At around this time each year, I take some time to reflect. What were the year’s highlights? Lowlights? What were the mundane but should not be forgotten?
And then I’d think of a theme. A catchy word or phrase that sums up the year.
In 2014 I didn’t even need to reflect. I KNEW what the theme was.
I tried a lot of things for the first time that year. From big things like formally learning 日本語 (Japanese language), to small things like watching a movie alone. I explored side streets as often as I could and tried their hole-in-the-wall restaurants. The gastronomic adventures weren’t always successful–curse you weak stomach!–but they were adventures nonetheless.
All because I made one tiny resolution at the start of 2014: To scare the shit out of myself, as often as possible.
And I realize now, as I’m struggling to come up with a theme for 2016, as I can’t even remember what 2015’s theme was, that this theme thing isn’t working. That whatever I did in 2014 worked better.
So I’m changing strategies. I’m going to do what I’m paid to do.
I am going to manage Project 2-0-1-7.
These past couple of years, most of my growth were the direct results of desperation, of firefighting, or from grabbing an opportunity. All good reasons, but all reactive.
That’s what I want to change. Next year, I want to be more proactive. I want to push myself to grow, not be “forced” to grow. Because that’s the only thing different in 2014, but that one change made a resounding impact.
Over the remaining days of 2016, I’ll be project planning.
What is Project 2017?
Project 2017 is Danna’s strategy to make 2017 count. To push herself to grow in the year 2017. To make something good happen within the year’s timeframe.
Project 2017 Objectives:
- Get into data more seriously. I plan to get more involved with data science. Or data analysis, or data visualization, or data whatever (options are open). Not only as a growing interest but as a possible career shift.
- Shake things up in my career. It’s been uncomfortably comfortable.
- Ingrain this self-learning discipline (again, because of data science) into something permanent.
- Improve my writing. A perpetual resolution but this time I’m serious!
- Network more often (i.e., actively work on a personal crux).
Project 2017 Minimum Success Criteria:
Project 2017 will have no minimum success criteria. I want it to be FUN. I don’t want future self to feel pressured to follow what-would-become-past self’s standards. I don’t want to be constantly checking with myself,
NO. I intend to run Project 2017 the way I run most of my projects lately: in Agile.
For the uninitiated, Agile is… Well, it’s a project management framework, but with radically different values from traditional project management.
“Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan”
–The Agile Manifesto
Traditional project management will always have it’s place, but there’s a reason why Agile is hot right now. It’s easy. It’s sensible. And what I love about it the most: It adapts to change.
The only thing constant is change. Cliché but true. I’m a different person from who I was in 2014. And I
might will change again by the end of 2017. I want to set Project 2017 up for success then, not the standards of success I have now.
Instead of having success criteria against the whole of 2017, I’ll start small. Target something every 1-4 weeks. That’s the size of the sprint in scrum terms (Scrum = an Agile methodology. This post is quickly turning into project management bootcamp.) At the end of the sprint, decide on a new target to work towards.
It’s similar to the Kaizen method, or the method of continuous incremental improvements. I just need to align those improvements toward the objectives.
So objectives, values, and process? Check.
What I don’t have is a project mission. The “scare the shit out of myself” version of 2017.
That’s why Project 2017 is still a working title. I’m not happy with it. I want it to be more descriptive of what I’m trying to achieve.
As of writing, I have 15 days `til go-live. Crunch time.