Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Best job ever -- really?

OK, so maybe I'm biased.

I've been in software my entire career -- over twenty years, now, though that hardly seems possible.  And for three quarters of that, I've held Product Management roles.  I've been a sole PM at a small company, a member of a large PM team at a large company, managed small teams, coached people new to the role, and twice established PM as a discipline in emerging companies.  I did step away from managing products a few years ago, taking a promotion to serve fifteen monts as General Manager for a line of business.  But I found during that stint that a GM is really a lot like a PM, just with a broader focus.

So if it's not everyone's idea of the best job in the world, it's one I've poured myself into for a very long time, and one that I've found to be fun, challenging and immensely rewarding.  I'm also very good at it, at least in the way I've experienced and defined the role.

I've been blogging for two years, now, with my personal blog, Bronze Gears.  I've thought about starting a professional blog for a while, and I even set up a second blog on my Blogger account last year.  I never got it off the ground in a meaningful way, though, I think mostly because I wasn't sure what to write about.  But 2010 has been a substantially different year for me than 2009, and my experiences this year have given me a lot to think about with respect to my chosen vocation.

I left my most recent employer (one of only three, in that 20+ year career) at the end of April, just before they merged with a historical rival.  My reasons for leaving are numerous, but the most important one is that it was time for a change.  I looked for a bit before I left, and then started looking seriously over the summer, and am still looking for just the right fit.  So yes, that means I'm available, if you're looking for great PM talent!

The search has been a lot of fun, and I've met some great people and had many really energizing conversations.  In preparing for interviews, I've needed to think about the different legs of my career -- to figure out how to frame them in describing who I am as a professional.  And in poring over the details of my most recent role, I came to understand just how great a treasure trove of experiences it was.  It was one of the most challenging environments I've ever been in, and at times an extremely difficult place to work.  But I left a much better PM than I went in -- and I'd argue that I was pretty damn good at the start.

Those experiences and what I took from them will form the basis of what I'll have to offer, here.  And at their core is my role in helping move a product and a company from an on-premise delivery model with a traditional licensing model to a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery model with a subscription model.  The lessons are many, and I invite you to share your own in comments on my posts.  If everything goes as planned, at some point I'll be able to stop looking back for nuggets to share, and will be able to draw from the lessons of my next job.

Next time, I'll get started for real -- digging into the best job ever.  I'm looking forward to it, and thanks for joining me.

All for now,


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