It's traditional at the end of one year to reflect on and celebrate what has been achieved in the past 365 days or so.
In 2023 I did my first “big league” presentation, speaking on stage at StaffPlus London 2023 with “Scaling Your Influence Through Documentation”.
I did some other smaller talks and interactive sessions, but this was my real bucket list item and I’m super proud of that. The process of refining the talk, preparing its delivery, and the support and feedback that I recieved from those involved with and attending the conference all helped me understand my own thoughts better and become a professional engineer of software.
We launched our big project. Then we pulled it, then we relaunched it. Multiple times, in fact. We learnt loads each time.
It’s been a rollercoaster ride for my project. Half way into the year we scrapped the majority of the code and rebuilt it in a leaner fashion and then put it live, in a timeframe that was pretty much unheard of (in a good way) for the company. We’ve learnt a great deal about what’s actually important for delivery and positive outcomes, although some of those things have been learnt the hard way.
At the same time I’ve learnt much about what my role could be, what it should be, and what other people think it is. Some of that was also learned the hard way, unfortunately.
We got forced back into the office. No more working from home all the time.
For one reason or another, lots of people left. Almost everyone on my project has changed, which I guess makes me part of the ‘Old Guard’. My Boss has changed, my Peers have changed, my Squads have changed, and the people in the Squads have changed.
I did not get outstanding annual reviews, I did not get the promotion I applied for. I have retroactively decided that’s fair enough.
I did apply for and do a few first-round interviews for other companies, but utlimately decided to either stick with the comfortable stuff I know and keep my existing balance of working from home / locally vs working in the big city.
I still struggle to care about building my “personal brand” as an independent thing. I do not do social media. I don’t regret that, but I see lots of others doing more and wonder how effective it really is. I met lots of interesting people at conferences, and I hope I made a good impression, but I never really followed up on anything. And I still haven’t made the time to update my blog with my slide notes, even though the hard part is already done.
My daughter turned 3 this year. I have much fun playing, and less fun being “the bad guy” and doing responsible things like setting boundaries and reinforcing positive behaviours in the face of toddler boundary pushing.
I’ve been reading a lot more this year - thanks in part to my subscription to O’Reilly eBooks - and gradually evolving and refining my technical opinions and expanding my breadth of knowledge about topics. Part of this effort is a response to busyness - I am always busy at work now, so I have to find ways of more effectively exploring multiple topics, and reading about a topic is a faster way to get up to speed with a new topic than the old trial-and-error approach.
Over the last year I’ve been keeping an ever-growing list of bookmarks of interesting articles as I come across them. And in the coming year I intend to write some of my own. Maybe I’ll even tick off another bucket list item and write a blog post for LeadDev this year? We’ll see.
Oh, and maybe it’s time to move house?