Sunday, 27 June 2010

Catch-up Blog #3: And so, here endeth EMEAC...

And a good evening to you again from Paris, where the weather is about 14 BILLION degrees, but no complaints here. If anything, I'm trying to soak up every SECOND of it, as I'm sure it's probably negative THIRTY in London. But anyhoo, I owe you all a catch-up blog!
Okay, so when I last left you, the achy-breaky Taylors had arrived back in London Euston, where there said farewell to the ladies and then went him for some guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuud curry (the Doot, of course!). We got in bed at a decent hour because I knew that I needed my rest (and so did my liver). After all - this week was the Knowledge Transfer Summit, and was had TONS to do.
So for those of you not familiar with our project methodology (if you're not you're a better person for it), the Knowledge Transfer week is important for a lot of reasons. First and foremost, it's a chance to improve our management styles and documentation for future projects by discussing what worked well and what didn't. Equally as important, however, this session traditionally signifies the official end to the project as folks move onto their next jobs or implementations. For that reason, it is a happy yet somewhat sad time, as you realize that the folks you've lived in a foxhole with for the better part of 2 years will soon be leaving you, and the work that you have enjoyed and truly found a rhythm with will soon be gone, replaced by new activities with a new cast of characters. With all this in mind, there was a mental pact amongst the group - MAKE IT COUNT. I am happy to report that we succeeded in this mission.
For starters, Monday was the first of 4 great days of sessions. And in the evening, Puffin and I got a chance to hang with Tout Suitte, Old School Cool, and Q (that would be Debbie Martin - she's officially inherited a new nickname) at this GREAT Belgian Beer Cafe called (appropriately enough) "The Lowlander." Determined to actually MAKE IT THROUGH DINNER this time, I stuck to half pints vs. going tall and ordering Mardesous Triples...I think it was a good call.
It was great to catch-up with everyone, and our livers thanked us for not staying out until late that evening. After all - it's a marathon - not a sprint.
On Tuesday, the sessions went great, and then the evening saw the first of 2 treats - a reception at the Churchill Cabinet War Rooms. Simply put - this was AWESOME. For starters, we had the museum to ourselves AFTER IT WAS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC. Being a history buff, this was pretty much a dream come true. I'd actually been there in 2006, but it's DEFINITELY a place that deserves more than one visit.
The highlight of the event was actually being able to VISIT THE CABINET ROOM!!!! We had a great tour guide who gave us a quick history of the place whilst we stood in the war room where Churchill himself conducted his meetings. And whilst this photo pretty much shows the extend of my "Heathrow Injection," I simply had to include it, as that is Churchill's chair that I'm standing beside - AMAZING!
Dinner that night was the Mango Tree, where I ate curry out of a pineapple boat. Yep - you can't hide culture.
Wednesday was the biggest day of the week, as we had an off-site to complete the sessions. The day was simply PERFECT - great food, AMAZING views (we had the 31st floor of a tower in CENTRAL LONDON, and it was a PERFECT day), good times with the game, and talk about a THRILLING VICTORY FOR TEAM U-S-A, baby!!!! The Brits had a viewing section and the Colonists had a viewing section, so it was really fun to hear the cheers (and jeers) between the two groups. For the group's sake - I'm glad that both got through.
And btw - Lisa Tavares - I KNOW that you love chairs. In fact, the entire project team knows that you love chairs, particularly chairs that no one sits in. However, should you find it necessary to purchase another chair for the Tavares household, Old School Cool Brother Ray HIGHLY recommends the one he found at the Paramount Club.
The evening was capped off with a GREAT dinner, the traditional Sam Taylor Transition Poem, and chatting with friends whilst watching the sun go down and the lights come on all over London. All in all, it was a PERFECT day.

Thursday was another busy one, and we ended it the only way it could ultimately go down: Final pints at the Cat & Canary, followed by a final dinner at La Figa. Once those 2 things were complete, all was right with the world (it was almost Six Sigma it was so perfect).
And so, after more than 18 months of work, countless emails and meetings, about 40,000 miles in the air (for me alone - some folks are over 200K), tons of documents, 59,000 communications reviews, 14,000 signoffs on documentation, 15,000 Change Controls, and who knows what else, here endeth the EMEAC project. However, life doesn't slow down for anyone, as the rest of the International Transition projects anxiously await our focus. And so I say, "Once more to the breach, dear friends. Cry havoc! And let slip the dogs of war..."
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!
Sam and Jenny

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