Many bloggers have resorted to the banal practice of blogging on resolutions, goals, etc. for the new year. I am certainly not above that practice, and will engage right here. 2005 was a fantastic year for me professionally and personally, and I hope to continue the trend. The following are some random thoughts and plans for the New Year - I would love you to add comments on what yours are!
- Relentless use of Agile methods - Last year I became an Agile zealot, and will no doubt continue. Our team has become better and better throughout the year at delivering early and continuous value in the form of working software. We will get even better this year.
- Use of non-hype Web 2.0 practices in the enterprise - Web 2.0 hype is still on the rise, so this will be a challenge. I have previously blogged that tagging is a key Web 2.0 concept that will be of use in enterprises. I also believe that increasing use of self-selected transparency will transform many existing one-way sites within enterprises.
- Use of lighter-weight solutions where possible - it's no secret that I'm a fan of many open source frameworks; Spring and iBatis are prominent among them. This is not exclusively because they are open source, but rather because they are lighter weight than many commercial alternatives, and are sometimes the optimal solution. There is a time for industrial strength and a time for just enough, and I will continue to expose when I think those are confused (easy to do in a large enterprise).
- Developing people, not just IT solutions - there are key Agile principles around valuing the people in your organization. We did a better job improving talents and skills on our team last year than ever before, and will continue that practice. Investing in high-quality individuals pays the greatest dividend of any possible IT spend.
Other professional goals
- Continue blogging - I have made some great connections through this blog, and it has been a great way to hone thinking on various topics. My original goal was once a week postings, I'm going to try to keep to that schedule.
- Presenting at a conference - I will be presenting to the attendees at some lucky conference this year, more to follow...
- Increase the social network - I will again be increasing my social network this year with new and maintained contacts. I think this is the single most under-practiced skill among technical folks. This is essential to being a high-quality professional, but more than that is just what life is about. I formed friendships with many fascinating professional colleagues last year, among them James McGovern and Richard Monson-Haefel. I gain the greatest value in my life through relationships that I maintain.
- Propose a lecture or training program to the University of Costa Rica - I will be proposing various topics that I could deliver to the UCR Computer Science department as guest lectures or short training possibly in 2006 or 2007. I would do this on my own time and probably my own dime, as a means of giving back to an alma mater. I also think it would be fascinating to see how far the university has come technically since I was there in 1992.
- Publishing - I will continue to seek publishing opportunities, beginning with a book chapter that is due at the end of this month. Drop me a note or comment if you want to collaborate on an architecture or enterprise development topic.
Personal goals (that I'm willing to share!)
- Use flickr to share photos - I started using flickr just as a means of research into Web 2.0 concepts and technology. It's a great example of that, but is also just plain cool! I will definitely continue to use this, and will probably go Pro in the near future.
- Organize my charitable giving - our family has always supported various charities, but have not been terribly organized about who we give to. This year we will be deciding on what goals and values to support, and what international areas to support and be more direct with support. I will continue to donate time, as this is often more valuable than money.
- Begin work on the cabin - we have an old cabin that has been in my wife's family for years, and will finally begin much-needed updates. Let me know if you are interested in swinging a hammer in exchange for some outdoor time!
- Do a better job teaching my kids Spanish - a highlight last year was when my Mom and sister (host family) from Costa Rica visited. My 5- and 7-year-olds should have been more able to speak to them than they were. I will be doing a much better job of this - it's my opinion that everyone should speak at least 2 languages (no, computer languages don't count!), and I need to act on that position.