Archive | January, 2020

20/20 et al… Looking back to look ahead

10 Jan

It’s the dawn of a new decade – time for reflection, renewal, hope and that that stuff.  Happy New Year readers!

I’ve never been much for new year’s resolutions (they never seem to stick for me) and instead I find myself doing a lot of reading, thinking and experimenting to find new directions and adventures.  And I have to say, slowly but surely I’m loving who I am and I’m taking a lot less crap from people than I used to.


For a minute, since it is customary to take a glance back, I’ll ponder the last 10 years.  What have I done since 2010 and what can I learn from the experiences?  I made a short list (maybe you can identify?)

–  I’m more optimistic and positive about life in general and much more easy going about things I can’t (or shouldn’t) worry about.  Maybe this comes with age, but when someone asks me about a how a presentation went, I answer positively knowing that I’ve done my best . I used to belabor the opinions of attendees (all over the map) while now I know that their opinions are based on their perceptions and expectations, with little to do with me as a person.

— I’ve stopped being “insane” according to Einstein (“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”.) I stopped presenting at every conference that asked me (usually to speak for free or at my cost!) It took me long enough to learn this!  After 100+ presentations with little follow-on consulting or paid work, I quit doing QAI, ASQ, SSTC, PMI and other “technical  conferences” where I donated so much of my time and energy.  Today, I go to the conferences and present where I’m appreciated and where I want to see friends.

— I also learned that “the more things change, the more they stay the same” and it can be folly to try to recreate past successes when the landscape changes. Here’s what happened:  I served as the president of an organization in 1998/99, and left for 15 years to give others a chance to be on the board.  In 2015, I returned as a board member for a 3 year term to find that many of those who joined the board in 2000 were still serving (no term limits.)  As the new/old person where most of the policies changed since my last term, there was little slack and I constantly (unknowingly) violated policies.  Next time someone asks me to rejoin a board, I’ll politely decline and save my heartbeats for a new endeavor.

— Over the past 10 years, I’ve worked to become more open and more tolerant and more accepting of people who are different from me.  Given that I see a lot of people around me doing the opposite, I’m feeling quite happy about my progress.  It is interesting to watch people fight for power and prestige and control, and be able to simply observe the drama (instead of participating.)

— I also discovered that there are more and more diverse and interesting things in the world – and, there are associated tribes of accepting and  professional groups that support these interests. If you’re struggling with people who are difficult or don’t share your values, look around and explore related industries – you might discover a community where you’ll thrive!  For me, meeting Dr Alistair Cockburn and his Heart of Agile community of incredible worldwide agile leaders, did this for me.  Additionally, finding ICEAA (International Cost Estimating and Analysis Association), Malaysian Software Testing Board, and other new groups has also been positive.  You don’t need to abandon old ones, just expand your network.  Instead of fighting against the grain and feel like you’re constantly getting splinters, find a new board (or group) and flow!  WIth 8+ billion people in the world, there’s a tribe of people with values and principles that are JUST LIKE YOU!

For 2020 and beyond, I’m committed to allowing myself more curiosity, expanding my writing and training (software measurement and leadership) and doing more cultural exploration (travel.) And, I’m deciding whether to continue or abandon this blog (does anyone actually care if I write ???)  At this point in life, I realize our time is too limited to take on the drama of detractors – and there’s so many wondrous people I have yet to meet (maybe you!)

As a freelance consultant, I’m also learning to ride the waves of feast or famine (after 20 years of being independent you’d think I’d realize that income is completely unpredictable) and… relax.

I trust that work will always come in (it’s never anticipated) and I’ll always be comfortable, albeit maybe not wealthy in finances.  I’m committed to delivering great value in consulting, training and speaking – and attendees always credit great knowledge transfer from my courses.  I don’t often ask for work, but I’m learning that I need to “toot my own horn” at least as well as I promote others.  Having said that, please consider hiring me as a speaker or measurement or leadership consultant for your IT or business professionals.  I’m a PMP, P.Eng., CSM, CFPS (Fellow) and well-versed in agile software development and project management.  (And I dabble in craft beverages and the hospitality industry speaking!)

Life is positive, inspiring and dare I say always an adventure.  What’s on your agenda for the next decade?

To your health and success!


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