2011 in Review

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2011 in Review


Now that the year of the Mayans is upon us, I wanted to take some time to look back over 2011. And don’t worry, I’ll do my best to not mention the Mayans and 2012 anymore this year. I won’t guarantee it won’t come up again because I think it is funny, but I’ll try.

A new job… sort of

Back in June of 2010, I made a major decision and moved my family to Memphis and took a new job. Little did I know that my employer would change in just over a year. My prior employer, ServiceU, was acquired by the Active Network. I’m still at the same location doing mostly the same thing, but it was still unexpected. I’m excited about the change, though, and I’m excited that I’m still working for a software company.

As a part of the acquisition, we’ve also fully embraced [Scrum](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrum_(development\)) as our development methodology. Prior to the acquisition, it wasn’t like we were doing Waterfall, but we didn’t really have a formalized process either. You might be able to call it Lean, but that would probably be stretching it as far as Lean Software Development is concerned. I’ve been reading about Scrum and Agile development for years now, but I discovered that “reading” is far different than “doing.” I thought I understood Agile - I was wrong. There is a big difference between talking about iterative releases and actually releasing iteratively. You’ll understand if you’ve ever been there.

Another interesting thing that happened this past year was I experienced my first trip to Redmond and the Microsoft Campus. It’s big. And this bad Seattle weather everyone talks about? Lies - it was sunny and in the 70s the entire time we were there. One of the results of the trip was that our company was featured in a Microsoft Case Study about SQL Server 2012. Over the last year, I’ve learned far more about uptime and availability than I ever thought I would. It’s been quite the learning experience to actually get to help build systems (and maintain them effectively) while keeping the uptime numbers we’re looking for.

From a speaking and community perspective, I barely did anything… publicly. However, we really started a push to have Dev Lunches at work as a means of continual improvement. Basically, once a month, one of the devs would volunteer to present a topic to the team over lunch. The atmosphere is great for presenting because everyone is peers and friends already, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to have in-depth discussions. I’d really recommend something similar as a training opportunity. And it also fits into the self-organizing side of agile.

On the home front

Earlier last year, my family increased from two to three with the addition of my daughter Daila. Needless to say, I’ve been getting my hands dirty. Literally. She’s gone from sleeping most of the time (except at night) to babbling, rolling over, standing with help, laughing at just about everything, and more. She’s not responding to baby signs just yet, but I’m pretty sure she understands what we’re saying now.

This year?

I expect that we’ll have our first iOS application released soon. Chances are good that it won’t mean much to you if you’re not familiar with our service, but it is still exciting for us.

I also recently cancelled my cable finally and am fully embracing streaming. It probably isn’t even worth mentioning that part, but it’s a big deal to me. I’m giddy over how much I’ll be saving a month.

Other than that, well, who knows. Stay tuned.