This is my attempt to reflect on events of the year 2016. For that, I'll answer three questions:
- What went well this year?
- What could have been done better?
- What am I working toward?
This is a format I decided to use being inspired by the annual reviews by James Clear.
What went well?
Project management experience. The year of 2016 I began in a new role. After a switch from QA Engineer position in the end of 2015, I've been evaluating my choice throughout the whole year. At this point, I can definitely say that I don't regret about my move to project management. I like my new role and responsibilities, and find myself satisfied with what achieved so far. I'm getting the hang of it, although there is a plenty of room for improvements, as always.
Learning. Being a newbie to project management, I wanted to fill in the gaps of my knowledge. And took several online courses explaining the basics of project management and management as a whole. Also I wanted to improve my English, as communication is a key of the subject. That's why I took a few courses at Coursera focusing on Business English.
So, here is a list of the courses I completed in 2016:
- Fundamentals of Management
- Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management
- Effective Problem-Solving and Decision-Making
- Project management: the basics for success
- Principles of Project Management
- Introduction to Leadership
- Business English: Meetings!
- Write Professional Emails in English
- Speak English Professionally: In Person, Online & On the Phone
Reading fiction literature. Although I read only a dozen of books last year, I'm glad that half of them were fiction ones. There are so many professional and self-help books in my reading list that it's hard to find time for reading fiction. It's easy to think that fiction books don't bring much of value to your life. However, they can teach you such important things as empathy, leading, being better at decision making, just to name a few. Not to mention that I really enjoyed reading classics like "Crime and Punishment", "451 Fahrenheit", "Othello".
Travel with my family. The highlight of the year was definitely the travel to Rome. My old dream came true at last. What's more, I did it along with my wife and the kid. Traveling with a 10-month child is never easy, but being with him far away from home and having photos of the kid in front of Colosseum are something special, and it was worth any inconvenience. Anyway, the Eternal City made a great impression on us, and we eagerly want to come back to there some day.
Last year, we also traveled to Lviv and Barcelona, which both left good memories too.
Writings. I started writing articles, most of which are here, on this website. Besides, a couple of my posts in Russian were published on other sites. I feel really good about writing, although I procrastinate a lot on it. However, once done, it makes my day.
Improved my English-speaking skill. Subjectively, I feel I've got better at speaking English. A manager role involves a lot of meetings, where you have a chance to practice it. Thus, no surprise I made some progress and got confidence in speaking English. In addition, I practiced the skill on my own with such services as Cambly and ABA English.
What could have been done better?
Focus on what's in front of me. Being distracted by a bunch of books, podcasts, articles, courses, and ideas swirling in my head, I was feeling stressed for most of the year and making a slow progress on what matters most. Wanted to take courses, and read books, and improve English, and write articles, and start off a side project, and so on and so forth. All that was in addition to demands of my work and family. I wanted it all, I wanted it right then. But it doesn't work that way, so I have to make a choice and stick to one thing at a time.
Shouldn't have rushed learning. As a consequence of the previous, I wanted to take as much courses as possible, and read books faster. The pace was high, and I didn't have enough time to properly absorb the learned material or summarize it. Moreover, I completed only a part of course assignments. This is a poor way of learning.
What am I working toward?
Moving to another city. I and my wife consider changing the environment and living in other place. We've been always living in the native city, so it's worth getting new experience, and opening ourselves to new opportunities. This is a primary objective of my family for now.
Continue learning and getting experience on PM front. I need to improve my understanding of PM processes and practices, so I've already ordered the book "PMP Exam Prep" by Rita Mulcahy. Although I haven't decided whether I want to go pass the exam, reading this through should help me regardless.
Another improvement I plan for is to get an experience driving a project with more than 3 people involved. So far I've been managed relatively small projects, with 1-2 people. More people mean more dependencies, interactions, communications to be managed, and it may be a challenge for me.
So, this is what my annual review looks like. Of course, that's not the comprehensive list of what I had in the year 2016. For instance, I could tell a lot about my experience as a father, the joy of watching your kid grow. First steps, first words. But it's hard for me to put in words what it feels like, so I left it out of the review.