It's been about a year since I joined Joomla's Production Leadership Team, and I can certainly say there have been a lot of ups and downs with the job. It's also made me grow as a developer, a team leader, community leader, and Soldier. Through my experiences and conversations, especially at the Joomla World Conference, I'm pretty sure I've got a grasp on who I am today and where I need to grow, including where I want to take the Joomla project while I'm moving forward.
What's Working Well
Depending on who you ask, I could probably end this blog right here. But to me, everyone has something they can improve in and new things they can learn. Complacency comes from being unwilling to accept your quirks, weaknesses, or continuing to improve as a person and a professional. So with that said, what am I doing well? I'm communicating, making myself available to those who need an ear to vent to, discuss issues with, or ask questions of. I communicate with others, addressing my own issues with workflows and processes and throwing my ideas out there for feedback. I'm learning to trust folks (again), a character flaw that I'm slowly growing past, and have my own "team" of individuals that I can trust and talk to about most topics. Most importantly for me, I'm having fun. I might be running myself into the ground to make sure everything is running smoothly (how many conversations at JWC started with "you look tired, Michael"?), but I can legitimately say I'm happier doing that right now than I am with my current job.
What Needs Improvement
So this is honestly a topic I could get into a debate with a few folks about on its own. Where do I need to improve? I did manage to get a consensus from one person on this topic, I'm doing too much. I put too much responsibility on my shoulders to make sure the mission is accomplished, even if that means I'm doing a little bit of everything on my own. The end result there is I'm not giving the attention I need to for other parts of my daily life. Something I need to learn how to do is say "no", not because I'm disinterested or want to shrug people off, but because the quality of the things I'm doing is suffering because I've stretched myself too thin.
I'm a gatekeeper of sorts. There have been a few times over my military career I've been told I hoard information and don't share it, and in some ways it's now happening with my Joomla responsibilities. I've built my own systems and have my own checks and balances, but I don't really have many others who can pick up the reigns if something happened to me while writing this blog and continue with everything I do. And with me now looking at transitioning out of the military, I'm reaching that point where I need to offload my wealth of knowledge so that the Soldiers I'm training can go on and do great things without needing to always ask for my help.
Lastly, my use of English (the American flavor that the British folks reading this will scoff at) sucks and is mildly colorful. Anyone who's had an in person conversation with me has probably heard more f-bombs in 5 minutes with me compared to most people in an hour. It's in part the environment I work in (most military members have mastered some creative uses of English), in part my sarcastic attitude, and in part how easily irritable I can be from my job environment. Doesn't make it acceptable, but them's the facts.
Personal Goals for Year 2
One thing I want to focus on overall is communication. Not necessarily more of it, but better overall. I want to make myself think some more about what I say and when I say it. Something I had to be reminded of last weekend is how I word things, sometimes for the negative. Plus, I have a knack for not always thinking things through before clicking Tweet, Save, or whatever the send mechanism is for the software I'm using and responding with emotion driven statements versus logic driven. I'm aiming to have less of a trigger finger when it comes to what I say and build a more professional communication environment.
Something I don't quite do as well as I would like to is task and time management. I have a knack for just jumping about on different things whenever and don't really stay focused on things as well as I should (borderline ADD maybe?). Not quite sure how I'm going to do it yet, but I'm going to find a way to make myself more directed at tasks and not just randomly jumping in on whatever.
Of course, my last goal is the world's worst kept secret now, and that's finishing up my transition out of the military and starting the next chapter of my life. Those conversations have been interesting, and the number of briefings I've been bored to death through over the last month will be something I'll be glad to be done with.
If there's ever been a time I've been motivated for Joomla, it's now after this last weekend's world conference. There were a lot of takeaways for me, many doors open for communication, and the number of ideas floating around my head is astounding. So with that being said...
I want to see PLT communication and processes open up more. With our newer team members, we're making a better stance against using Skype as the primary communication channel. So far this week, my Joomla e-mail account has had more activity than probably the last three months combined (yes, this includes coordinating the 3.2 release). We should strive to continue on this high we're currently on year round.
That leads into item number two. Better collaboration across the team. It's easy for each of us to get narrow sighted and focus in on the things we want to and ignore the rest. I want to engage the members of our team more and bring them together to work more closely. On a personal level, there's a slight motivator of sharing the workload and taking some of the stress that I've self generated off my shoulders.
Oddly enough, I want to do less. I want to have less on my plate and share more of the workload. I want to be able to better focus on the tasks that I am performing and still have time for non-core Joomla things that I work on.
Finally, and this should go without saying, but I want to see the code continue to grow and evolve. Between having the Framework innovating and able to interface with most any PHP project, seeing the number of innovative ideas floating around for the next generation of our CMS, and being another step closer to stabilizing our Issue Tracker application, there are a lot of places to innovate and motivate from a code level. There should be no reason we can't invite developers (or anyone for that matter - Andrew Nacin and Matt Mullenweg were at Joomla's biggest event) into our community.
So there you have it, this is where I've been over the last year, and this is where I want to go.