My Software Development Journey (Part 2)


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This is part 2 of the story of how my successes and setbacks shaped me into someone who is so passionate about doing less at one time, and embracing uncertainty as part of a lean software development mindset.

Letting Go Of “My Baby”

After my first project that was both a product I designed and an opportunity to lead, I was given the opportunity to start a new one. It was difficult to let go of the success I’d had, and hard work I’d done, of this first project so early in my career.

Release Deadline Sabotage!

Soon the head of the company mandated that all products across the company release on the same day every 6 months. He had no idea what this took, but at the end of the day my team’s project was the only one ready. For political reasons, it was sabotaged by changing the name the last week of the deadline!

Following The Leader To New Opportunities

After our project was sabotaged, my boss was unfortunately fired and took the fall, and he moved on to a new company where I followed shortly thereafter. This new company was in the pharmaceutical space and needed the kind of help my old team at the prior company could provide, so many of us switched over.

Pioneering Agile

We built a simple web portal that let us track our sprints and other artifacts related to agile. This was before tools like Jira, Pivotal Tracker, or Team Foundation Server were available. It was crude, but we learned a lot and through our mistakes and successes became very early proponents of Scrum.

Family Conflicts Of Interest

Unfortunately there was a miscommunication between my boss and his, and my boss took the fall AGAIN due to company politics wrapped up in family ownership. I was extremely frustrated at this point after seeing my boss, who I considered one of the best leaders I’d worked with, continuing to be sideswiped by politics.

My First Architecture Consulting Experience

I followed my boss again to his next company, and got a chance to provide architecture consulting services. We helped them ship a late product, and created a prototype of a new one in ruby on rails over that year.

Moving To Austin, Texas

Eventually my Wife and I wanted a change, so we moved to Austin, Texas. The lifestyle and career options were more in line with what we wanted at the time, and we’re still here today as of 2017.

Moving Into Consulting

Shortly after arriving in Austin I was contacted about a consulting opportunity. Though it was a little less than I wanted compensation wise, I was excited about the chance to learn a different way of providing IT services and took the offer.

Getting An Ego Check-Up

I frustrated several clients in the first 2 years I was a consultant, and had a reality check. During my performance review I was criticized (rightfully so) for my inability to talk and relate well with clients.

Setting The Intention To Improve My Soft Skills

After the deflating performance review, I emboldened myself to learn what I needed to “get” this consulting thing. I came across the book “Flawless Consulting” by Peter Block after my wife purchased it to help her with Nutritional Health Coaching.

Learning To Be A Trusted Advisor

The first time I applied the info in Flawless Consulting was a game changer. I could win the trust and advisor status with a client almost immediately through these strategies!

Discovering Continuous Delivery

While working for a large international grocer based in Austin, I read the book on Continuous Delivery by Jez Humble. This had a huge impact on me and caused me to focus my career almost solely on mastering it.

Teaching Clients About Continuous Delivery

After creating a framework in Windows PowerShell that helped me implement Continuous Delivery at clients, I began to be frustrated that though we helped them release multiple times per day, their planning and budgeting process still didn’t allow them to BENEFIT from this new capability.

Discovering Lean Startup Product Management

This led me to learn more about Eric Ries, and eventually read his famous book “The Lean Startup”. I’ll talk in Part 3 about how I discovered how important this information was through 2 startups I failed to find market fit for.

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