve had some success at writing code, solving business problems, and eventually leading and managing larger scale IT projects.  But there is a point where it is necessary to shift the focus from personal achievement to growing the abilities of others to lead.

One of my goals is to use this blog throughout 2011 to track the development of my action plans and then to track my progress against them.  Consider this, then, my inaugral post for the year, with my first topic and area of development to be coaching other project managers.  Luckily, one of my MBA courses is focused right now on the same topic.  I will use some of the tools, concepts and processes from the class in my own current situation.

I will begin by looking first at competencies and behaviors related to project management.  What are the basic, fundamental skills required to be a project manager?  What behaviors can be seen by those who possess the skills reqiured to be a project manager?

Over the next two weeks to four weks, I intend to research this topic in more depth.  To do so, I will consult with the following sources:

  • The Project Management Institute – the leading professional organization for project managers
  • Internal documents within my area
  • Interviews with other project managers / PMO leads within the company
  • Feedback to this post

My intent, once armed with this knowledge, is to become a better coach to one of my fellow PMs. 

Your thoughts and feedback are always welcome.


2010 In Review – Books, Movies and Shows

2010 was another year filled with books and movies.  Below are incomplete lists that I read this year, since I did not keep an accurate count.


The book count seems lower than it really is.  I’ll do better next year, I promise.

  • The Lost City of Z
  • The Good Book
  • In Her Shoes
  • On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System
  • Bonjour Laziness: Why Hard Work Doesn’t Pay
  • The Martian Chronicles
  • Fahrenheit 451
  • The Towers of Midnight (WoT Book 13)
  • Marked for Death: Dying for the Story in the World’s Most Dangerous Places
  • Berlin Noir: March Violets; The Pale Criminal; A German Requiem
  • Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America


  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Up in the Air
  • Shall We Dance?
  • Iron Man
  • Australia
  • Star Trek
  • Four Christmases
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • October Sky
  • Iron Man 2
  • Secreteriat
  • Outsourced
  • The Iron Giant
  • Monsoon Wedding

Live Shows

Per CB, this seemed to be enough to warrant its own category this year.

  • Flamenco – to get back in the spirit of Spain for an evening
  • The Foreigner – how often does the KKK make an appearance on stage?
  • Brad & Colin from the Whose Line Is It Anyway? show – just like the show, without Drew Carey
  • Memphis – One of the best musicals either of us had seen in awhile
  • Tchaikovsky @ the Mann Music Center – outdoors at the Mann in the summer, with fireworks
  • Fiddler on the Roof – Not a bad showing at the Walnut
  • Barenaked Ladies – Not the same as they once were
  • Pirates of Penzance – The Sydney Opera house
  • Jersey Boys – This was the only time I’ve ever seen the ushers actually throw someone out
Personal Travel Work

2010 In Review – The Recap

What a crazy 2010!  We welcomed 2010 quietly, after a whirlwind December 2009 that involved three out-of-state trips between CB & I and our first married Christmas.  The house was still in a state, with CB & I still needing time to sort out all of the generous gifts from the wedding PLUS both of our stuff.

Thankfully, MLK weekend gave us a chance.  Over three days we moved out of and back in to the kitchen, emptying every cupboard, cabinet and drawer, picking and choosing what to keep and what we would find another home for.  We finally were able to get rid of the last set of boxes in the dining room and take back our house.

January also served as the jumping off point for my MBA application process, with a GMAT prep class at the end of the month at Drexel.  February brought the GMATs, a visit to Drexel, and Internet searches.  CB took a cake decorating class with her sister, ensuring a beautiful, yummy cake would show up right around my birthday.  The MBA apps wrapped up in March and the waiting began.

To celebrate the MBA apps finishing up, CB & I went off to DC for a long weekend.  Biking around the capital, they revisited the site of their engagement at the FDR memorial.  They also stopped in to see CB’s brother, and their family friend Didi.

In April, I took a new position in the company, landing in the R&D IT division.  The next three months were filled with work-transition items, the second Emerging Leaders residency, and a flurry of “new project” work.  Thankfully, though, Memorial Day weekend came, and with it a chance for some time away.

CB took off to Alaska for an adventure with her friend Janet, fulfilling a long-held promise once Janet finally finished her PhD program.  Myself, not wanting to be left home alone, found a nearly-deserted island off the coast of Panama to sneak away to for a few days for some remote R&R.

Returning home, we were now just days away from our one year anniversary.  Not wanting to let the occasion pass uncelebrated, we snuck off to NYC for the night.  After a great Cuban dinner, we went up the Empire State building, then saw Memphis the next afternoon.  And just like June 13th a year earlier, it poured rain in the afternoon.

June, July and August were hot in Philly as usual, so it was time to shift gears.  Instead of trying to “get things done” around the house, CB & I spent our time running around having fun.  From concerts to shows to dinners and dancing, we had plenty of fun.

The MBA acceptance letters also came back, and we knew it was just a matter of time before I would be tied up for two years getting my masters.  To celebrate, we quickly planned a two week trip to Australia for Labor Day weekend.  Despite some setbacks at work and having no time to plan, we did a whirlwind tour of Melbourne, Cairns, and Sydney.  We saw penguins, kangaroos, wallabies, and birds galore, along with the Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef, and wine country outside Melbourne.

Two weeks after we landed I was off to the week-long kickoff session at Babson in Boston!  From October until mid-December, I was in school and life was go-go-go!  Despite some sad moments in the Fall, we slid in to the end of the year, with Thanksgiving at Cioci Deb’s and Uncle Burt’s in Sparta, Christmas Eve with CB’s family, and Christmas Day with both sides.  Sure, we may have been decorating the tree again on Christmas Eve, but it was still a great holiday with our family.

Now, with 2010 in the books, we are thankful for all the great moments and we look forward to seeing what 2011 will bring us.

Happy New Year!