Friday, August 10, 2018

Coming off a Long Break

Hello, everybody!

With the exception of yesterday's post to Jerry Weinberg, this blog has been quiet for a few months. That was partly by design, but it stretched way longer than I intended it to. There was a specific issue I was trying to deal with (elbow procedure that required me spending less time on the keyboard) but in reality, for a time, I felt like I had come to an end of what I wanted to say. After eight years and more than a thousand posts, I started to feel like I was going through the motions, repeating myself, or just posting content to promote other content I was producing elsewhere.

I intended to take a break for a few weeks but that break stretched into almost four months. In that time, my work life changed considerably. My company was acquired for the second time. Socialtext is still a part of PeopleFluent and PeopleFluent is now a part of LTG based in London, UK. Dealing with the changes from that took a lot of getting used to. In those changes is the fact that much of our old approach to work and doing things went out the window. I've had to adapt to new roles, new needs, and a new overall view as to what we should be doing. As part of that change, I've been asked to:

- Be the Scrum Master for our Engineering team (those who say "wait, isn't Socialtext a Lean/Kanban shop?", the answer is "we were, but now we are aligning with Scrum principles so as to be in line with other teams").

- Investigate a new approach to automation (we will be embarking on using Cucumber with the two lower layers in a yet to be determined configuration but it will be totally different than what we have used up to now).

- Upgrade and update our overall infrastructure for how we build and deliver our software (mostly dealing with a Jenkins modernization and moving to pipelining but also looking at our container strategy and what we could do differently or better).

- Somehow still find time to test software in an environment where we are now adjusting to two-week sprints.

While "life has been happening while I have been making other plans" I came to the realization I actually have been unlearning and relearning a bunch of new stuff. Why haven't I been talking about it here?

- Partly out of fear.
- Partly out of feeling inadequate.
- Partly out of not really understanding what I'm doing.
- Partly out of feeling like I'm making this all up as I go along.

I then realized,  "Wait! That's the whole point of this blog." Had I waited until I was an expert on anything, zero posts would have been written and this blog would not exist.

I was asked a couple of days ago on Twitter about what to do when someone wants to start blogging but doesn't know what to talk about or feels they don't really have any worthwhile experience to share. I said to "just start" and "while you may not be an expert in X, you are an expert in your own experience with X. Start there." That may have been helpful to them, but I realized that it was most helpful to me. It reminded me that there's a lot I'm learning and relearning and that process is rarely pretty, often incoherent and usually frustrating. That never stopped me before. Why am I letting it stop me now?

If you're still with me, thank you for indulging my "navel-gazing" for today. I have a lot of stuff I'm working on, and things I've wanted to talk about but not felt it would be worth saying. That attitude is over. It's time I started talking about my own worldview on "fill in the blank" again. Looking forward to re-engaging. I hope you will be, too :).

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