Sunday, 19 June 2016

Reflections on my career in Software Engineering & Management

I was going to keep this post in my own internal reflections journal, but then decided not to, and instead, take a leap and make this public, since it may be of use to people who find themselves in a similar situation as I did, that is - the choice of branching out from software development path into the project management path.

So in sharing my experience, I hope it could help and benefit others, seeing that recently I've been approached by a few engineers about switching from a technical path into a project management path, which is the path I've been exposed to - and a path, that I myself am now, again find myself at a juncture, where I'm considering about what to do next(!).

Courtesy (link)
I am by nature, what you would call a Switcher (previous company even made a "switcher video" for people who moved around the organisation). It is probably down to my wiring, my upbringing & challenges growing up, experience of reality and my internal motivations that drives this behaviour - my own biases - that kick in and call for a change of some sort.  It is a state of restlessness that can only be resolved by a change, which I now find myself in, having given myself till March 2017 to implement my next transition.

The rest of the post is set as a series of Questions & Answer session that I had recently with myself, as part of my own introspection, as I took a long walk in the park, on a beautiful winter morning, just after sunrise, and did some soul-searching...I was the only walker, so I had a verbal conversation with myself:

Why did you choose a career in Software?
Why did you switch within software engineering roles?
Would you recommend software engineers to switch domains?
Why did you leave Software Coding and switch to Project Management & not pursue a path in Software Management?
What happens to your technical skills, are they still sharp?
Do you think it mandatory to get a PM Certification?
Do you regret the choice you made into Project Management?
Do you believe you've met your aspirations from Project Management path, looking back from where you started?
Given your PM journey, do you still consider yourself a Project Manager?
Given your experience, what next lies for you in the path of Project Management Career? Where to from here?
So what is this thing called "Project Leadership" then?
Where to from Here? After Project Leadership, what's next?

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Life logging LIFE-WORK balance May update

I am continuing my experiment to find the LIFE-WORK balance that I set out earlier this year, when I created my RAGE model to track my personal & professional aspirations, goals, expectations against my current reality. We are already into June, where does the time go?! 

At the end of April, I decided re-calibrate some of the Personas, thus updating my persona rankings. Going forward from start of May, for the next three months, my focus was aimed at these, major change bumping up my coding time (which was non-existent for a many years):

Looking at the big picture summary for May, across my new top 10 personas, here's how I'm progressing:

Nothing red, but still not good enough - I should be able to do better, but where is my time being spent then??

Life-Work Balance?

So in the grand-scheme of things, if I was to take the fifty thousand foot view, and look at whether my life is balanced or not, this is what I see:

Roughly, I follow the generally accepted norm that we sleep for a third of our lives!
And the remaining time is split, almost equally between Life and Work.
And in a nutshell, it appears, at face value that my life is pretty balanced - hooray!!! Wohoo!!

But why do I feel like it's just NOT enough?!

Can I get my WORK to actually be part of my LIFE?? This is a topic for another day, however, I need to continue tracking and quantifying myself to drive the behavioural changes I need!

Lets keep going. How is my LIFE and WORK split?

Insights  - Playing with the Levers

May was not a particularly great month for me:

  • My working hours as a consultant increased, which had a direct impact on my own personal pet projects like new ideas & innovations (e.g. Personametry did not get any airtime in May)
  • I made a start with learning to code again, started with Javascript & AngularJS. Coding time ate my blogging time, although I did manage to write two blog posts in May, and my blog hours increased nicely.
  • It is clear as day, that either my day job becomes a job where I innovate on new ideas, or I have to take time away from consulting and create the space I need to just follow my passion for new ideas. I still aspire to cutting down to a 3-day work week, but it's proving challenging.
  • On the life-side, maintaining it fairly steady - although I've had trouble on the Health & Fitness stream, that has seen a decline. 
  • Figure out how much sleep I could do with - can I go with less than six hours sleep? For how long?

So it's a game of levers...I don't think all the bars will end up balancing out, but I can strive to get close to levelling a few...the experiment continues!! Which lever(s) should I pull next??