It’s been awhile

Howdy. It’s been awhile since I’ve darkened this particular internet doorway. Peter’s been doing a standup job keeping the site running and churning out interesting content, much thanks to him! A lot has happened since I last checked in, I’ll try to catch you up on the interesting parts and talk a bit about what’s to come.

I was approached in late 2015 about an opportunity with a key EMC customer (now Dell Technologies customer!) and after a few conversations and a quick trip to Scotland I was seconded to a large Bank to act as their Head of Cloud Services. It’s been interesting creating an entirely new role inside my home organization, Resident CTO, and acting on behalf of the Bank for the last two years. I’ve learned a lot about our products and how they’re optimized and consumed, and a lot about what it takes to drive value from these solutions. I’ve moved to Scotland with my family, selling what I thought would be my last house in the process (and my Tesla 🙁 …), and have been supported by Darlene and the girls throughout the whole process. We’ve settled in rather nicely, it is beautiful here and the people are great. I don’t know what 2018 is going to bring but the last two years have been great.

My role has been very focused on putting into practice all the things I’ve been pontificating about the last several years, a real put up or shut up. A key learning has been “No plan survives first contact with the enemy”. I had all sorts of ideas about how I’d help enable cloud, DevOps, agile, lean, yadda yadda and I learned so much about what does and doesn’t work. This sort of transformation is never done, but I am happy to say we’ve got many of the key components in place to allow our teams to be successful and I’m excited about what we’re going to accomplish moving forward. I’ve been lucky enough to work with a very talented group of engineers and operators at the Bank and Dell Technologies to make all of it come together. It all started with the CTO, someone I respect and a real kindred spirit and polymath in his own right, he was the first IT executive in 20+ years of consulting I really wanted to work with full time.

I think one of the things I am most proud of over the last two years is the fact that I failed more than once on initiatives or architectures and was able to learn a ton as a result. One thing I’ve tried to encourage people to understand is “Done is better than perfect” and that our goal is incremental improvement – no big bangs allowed. This was a big change of mindset for nearly everyone involved in the Transformation. I’ve talked before about how the perfect can be the enemy of the good and it’s really been borne out in this experience. It has been very gratifying working with teams who are learning about things like The Theory of Constraints from The Goal, and sharing lessons from Lean Enterprise, Lean Startup, and Great by Choice, I can’t recommend these books enough.

So, what does all of this mean for me and Practical Polymath? First, I’ve got a lot of things I’d like to talk about after a few years in the trenches, specifically around how to enable developers for Cloud Native and Cloud Ready application success. Second, I’m going to be taking some more time to share thoughts and ideas on some of the non-work things that interest me and how I’ve been able to enjoy those hobbies again now that I’m not on the road 80% per year. And finally, I’ll ruminate a bit on how things have been changing in the industry, Banking and IT technology, and what it might mean for me and my next role. Hopefully some of that is interesting to you all.

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