I’m back!

! Warning: this post hasn't been updated in over three years and so may contain out of date information.

Two years ago (almost), I stopped posting to my blog. Two years ago (almost) I took the opportunity to switch roles within the company I worked in at the time from developer to development manager. The two events are of course linked. It was a big move for me. I’d previously been a team leader; I’d previously had responsibilities for managing groups of people, but each time I’d carried on spend at least some of my time developing code. This role was different though. This role was 100% management. Coding became a thing of the past. There was lots of new skills to learn: people management; product management; project management; finance; and – with hindsight the most important skill learned – expectation management of commercial desires of the company.

So why didn’t I blog about these new discoveries? To put it simply, I was unsure about what was appropriate to post; how to talk of what I was learning without compromising the commercial confidence of the company. I couldn’t post about the negatives and the positives always seemed almost mundane and hardly interesting reading for others. So time passed and the blog died a slow death…

The first year in the role was challenging, but it was exciting and interesting. I felt I was able to help align the company around agile development techniques and was making good progress with improving the way we created code. During 2015 though, things changed and I found myself more and more at odds with the rest of the organisation over how to further improve things. Mindful of the advice that when a company’s and ones own aims are at odds, one should “change the company or change company” I concluded it was time to leave and seek pastures new. So in August that’s what I did.

My new role – at Domestic and General, a British insurance company – is still that of a development manager. It’s a much larger company though and many of the tasks that took up much of my time in the old role (from maintaining the company’s IT systems through strategic planning) are handled by a multitude of other people. I still have a team to manage, but I now have time to spend coding too. I can now try out many ideas that I’ve been reading about over the last two years. I also find I now have the inclination, and suitable topics, to write blog posts once more.

So this blog has been given CPR and revived from the brink of death. It’s back and so am I…

Posted in Me

3 thoughts on “I’m back!

  1. as an ex-member of your team it was pretty obvious that you were given far too many extraneous roles not directly involved with managing the team such as IT management. Also there were some last minute trips abroad, mind you there was also coding being done which I argue distracts from managing the team.

    With regards what to blog, I think it’s healthy to blog both positive and negative presumably you have to state that it’s your opinion and not that of the company. In some high profile cases employees blogs have lead to shifts in culture that otherwise wouldn’t have happened.

    FYI: since you’ve been gone we’ve actually changed the way we develop our core project, I’ve set a few things in motion and it appears to be working 🙂 our core product is working on single week sprints rather than no backlog management as before and rather than try to shoe horn unit tests into a difficult legacy project I opted for automated integration tests that work on a remote client calling the server without going via the irritating GUI!

  2. Richard,

    To be honest I did worry that you’d all be back doing waterfall soon after I left. So it’s great to hear you have improved upon what I was doing and have got an agile solution working. I hope that continues to go well.

    You make a good point about blogging good and bad and making clear it’s my own opinion. I’ll need to update my “About me” page (which until recently talked about Enigma Data Solutions and running flash on Solaris!!) to state that.

  3. typical, 4 weeks of getting a process that works and ironing out the faults and now the man above wants to step in and potentially wreck the lot 🙁

    I’ll keep you posted about if we fall down the waterfall again, not least of all because I shall be looking for a job!

    I now share your frustration first hand

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