Three-month work-life retrospective


Just over three months ago, I posted a few memorable blogs (for me) in regards to a career change.  The career change has been made and I thought I would share my retrospective on how it has affected me.

Following the format of the retrospectives I have been over the past 3 months, I’ll start with a check in word:


Making the move from an 85% managerial role to a 100% development role has completely rejuvenated me.  In the past three months I have gained an incredible amount of knowledge and furthered myself as a person and a developer.

Moving along to the next items:

  • What do I want to stop doing?
  • What do I want to start doing?
  • What do I want to continue doing?

I am going to go through each of the points listing out as many items as I can for each.  When I’m done I will create a list of action items from them.

What do I want to stop doing?

Let go of my anxieties about “how things should be done”.  Everyone has their own ways of doing things.

Stop bringing work home with me.  I’ve had troubles sleeping for years because of this.

Stop feeling “rushed” and know I’m working hard.

Stop wondering if I could have made an impact at my last job with the “if only I did this…”

What do I want to start doing?

Communicate more effectively my anxieties about “how things should be done”.  Work with people for my learning or theirs.

More test-driven development.  I’m still learning and not always writing that failing test first.  Blasphemy, I know.

Blog more.  I’ve been too focused on side projects (because of rejuvenated dev passions) and my actual job.

Write more experimental blog posts.  E.g. invest more time in an article that requires research or trial and error.

Learn more about agile, scrum, kanban, etc… processes.

Enjoy my free time more.

Do weekly retrospectives with my family.

Do weekly retrospectives by myself.

What do I want to continue doing?

Develop.  Develop.  Develop.

Maintaining a high pace, but a maintainable pace.

Pair programming.  I’ve never pair programmed on a whole task in the past (only typical help me debug a problem).

Test-driven development.

Reading/Learning.  I’ve read more technical books in the past three months than I have in the past three years (maybe more)!

Using a scrum board.  I’ve brought this concept home for my chores (my house is so much cleaner!).

Working on a product.  I enjoy the single point of focus.  Lots of options to explore A/B testing, etc…

Action Items

Wow, that was a long list.  It’s clearly not possible to create action items for all of the items.  Let’s go back through and see if we can find a few common themes:

  • Learning, development, TDD, writing seem to be somewhat related and good probably have a good action item associated with it.
  • Communication.  I think this covers another good set of tasks (retrospectives, communicating with team members, pairing, etc…).
  • Closure.  This kind of goes hand-in-hand with communication, but slightly different.  This covers things like stress, wondering about my last job, and ensuring that my communication is effective.

I’m happy with that grouped summary of my stop, start, and continue doing lists.  Now I can formulate some action items:

  • Perform a regular personal retrospective.

I thought about writing done more actions, but I decided against it.  The above action item I feel is extremely powerful.  I also feel that by doing this first, it will lead to more action items that have been thought and explored during my retrospective.

Checkout Word


When I write blog articles I feel like I have a general feel for where it is heading.  This blog post did a complete 180 from where I thought it was going to go.  I had no idea that at the start of writing this post I would end up with an action item.  More importantly, I didn’t expect the action item to be do a personal retrospective.


What a fun exercise this was.  I originally thought I was going to directly discuss several points about how fun Agile is versus Waterfall.  Or how much my code has improved by reading a few books.  How awesome TDD is.  Etc…

I covered a few of these points, but definitely not to the extent I originally thought.

Now it’s time to see if I can follow through with the single action item I gave myself, perform a personal retrospective.

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By Jamie

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