I find Messing About With Wood is a good way to unwind after a hard day’s typing at a keyboard…
When I was 22 and at University, my father gave me a drill as a Christmas present. At the time I didn’t have anything to drill holes in, but I understood his present totally. He spent his working life playing with computers and at the weekends did just about every bit of fixing and building around the house. I think he recognised that I would end up the same. He died shortly after. I still have this drill – it’s important to me. I have had several other drills over the years, for many different purposes, and I’m worried that this one doesn’t work any more, but I will hang on to it because it gave me a bit of him and set me up with a proper hobby.
I’m now a Product Manager, which means I spend my time finding out what people need or want to do, and then devise things – Products – that will let them do what they need or want. I then put plans together and get teams involved to make the products that will do what’s needed. Woodworking is pretty much the same – I find a need for a thing, then I make that thing – except that I generally don’t get to put a team together, and have to do most if not all the actual work myself.
When I begin a woodwork project I invariably find myself planning out the steps in much the same way as I approach a new Product. I think my Product Management efforts are helped by this approach. I can’t do really complicated things myself – or more likely I have to invest heavily in time and effort to figure out how to do them – so I’ve learned how to seek out ways to automate, simplify and prioritise what needs to be done. In my working world, thinking through problems helps me to spot the points in a product that are likely to cause issues in development. With these hints I can talk with developers and with end customers to ensure there are practical ways forward.
So, hopefully, this blog will be useful in terms of both my woodworking hobby and my career in making products. I hope it will help readers to spot ways in which they can approach their own projects, and make better and better things.