|Sharpen the saw, regularly.|
A year ago, I left LSC communications. I was profoundly unhappy and filled with rage and contempt. During my fifth anniversary, my manager joked, “Ed has been dragging this organization kicking and screaming to become more agile.” I was an effort I was often fighting by myself. I was self-medicating with alcohol and over-eating to deal with the stress. I was also making below-market rates for my profession. I took the first opportunity offered to me to leave. Three weeks later, I was cast aside like a used piece of facial tissue. It was a valuable lesson. If an offer is too good to be true, it probably is.
In the first quarter of the year, I worked for a non-profit which wanted to become agile. I was hungry for a fresh start. I let my hunger blind me to some distinct realities. The organization was not serious about agile. The firm would not hire or appoint product owners. The managers would not share power with their teams. Finally, my immediate manager wanted me to shut my mouth and maintain the Jira board rather than coach. The second lesson learned, do not let hunger blind you to a no-win situation, which will further stunt your career.
I would spend the summer months looking for work and keeping my spirits up. I could not have done it if I did not have the support of my friends, my family, and an understanding girlfriend. Jobs come and go, but when you die, the only people who will mourn you are the people who loved you. It is doubtful your boss or the VP of engineering will show up unless you neglected to check your code back into source control.
Finally, when I had a new opportunity, I set aside my preconceived notions and took time to learn about what works for my client. It is not a mistake that the creator gave each person two ears and one mouth. We need to listen to others with a frequency of two to one. Learn the names of your colleagues and their children. Find out how to make coffee that everyone in the office will drink. Learn where the pain points exist and find out if you can fix them. Share the values and principles of the agile manifesto and then be an example for others.
Plenty of things can happen in a year. I feel like a different person. I am older and a touch wiser. I want to bring that knowledge to other software developers and agilests. I am grateful you are along for the ride.
Until next time.