After a month of work I’m happy to announce that the reconstruction work has been finished. The site has got new look & feel, new domain address (http://sandor.peterbencze.eu), and a lot of updated information.

Registering this domain and get them work was a good challenge. I registered my surname as a primary domain, and since there are a few hundred other people with the same surname, I found it unethical to reserve the right of using this domain. Therefore I had to find a company which is very flexible in defining DNS entries, and of course cheap enough, and I developed an architecture enables using this domain to other “Peterbencze”s.

During the implementation I learnt configuring DNS entries, learnt how to map domains to my blog, learnt how to provide e-mail service to more people in this domain on the cheapest way, without having an on’line server with fixed IP. The result is that now there can be unlimited number of subdomain.peterbencze.eu, and each user has a subdomain@peterbencze.eu e-mail address. It costs EUR 28.- /year. Was I cost effective enough?

Thanks to:

  • Dimnet, providing the DNS,
  • Google apps for the e-mail service,
  • WordPress for the easy to use WYSIWYG blog creation and the domain mapping,
  • Blogspot for the powerful blog engine.

I found managers reluctant to accept remote work. I did it so. My main concern was that I felt impossible to measure how people work according to their skills. If I get 100 pieces of something per a day from one of them, is it enough, or he works only two hours a day to produce this, and in the rest he is sunbathing on the beach?

Then one of my employee told me that she is able to return from maternity leave as half time, but she cannot be present in the office. I knew her for many years, she is the most enthusiastic and valuable member of my team, so I decided to have a try, and she started to work from home in January, half time.

In the beginning the team was very open to accept her lack of presence, but some of them wanted to join the remote worker’s club. It’s still an issue how I can explain people again and again that they are not allowed to do what she does. Later they got used to it, but the information sharing was really ineffective. People in the office gathered to discuss something (it is very often since the team is working agile, SCRUM), and they didn’t call her to attend. Then we had a try with Skype, but the microphones of the headsets cannot transfer a discussion of a room of people. The best practice hasn’t been found, we have an acceptable state, but there are many areas to improve.

During this few month I realized an important thing. If the remote worker is a mother with a young baby, the telephone conversations need her presence have to be scheduled according to the baby’s schedule, else the conference is so loud with crying. In the occasions she needs to appear in the office carrying the baby the visit have to be shorter than 30 minutes between two breaks, because the baby or toddler cannot bear longer silent periods.

With keeping this in mind remote work can be almost as effective than the office one. I support it.

As soon as we passed the 4th external audit in row without non-conformances I started to browse the internet to look for the options I have. I’m focusing on German speaking countries, because my intention is to learn German together with my family. I filtered on quality, test and project management I’m good at, and after a few days I realized that I need to learn additional methods, like FMEA, PRINCE2, SixSigma and Lean. Generally I know what they mean and how they work but I haven’t had my own oppinion on them. I used FMEA once, and I found it very powerful, but I cannot try it in reality.  SixSigma and Lean will be easy with the help of L.P.,  who uses them daily. I’m afraid I’ll need to learn PRINCE2 myself…

I visited Austria for 4 days. We went to Mariazell, a small town in the mountains, and spent three days with hiking in the deep snow. This time we didn’t want skying, the main purpose of the journey was to rest a bit, forget what happened recently and gain energy for the next few months.

Of course I looked around in the town, I checked the prices and the opportunities. There is no industry there, so work is quite limited for managers, but surprisingly the prices are moreless the same as in Budapest. I checked the real-estate prices, the rental and living price levels. There is only 10-15 % difference, but some goods are much cheaper than they are in Hungary. Regarding foods I met different brands and different products. Why coffee flavoured jughurt is not in the shops in Hungary?

Then we spent a few hours with sightseeing in Graz. Beautiful city. Smaller than I expected, but there is an industrial area next to it. Perhaps I might look around there…

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