Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Peter Drucker
This is my summary of key trends to watch for 2010. Putting it together is a time-consuming exercise, but it’s one of the most important things I do for the year. It helps me see the bigger map. With the bigger map, I have a simpler way to understand what’s going on, anticipate what to expect, respond more effectively, and most importantly – make better bets on where to spend my time.
Don’t read this as a definitive list. Draw from it to help you create your own lens to make sense of the landscape and find your path forward. It’s long, I tried to keep it as scannable as possible. I didn’t want to cut it short for the sake of simplicity. Instead, I wanted to provide a solid map with sources you can draw from as you plan your road ahead.
Key Sources I primarily draw from my own experience working with customers, and paying attention to what they’re paying attention to, as well as paying attention to my mentors and smarties across the company, and whoever they tell me to pay attention to. I also draw from the following:
Aside from these, I also scoured the Web and scanned bloggers, industry luminaries, and any relevant and significant insight I could find.
The Short List – 5 Keys to the Future Before the longer list, I want to shin the light on 5 key things:
Key Trends for 2010 Here is my summary of key trends for 2010:
My synthesis -- stay customer connected, create value for society (it’s not a vacuum), create raving fans, build to change over build to last, learn and respond through effective business intelligence, think in terms of platforms/ecosystems/execution, be the best in the world at what you do (on the Web, you don't need a bunch of #2s), stay flexible and adaptable, and build the network and relationships that support you and your ecosystem.
With that in mind, here are some more keys to watch for …
Trends to Watch in 2010 by John John deVadoss John runs our Microsoft patterns & practices team. He’s great at boiling things down, spotting trends, and his super skill is providing insight for technical strategy. Here are some of his insights for 2010:
Economy + Internet Trends by Morgan Stanley Economy + Internet Trends is a very nice report by Morgan Stanley. While it reinforces the “jobless” economic recovery, it does show growth in the IT sector, and it calls out some key tech trends:
I also like some of their distillations, such as “Facebook = unified communication + multimedia repository in your pocket.”
Web 2.0 Trends from Scoble Kevin Skobac put together a short presentation interpreting Scoble’s “principles of the 2010 web” from a user perspective:
Key Questions I Ask to Find and Rationalize Trends These are some of the basic questions I ask to find and rationalize key trends:
The Meta-Pattern for Trends These are some of the patterns I’m noticing about the patterns of the trends:
There are a lot of kings here. In checkers, it’s easier to win when you have a lot of kings.
The Way Foreword What’s past is past and the future
What else is important that I should know about or have on my radar and heat map?
Do you have an effective approach for thinking about your career growth? With things like a “jobless economic recovery,” careers ending, and a “skills-for-hire” economy, it’s even more important to focus on growth while managing your career. At the end of the day, you play the most important role in your career growth – own it.
This past year reminded me of a very valuable lessons – follow the growth. This means follow your own growth and growth in the marketplace. When there’s no growth, make some.
Career Development, Professional Development, and Personal Development Steve Elston, our print and web publications manager on the patterns & practices team, shared this simple frame with our patterns & practices team for differentiating and thinking about development paths:
I think an effective way to think of this is …
“Are you the person, the professional, the manager, or the executive you want to be?”
Make Yourself Bigger In terms of personal development, I think “become a more *capable* person” is a great distinction over something like “become a better person.” Rather than question self-worth or value, you put the focus on improving your effectiveness and capabilities. It reminds me of a quote ...
“You don’t overcome challenges by making them smaller but by making yourself bigger.” -- John Maxwell
Career Growth, Professional Growth, and Personal Growth Steve shared some quick ways to think about who you can leverage for your growth and what sort of awareness you need for effective growth:
As you can see from the table, the key to career growth is awareness of the business, the key to professional growth is awareness of organizational trends, and the key to personal growth is self-awareness.
What, Who, and How
Steve also shared a sample way to think about contributing factors to overall job satisfaction.
Steve provides some cutting questions for thinking through these concerns:
Knowledge, Attitude, Skills and Habits (KASH model) Steve shared the KASH box model with our team:
The KASH box is a performance coaching tool and it’s a simple way to look at the gap between knowing and doing and the “transfer of training” problem. People know what to do, but they don’t do it, or don’t want to. A lot of people are hired for “skills” and “knowledge,” but fired for “attitude” and “habits.” In other words, it’s easy to focus on knowledge and skills but often it is people's attitudes and habits that limit them.
Interestingly, if you know what to do, but you’re not doing what you know, it’s one of the simplest and most effective ways to unleash your growth. Just start testing your results.
There’s a video on the KASH box at Kashbox Coaching.com.
Mentors are the Short-Cuts The right mentors can help you avoid the chutes and climb the ladders more effectively. John deVadoss, our patterns & practices team Product Unit Manager, shared his key tips on how to effectively leverage mentors:
This reflects a lot of my own experience. One of my most important lessons learned is that mentors really are the short-cuts. If you find somebody who’s “been there” and “done that,” it’s like having a tour guide. Their maps from experience can save you a lot of wasted time and help you avoid obstacles, as well as find shorter paths to your destinations.
A mentor can also be great for helping you find your blind spots as well as giving your more objective feedback on your attitudes and habits that might be limiting you. This means finding mentors that are committed to your success and you trust their feedback and perspective. Usually a good place to look is in your past. You can draw from people that have helped you before.
I make it a habit to use a sounding board of multiple mentors for growth in different areas. I have a few vital mentors for ongoing growth, and then I supplement with mentors for specific things I need to learn.
I also give back and I mentor others to help them optimize their growth and get results. A lot of times, life is like Chutes and Ladders. You can climb up ladders only to slide back down.
Who’s Job Do You Want? One of my mentors uses the question, “Who’s job do you want?” as a great forcing function:
The other beauty of this is it gives your managers and support network a good mental model for your career path, starting with the end in mind.
Putting It All Together Steve outlined a simple roadmap for putting it all together:
Every day, is the perfect day, to become more of the person, professional, manager or executive you want to be. Enjoy the process and remind yourself it’s the journey and the destination, and remember to periodically check that the ladder you’re climbing is up against the right wall.