Business Systems Analyst

Show and Tell – Landmark

I’ve been playing a lot of EverQuest Next Landmark recently. Even though it is still early in alpha, the game is great. In fact, I have hardly played any Minecraft (my most recent gaming obsession) since Landmark alpha started.

Me, Hubby, and our long time Aussie friend, just hanging out.

Me, Hubby, and our long time Aussie friend, just hanging out.

Landmark has so much potential, and the entire process that they (SOE) are taking with the open communication, no NDA, pay-to-play Alpha is refreshing. And also super fascinating to the business systems analyst and project manager in me. I’ll probably share my thoughts on that later.

Landmark is a sandbox game that is heavily focused on exploration and building the world. The pieces that have been released to the alpha group so far consist almost entirely of resource gathering, crafting, and building tools. So in essence, you go into the world and a piece of land plant your flag in it (almost literally) and build. You gather the resources that you need to make and upgrade tools, and to build everything that you want to build on your land. And you explore what others have built. There are some very talented people playing this game.

But now to the point. Today I want to share what I have made so far. (Click to view full size!)

The view from the bottom of the path up the mountain.

The view from the bottom of the path up the mountain.

I don’t consider any of this done at this point.

I really wanted to build a traditional Shinto arch, but I need to practice with the tools more before I can make one that looks right.

View from above, with Hubby's place down in the valley.

View from above, with Hubby’s place down in the valley.

Neighbors dotting the mountain tops.

Other settlers dotting the mountain tops.

I have three other neighbors near by. One at the base of my hill (almost looks like part of my claim) and two out in the desert valley.

I have three other neighbors near by. One at the base of my hill (almost looks like part of my claim) and two out in the desert valley.

For the building, I am still working on the latticework in the walls, and haven’t done much work on the interior. I plan to use the smoothing tool on all of it (or at least parts) to make the edges softer, and maybe make the pillars round. The arch is pretty, but not what I wanted.

Sunset!

I love how it looks at night!

I love how it looks at night!

Another night view.

Another night view.

If the images don’t load properly here, you can also view them on imgur.

For those of you out there that are playing landmark, if you have questions about how I did anything, let me know! I’m happy to share. If you want to take a look in person, I’m on Liberation/Dell in the SW corner of the jungle (coordinates:  -1340.40, 1340.60, 1647.60).

I love change, until I hate it.

I have a strange love of change in my work place. I get bored quickly doing the same type of work repeatedly. The more things change, the more my job remains interesting. This is generally good for me because my job typically has a lot of variety, it all leads to some sort of change, small (like new reports to help improve process) or large (such as new system implementations).

When going into a project, I have always been the first to admit that change can be difficult, but that I am weird and LOVE change. I think my enthusiasm usually sets others at ease, although sometimes it can also mislead others about the complexity of the undertaking.

A year ago, the company I work for was bought by another company. I spent most of the year working on the systems integration project with a team from both companies, including about a third of 2012 traveling to the new headquarters on the east coast. In November, the companies officially merged and the system changes went into effect. It meant an ERP (SAP) change for half of the organization and a CRM (SalesForce.com) change the other half of the organization, among a bunch of other changes.

Throughout the process I did the same type of work that I’ve done for the past five plus years: a mix of Business Systems Analyst (geek-to-business-translation) work and Project Management.  Unfortunately, my BSA work was all focused on the legacy systems, not the systems that we were consolidating to.

Once the go-live data issues settled down and my focus changed to the new system rather than the old, I became horribly overwhelmed.

At the risk of sounding like a corporate dweeb… I have prided myself for years on being a change agent of some sort and as part of that, hand holding others through change, and always having the answers.

Last week, I realized that I was struggling with the change. It was taking me days to get through something that would have taken just a few hours in our old system, purely because I didn’t know the database structure and didn’t know the system well enough to find the data sources without help. I didn’t want to ask for help, because I never need help. (“Never” was definitely an oversimplification.)

It was a huge blow to my ego to realize that I was struggling with the change. And then in the back of my head I heard the advice that I give everyone else: “How are they going to know that you need help if you don’t say something? You won’t learn if you don’t ask.”

I eventually got my head out of my ass and asked for help. Things are still taking me longer than they used to, but that’s part of learning a new system (another piece of advice that I often give others and ignore when it applies to myself).

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m good at change when I realize that change is happening to me, but when it sneaks up on me or I am not in control in some way I can be really bad at it.

Or perhaps I’ll just blame the SAD, I’m sure that had some influence. (By the way, in case you were curious, the light therapy thing I got is working fantastically.)

In their shoes

I’ve really been enjoying work recently.

Last week I got to move from a desk in the customer service area to one in the accounting area. I decided to move because the noise in the customer service area made it very difficult for me to focus. My new desk is in an area with much less foot traffic so I also have fewer unplanned interruptions.

As a bonus, I’m sitting next to a window again, this time on the second floor so I get a nice view of the wetland across the street. Since I moved, I’ve accomplished about twice as much as usual and I’m just generally happier.

Timing couldn’t have been better either. I’m always super busy at work, but in the next few months we have more large projects planned than we did for all of 2010.

I am excited. The type of work we have planned for the next few months is what I love: system implementations and large custom development projects (by large I mean likely to take at least several weeks, I know that isn’t “large” to some). Both of these mean I get to do more analysis, requirements gathering, documentation, and project management than I have for the past couple years, and as a result mean I will be more entertained at work.

One of the implementation projects is to take a piece of software we’ve been using in some of our locations and implement it in our office in England. This software is one that I am very close to; We had another company develop it for us, but I led the team internally for requirements gathering, testing, and implementation.

Even though I know it would be a challenge for me to keep up with my user support role, continue pushing smaller projects through, and project manage this implementation, I was really looking forward to it.

But then today I learned that I may not get to play the role in this implementation that I’d hoped for. My managers are considering having a project manager that we’re working with on another project handle a large portion of the project management for this implementation as well.

They have all the right reasons, and if I were in their shoes I would do the same. Hell, six months from now I might really appreciate that someone else got the assignment.

But not now. Right now I’m just disappointed.

Still looking for that reset button.

Today is already getting better.

Earlier today I tweeted about my day being off to a bad start. It was. I woke up feeling hung over and aching all over (even though last night I only drank water). I had one co-worker upset about a change request I’d sent them after testing an update to one of our internal systems. I’m sure I annoyed the heck out of another with a few emails for little changes on a different project (fortunately, the second co-worker didn’t complain).

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Days like today…

Warning: This post contains venting and lacks quality.

I really dislike the first work day of the month. I work in IT, and every month we have some frustrating system issue come up. Some months they’re expected others they’re surprising. Some months they are easy to fix, others they take a lot of time.

For the past several months without fail we’ve had invoicing issues, but we went into work on April first expecting that we wouldn’t have a problem. We’d found the cause of the problem and fixed it. My husband and I were even joking about sending our boss (we work together) an email from the system saying that invoicing had not worked. It was April Fools day after all.

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