Sunday, January 26, 2014

Personal Retrospective - 2013

I wrote a personal retrospective last year, and intend to continue that practice going forward. If you've never done it, I highly suggest giving it a try. Publishing goals makes them (and the possibility for public failure) very real, and has helped me focus my time and efforts on achieving them.

As was the case last year, I got another considerate and much appreciated "Happy Holidays" email about a month ago from the same career mentor / role-model containing his personal retrospective. In replying, I described my year professionally as having been "bumpy". On the plus side, I did pretty well on my goals that I had set out to accomplish. However, there were also some shortcomings in each case as well:

"I spent about 22 hours a week in meetings ... I want to ... get a day back per week" - B-

That would make the goal about 14 hours a week. I ended up averaging 15.6. Definitely a big improvement although not quite as low as I was looking for. Also, one of the places I cut down meeting time was monthly 1-on-1 meetings with staff members. I switched from once a month with each individual to an "open office hour" on Fridays. My thought was that people could come by as they needed assistance or time to talk about things, each person able to use the amount of time they needed.

Unfortunately, almost nobody showed up. I ended up feeling disconnected from some team members because of it, and I'm guessing some of them probably felt the same. In hindsight, that was probably too deep a cut and a poor decision on my part.

"I want to spend more time building things" - B+

The lower number of hours in meetings did allow me to spend more time building things, such as:
  • I managed to release 5 new versions of my wsubi open source project.
  • I was able to attend two workshops on mobile development, one of which was described in my previous post.
  • At the office, I was able to prototype possible implementation plans for technological upgrades to the three core areas of our main web application platform:
    • Client-side code (HTML5 compliance)
    • Server-side code (Classic ASP -> .NET Razor 2.0 / Web Services)
    • Database (SQL Server Data Tools; SQL 2005 -> SQL 2012 compliance)
However, when it comes to newer technologies, I didn't really feel like I was quite able to "roll up my sleeves and dig in" like I had said in my post last year. There were some extraneous factors (mostly monetary) that inhibited my progress in this endeavor; hoping those will be alleviated and I'll be able to make more progress here in the coming year.

Unrelated to the goals above, I experienced a few more "bumps" in the loss of some team members that I'd hired and coached. It's always tough when people leave, but if there's a silver lining to be found, it does feel good to have had a hand in their professional growth and to see them move on to good organizations like BMO Harris, Robert Half and Rockwell Automation. I will miss them all in 2014, but wish them the best in their future endeavors.

But enough on 2013 - on to 2014 and new beginnings! My goals for 2014:

Read more professional books

Usually I'm able to get through one or two, but I'm embarrassed to admit that I finished 0 books last year. That's a poor showing, and I'm going to do better this year. The top books on my list are (not in any particular order): Clean Code, Joy, Inc., Conscious Agility, and Programming Pearls. I'd like to get through three if not all four of them, although I'll leave it open to the possibility that another book I don't know about today may make it onto the list by the end of the year.

Coach more / better

As stated in my review of goal #1 from last year, I cut back in this area to reduce my time in meetings, which was probably a mistake. Lesson learned; I'm going to do better in this area in 2014 and beyond. I'm also excited to be doing some coaching outside of my current organization with some other software teams. This is a new experience for me, but I'm really looking forward to being involved in it and helping them improve as best I can; should be a good challenge!

Start a new coding project

This is more of a stretch goal I guess. I feel that goal #2 from last year is somewhat unresolved, and I have a couple of ideas that I'd like to explore this year. One is for a PowerShell UI Snap-In; the other is a mobile & web application I've been kicking around in my head for a couple of years but haven't had time to build. Both would be alot of fun, but I'm not sure yet if I'll have the time to dedicate to them. We'll see how the year goes.

Anyway, thanks for reading and best of luck in achieving your personal goals this coming year. As my coach said in his message to me, a healthy and prosperous 2014 to you!

No comments:

Post a Comment