Retrospective 2007

Early this year I posted on some of the things that I wanted to concentrate on during 2007. Like any good iteration, I feel the need to wrap it up with a retrospective. Here are the things that I wanted to get done and how I felt I did on them.

1) I will set aside time to review code that I wrote in past years. Well, I didn’t do a lot of this, but it did happen. I didn’t dig back into the archives more than 2 or 3 years as those projects seemed to show enough change to really make me think about what I had done, was doing and where it was taking me.

2) I will work to provide a positive career experience for myself. When I wrote the list at the start of 2007 I was mired in a project that was sucking the inspiration, desire and energy out of me. As a result I was very conscious of how my daily work was affecting both my career future and my non-work time. Unfortunately that contract lasted for a full 9 months of the 2007 year, which made it hard to fully implement this point. One of the things that really helped me bring the passion back to the surface was getting out into the community. I now know that travelling around and talking to developers in different regions can really inspire. During the year I both attended conferences and spoke at events. Both provided me with the energy equally. I definitely won’t let the human interaction stop during the coming years.

3) I will make sure to take the time to enjoy my life. Finding a way to create and maintain a good work-life balance is always tough, no matter what the industry you work in. I haven’t done so well with this, but it is getting better. One of the things that I really made a point of doing was spending a couple of days on both sides of a conference/trip for personal fun. Sometimes it was good to get out and see the city, other times I hooked up with other people who from the events that were doing the same and we got a little too geeky. My evening socializing still hasn’t balanced quite the way I want. It doesn’t interfere with work, but I find that I spend too much time out socially talking about tech stuff. Something to work on for the next year.

4) I will work on a comprehensive training plan. Although I don’t have a formally written training plan, I am constantly moving forward with learning new things. I’m also finding that I’m pushing myself harder than ever to do as much of it as possible. Amazingly I’m not seeing a tendency towards being unfocussed and scattered.

The rest of the year was brilliant from a professional standpoint. Coming out of the depressing contract I moved forward into a contract that has me working with .NET 3.5, WCF, nHibernate, Windsor and some other things. Behind the scenes I’ve been working on a couple of other things that will hopefully get announced in the next few months. They are very exciting for me and will see my career make some slight changes when they happen.

One of the biggest things that I took out of the year was the foundational tenets of the Alt.NET movement and of those, constantly challenging my assumptions is one that I’m working to live by. I think that it will change everything that I do in the coming year. I will still be working on developing my career through the year, but I think that I will be approaching each task that I take on in a way that I’ve never done before.