Do you mind if I rant in here?

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  • Of course, not to rant about welcoming a new life into this world, but I was reminded of this photo during a recent experience. Above, as the clocks start ticking, the future potential seems limitless, with so many opportunities to pursue…branches to explore. It’s exhilarating, not only for her and the journey she’ll embark upon, but for the people closest to her – to see her progress and, in a manner, to reacquaint oneself with the same sense of freedom.

    20110122-152654-Canon EOS 5D Mark II-3744 x 5616So, regarding the recent experience…a discussion about work. Prior to what I do now, I worked in the videogame industry. Each employment opportunity afforded the chance to learn something new and refine my skills, applying lessons learned so as not to repeat the mistakes of the past. So, during this recent discussion, it was intimated that my time out of the industry has hampered my abilities to manage these projects. It was on this point that I have a differing opinion. There are some fields that require up-to-date knowledge. Knowledge of the technology involved in producing software projects certainly is helpful, but if that was all that’s necessary, one could just replace producers and project managers with programmers and call it a day.

    20110120-091111-Canon EOS 5D Mark II-3744 x 5616That doesn’t happen. Reflecting on this and applying my experience, there’s so many variables involved in software production. Various stakeholders, pulling in different directions, all having a say but with minimal responsibility if the project doesn’t ship on time…or at all. It’s navigating a minefield…each milestone review a cornucopia of potential delays  and schedule-wrecking feedback. Which wind of change should I follow? What’s right for the project versus right for my gainful employment? Ideally, these two should be aligned. Theoretically, they are, but what’s the verdict if your belief is to go in X direction and your EP/VP/whole world say Y direction? Oh…and the game still has to ship on time and be fun.

    Sometimes it felt as if I was pushing this giant boulder forward and everyone else was on the other side pushing in the other direction. The imagery conjured up by that statement suited me well.

    20110413-203540-Canon PowerShot S95-2736 x 3648Now, I’m not saying anything new here. On the job, I like to get doing and solve the problems. This is just a minor rant. I’m still calm and at peace. However, this apparent inconsideration of my years of experience didn’t sit well with me. I’ve seen, heard and sat in enough meetings with “experts” and those “in the know” to know that no one really knows. In the reality of imperfect information, it seems the wise choice to rely heavily on the staff that live, breathe and eat with the project every day and night. So, while I may not know the latest of whatever-social-network-game development, I’m not exactly quavering in my shoes that I can’t overcome that knowledge gap. Arguably, the other experience – managing financial and human resources, schedule and maintaining project momentum in spite of *whatever* problem comes up – would be far more relevant to the development of any software project.

    So, I see my newborn from a time ago and ponder what she’ll grow up to be. Simultaneously, I realize that while I’ve got a few decades on her, I’m not ready to be pickled in a jar and thrown on the shelf. Irritation aside, there’s comfort in understanding my skillset. That, perhaps, is also part of the learning process…the maturity to know your capabilities…

    20110122-152641-Canon EOS 5D Mark II-3744 x 5616

    …and maturely handle thoughts that are not agreeable to your sensibilities.

    (No…she isn’t doing what she looks like she’s doing…a princess doesn’t act like that.)

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