Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness
I never imagined I would invest 10 years on the patterns & practices team at Microsoft. Life is short and I always imagined I would spend it across so many more adventures. What surprised me is how much you can grow yourself, and grow the job in the process. While I sometimes wonder about the path not taken, there’s no doubt I’ve built a deep set of capabilities, achievements, and experiences as a direct result of investing my time in patterns & practices. I’ve shared some of my best lessons learned at patterns & practices, as well as my proven practices for individual contributors.
I think my biggest take away lesson is follow your heart, follow the growth, and invest in yourself (mind, heart, body, emotions, career, financial, relationships, and fun.)
Why patterns & practices? There are lots of reasons why I chose patterns & practices. At the end of the day, it was the people, the values, and the mission.
Our Mission While we’ve had various flavors of the mission, I like to think of it as …. “Customer success on the Microsoft platform” … or … “Proven practices for the platform.” I had the toughest time explaining to my Aunt what I do, until finally I said, “I help customers put the legos together.” She then said, “ahhh, I get it.”
Goals In patterns & practices, the goals are simple:
Values In patterns & practices, we value:
Principles We use the following principles to guide our work:
Capabilities, Achievements, and Experience How do you measure the impact of the time you spend down a given career path? I’ve been looking for an effective lens, and I think it boils down to capabilities, achievements, and experience. It’s the simplest way that I can organize and reflect on where I am, based on where I’ve been. Capabilities are simply my skills. They are the things I’ve learned how to do, from soft skills to technical abilities. Achievements are my results. This includes my impact on Microsoft, the software industry, and customers. I lump my books, patents I filed, and the methodologies I’ve baked into the platform and tools here. In terms of experience, I think of the job roles and activities I’ve had along the way.
Key Themes I think I can boil my impact and results down into 3 key themes:
Years at a Glance I think browsing by years is a healthy reality check against impact over time. Looking back is the simplest way for me to respond to the question, “if I had it to do over again, what would I do differently?” Where there answer is “nothing” – those are the sweet spots. Where the answer is “everything” – those are the lessons :)
Books My books at a glance:
Pocket Guides My pocket guides at a glance:
Projects My projects at a glance:
Where do we go from here? You write your future a page at a time. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s continue to reinvent yourself, reinvent your job, and make the most of what you’ve got.
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