In Your Shoes - Scott Gellatly

Following many years working for American corporate IT companies (Unisys, Hewlett Packard), in February 2017, took the decision to set up Downie Park Consultancy, selling Programme and Project Management services. Since then, we have delivered Cloud projects (inc. Microsoft Azure and M365) to four Scottish Public Sector clients and a UK island local government.

Current contract is supporting an IT Consultancy supplier deliver M365 to its end client with global footprint.

The company and I are in Dundee.

Monday - Early(ish) Start & Conference Call Hell

Made the daily cappuccino then a 0700-start following a chat at weekend with client around some urgent project planning work needing completed ASAP on the back of an Executive ask. We are delivering Project Management services to support deployment of Microsoft 365 to a global bank with 32000 users

Over the day thirteen Teams conference calls, four of which I am double-booked. This is a typical day which leaves little time for getting things done and due to the frantic pace programme team being asked to work at has led to some extended days and weekend work.

No extended day today though as being a keen gamer I had a couple of hours on the PC after dinner playing an online multiplayer RTS game. A big Battlefield series fan although the latest, BF2042, a big let-down and signed the worldwide petition to have Electronic Arts give a full refund to everyone who bought it.

Tuesday - Company Admin

Company business preparing end of quarter VAT return and end of year accounts. Unfortunately, the accountancy firm I use was hit by a cyber-attack early January. Their self-service portal has been down since and I have been unable to load up transactions, process invoices and I needed do some manual work to reconcile the data. The service over the past six months not been that good so spent a bit of time looking at alternatives.

More conference calls, the most important being the Weekly Programme Status call, where the Client Project Managers report status on the projects to Senior Leadership, with myself supporting on any updates or questions they cannot answer.

Wednesday - Building Work and Charity Walk

An early morning walk to clear the head. Only eleven conference calls today mainly focussed on building out (technical deployment) of the first of three Microsoft 365 environments.

As we are in the build phase there are daily project team stand ups in place to immediately unblock issues which will impact delivery dates. The end client is a financial institution so additional level of scrutiny required and some time today reviewing the technical changes being applied next week by one of the third-party suppliers and which will be presented at the Change Advisory Board for approval.

Not a hardcore Facebook user although am in a group chat with friends as we train for the Cateran Yomp, a 54-mile charity walk for ABF, the Soldiers Charity, in June, so check in now and again. We are planning our next training walk, three Munros in the Glen Lyon area on Sunday, weather permitting. Picture from last year’s Yomp and despite the pained expression was good fun…honest.

Thursday - Planning Day

Most of day spent updating a near 2000-line Project Plan with the technical consultants and project managers, which was reviewed at the afternoon planning call. This is a weekly activity where we look at issues which result in late tasks moving critical milestone dates right, and how we recover.

Currently this is done remotely but in next two weeks should be face to face in London once client says it is safe to attend their office. Will be good to get a bit of travel and on-site meetings as have not travelled to a client site (Guernsey) since August and going a bit stir crazy in my home office. I have a stand-up/sit down desk so tend to stand until mid-afternoon, or until my legs get sore, whatever comes first.

Friday - Day Off

A long weekend in Dumfries and Galloway, a place Mary and I have never been. Long drive down, then a hike around Loch Trool area taking advantage of the good weather as was going to be heavy rain Saturday/Sunday.

After a walk around Wigtown and Dumfries headed up to the accommodation, a studio flat which is part of Drumlanrig Castle, with a pit-stop at the chocolatier in Thornhill we spotted as we drove past. Had to buy a few bars of tartan chocolate. Dinner in the flat then some time on the VR Headset. (A lock down purchase last year, along with a kayak…it was a slow workday).