The Network Migration Workbook has been the center of a great deal of activity for us this year.
It took resources away from KPEnterprises - Sacramento's Premier I.T. Consulting Business - in the form of hours and attention. Manuel and I literally did double duty balancing writing and running the business.
As strange as it sounds, we're a little bit lucky that things slowed down a bit. Granted, KPE could have used one more client at all times. But we did okay.
The book and the book launch required an amazing amount of coordination between graphics, finances, proof-reading, layout, printing, advertising, promotions, and the occasional blog post.
Lana normally handles shipping, mailings, list management, and affiliate sales. She stepped up and did an amazing job of reading every page in that book more than once. She may know more about network migrations than some consultants out there! She also managed to get 200+ copies where they belonged in a timely manner.
During the middle of the project we added a Comcast internet connection at her house so she could have fast vpn access to work. She normally works part time and this allowed her to put in some extra hours. Plus she now has faster internet.
Jennifer is the office manager and does minor miracles every day. During this project she was coordinating all the KPE stuff, all the GLB stuff, the finances of keeping all this paid for, plus managing checklists of checklists. Jennifer's been with us almost five years and she really proved herself in the last couple of months. In addition to having two high school boys and all their activities, she manages me and everyone in the office like it's second nature.
Connie jumped into the graphics work for this with glee. Then we added more graphics, more projects, and more "stuff" to her plate. Banners, cover design, inside graphics, web graphics, advertisements. Oh, and we designed and printed an entire new catalog at the same time. Then prize wheel graphics, new business cards. Sometimes I think she might break, but she never does.
Connie and John work different shifts but together they coordinated the graphics side of some web development.
John built up the entire zerodowntimemigration.com web site/portal for the book in two months. It needs some fine tuning, but it's essentially done. John did this with almost zero management on my part. He took concepts for the back end and just made them happen. Once we really start digging into that site we'll develop it more.
Dan is our primary tech and left on his own a lot more than he's used to. But he didn't skip a beat. Clients love him and he really stepped up, sometimes taking on tasks he hasn't done before. Other times he just closed tickets . . . one, two three.
Josh just took a job at Apple (Apparently they're an MP3 maker trying to break into the computer business). Anyway, Josh also did a great job for us. He was constantly moving up in skills and taking on new challenges.
Altogether, these techs did an amazing amount of work helping us define the actual process behind the Zero Downtime Migration process. I think one of the most important elements in developing documentation is to hand it off to someone else and see if they can do it. Not "THUMP! There you go. Good luck with that." But managing the project.
Our techs (these and all before them) have been great at helping us create good processes by giving instant feedback.
And of course Manuel my brother has been running a company and writing a book at the same time. For several months he had cable TV piped into the office so he could keep an eye on baseball, etc. while working weekends and evenings going through processes and re-migrating the same system again and again.
When KPE cut back, Manuel felt some of that directly on his bottom line. But he put his head down and focused on creating a great product. He managed the techs and occasional other out sourced I.T. to make sure all the work got done while his attention was divided between KPE and the book.
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Sometimes you look back and realize that what you've had is more amazing than you understood at the time. I am blessed to have a team that can keep two companies working so well as I abandon ship and wander the earth doing whatever I do.
Jim Collins writes in Good to Great that you need to get the right people on the bus. Well, I think we did that over the last two years. If I could keep this team forever I would. To keep them happy and help them advance, we might change seats from time to time.
But the world keeps spinning. Changes are coming.
Since I left corporate America, this book launch is the first project I've taken on that I honestly could not have done myself. It required a team and I thank the Lord that he gave me a team capable of producing such an amazing product.
We don't do everything right. But we kick butt when we need to!
The Network Migration Workbook:
Zero Downtime Migration Strategies for Microsoft Networks