This week has been challenging on the website. Things conspired against the site, from wordpress upgrades, incompatible plugins and my own schedule. I was able to seek some freelance help through odesk.com, that got things back up and running, but I still need to restore themes and plugins – so your patience is appreciated!
This week I gave a verbal report on some project management initiatives that are underway in the City. Click through for the speaking notes that give some context to the slides – HaikuDeck – Construction Management Presentation. Much of the effort is in developing better project management processes for staff to use in planning and delivering projects. This slide set was presented at the regular council meeting on April 8, 2014.
Some of these things are relatively simple changes, while others are distinct changes in direction for the organization. These will require more staff effort in planning the projects, but the results should be tighter project delivery, greater transparency and improved processes. Instituting these practices, particularly a formal “Lessons Learned” process into closing projects, will likely result in significant continual improvement over time.
I guess there are two tangential things to say about this presentation, the first is that the iOS app used to create the slide deck is called HaikuDeck, and it creates simple stunning presentations with ease. HaikuDeck does have a webapp in Beta, and a companion iPhone app that can be used as a presentation controller as well. I highly recommend the app to anyone who regularly creates presentations, it will keep you on task and deliver beautiful slide layouts.
The second, is that in terms of formal project management systems, the most comprehensive resource is the PMBOK from the Project Management Institute (PMI). For anyone wanting to take their Project Management Professional Certification with PMI, I’d recommend Head First PMP by Jennifer Greene and Andrew Stellman as an excellent and engaging study guide.
Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app
The American Water Works Association (AWWA) has released their state of the infrastructure report for 2014 (pdf), collecting responses from 1,739 AWWA members across the US and Canada. This report gives an insight into the industry without political or corporate interference ((although it is a self selecting group that chooses to participate, there appears to be little rationale or evidence for biases in the data)).
- State of water and sewer infrastructure
- Long-term water supply availability
- Financing for capital improvements
- Public understanding of the value of water resources
- Public understanding of the value of water systems and services
I’ve been blogging about sustainable infrastructure for eight years ((See some of my early articles such as Massive NSW water recycling plant opens and A Brief Argument Against Stormwater Pipes)), have presented on sustainability, was involved in designing award winning sustainable subdivisions ((Murrays Beach, NSW North of Sydney, retained 70% of the trees on site in a residential development)), and was talking about it long before that. I’ve worked hard to differentiate myself from the traditional view of Civil Engineers to one of being a Sustainability Professional; problem-solving sustainable solutions to everyday infrastructure problems. Becoming accredited as an Envision™ Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) is a step I recently took to establishing my commitment to sustainable infrastructure.
The British Institution of Civil Engineers received a Royal Charter in 1828, formally recognizing civil engineering as a profession. Its charter defined civil engineering as:
the art of directing the great sources of power in nature for the use and convenience of man, as the means of production and of traffic in states, both for external and internal trade, as applied in the construction of roads, bridges, aqueducts, canals, river navigation and docks for internal intercourse and exchange, and in the construction of ports, harbours, moles, breakwaters and lighthouses, and in the art of navigation by artificial power for the purposes of commerce, and in the construction and application of machinery, and in the drainage of cities and towns.
The profession has grown since those early days, with a new mandate building among forward thinking engineers, facing head-on the realities of resource constraints, climate change and community needs for today and into the future, providing ethical and sustainable solutions to tackle these global challenges and develop the infrastructure needs of society. These concepts are becoming more mainstream in the engineering community than ever before, but until recently in North America we’ve lacked a system for detailing sustainability metrics specifically for infrastructure projects, (including those described in the charter above).
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This week, I’m continuing my lessons for the homeschoolers on photography tips. The age range is from 8 to 16 years, and the topic is “Viewpoint and Perspective”. The idea is to keep the class short and sweet with obvious examples of photos that display the concepts being discussed. Following the lesson part, students present their photos that use the concepts from the previous lesson.
This is the first class that I will use HaikuDeck for the presentation, having used it for work presentations previously, the mix of images and text in clean templates is an obvious choice for a photography course too!