I started out in my career as a developer, but it wasn’t long before frustration kicked in. Frustration, that is, with the business: they wanted everything. All at once. And sometimes, they wanted things that were daft, or pointless, in my lowly developer’s opinion.
When the opportunity came up to become a product manager, I jumped at the chance to try and influence the prioritisation process. Our team was successful to some degree (some people will never stop asking for daft things) but I missed being part of the technical implementation, and within a couple of years I found myself back in the role of a Program Manager, a special combination of business analyst and project management roles (different to the programme manager role as I understand it now).
Our team were the first in our company to try using agile techniques. In an environment that was increasingly process heavy, it wasn’t always easy. Our immediate management were both a help and a hindrance, finding creative ways to circumvent the heavier processes but ultimately not doing enough to change the company as a whole. We had the enthusiasm for Scrum but not the experience to optimise it for our team. Ultimately, I chose to move on to ThoughtWorks – a company known for promoting agile that I had long admired, and hoped would be a place to gain experience by working on many different projects.
As a business analyst in an agile team, I found that the work ebbed and flowed. I envied the developers, working on one story, with a (mostly) continuous flow of work. These people cared about what they developed, about writing good tests, long term maintenance, finding new technologies. The seed of an idea began to form in my mind – could I go back to development?
It was a scary thought. Would it be like going back to the beginning again? Would I be any good at it? Would they want to halve my pay?
It turns out that yes, it’s pretty scary, but yes, it can be done. And no, they didn’t halve my pay either. As for whether I’m any good: well, time will tell, but I don’t think I’m doing terribly badly.
I’ve been meaning to get back into blogging for some time – work and life seem to keep getting in the way – so I don’t know yet if this will be successful, but it seemed a good excuse and a good place to start!