Time To Announce A BIG Change For Me

Some of you have noticed a bit of a change in my twitter feed. In fact a couple people even called me out on it: Where are the Fax tweets?

Yes, there has been a bit of a change. I’ll tell you some of what has changed today and I’ll let you in on a bit more in a week.

Ready for this? Its a big one.

Today is my last day at OpenText. Whew. Didn’t see that one coming.

Nearly eight years ago, I left Microsoft to become a Sales Engineer at Captaris. The move made a lot of sense for me at the time. I had been doing a lot of work with Sharepoint as a Technology Specialist for State & Local Government. As a former Product Manager for Sharepoint, it was a product I cared deeply about. But its big weakness at the time was the lack of a workflow engine. Captaris Workflow solved that and I was excited to work with the product. What made the role even better was the international component. Unfortunately, the international travel promise was yanked on day one, but it was still a fun job.

10 months later, I got that international flavor by moving into the training role based in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Seven years in the role and I have had a blast. In that time I have been to Australia 17 times, Kuala Lumpur 4 or 5 times, Singapore 10 times, Dubai 15 or so times, along with several trips to Croatia, Norway, South Africa, Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Macao, Thailand, Argentina, Uruguay, France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, and I am sure there are a few others I have left out. And to think just a few years before I had longed for a once in a lifetime trip to Australia.

So what’s next? Well, I’ll hold back on telling you for another week, but if you look at my recent tweets, you’ll get a feeling for the industry. There have been quite a few about javascript optimization, web performance, CDNs, and general web development. You can expect to see a lot more about these topics as well as others like Drupal, Magento, and all sorts of stuff.

I will let you know however that the new job is not in Amsterdam. Its not even in Europe. Thats right. Time to sell my apartment and move back to the US. Its a big decision and a big move. But this week is a chance to catch up on some sleep, and maybe take the train around to some of the towns I haven’t had a chance to see. If you have any suggestions of places I need to go, leave a comment below.

In a week I fly to Boston, Massachusetts for my first week on the job. I already met a few of the guys on the interview loop a couple months back and am totally excited to completely switch gears.

Its going to be a long list of firsts and firsts in a while. First startup in 13+ years since NetObjects. First US-based job in 8 years. First time in 10+ years I have worked in an HQ office. Even my last 3 years at Microsoft were spent in a branch; though I was in Redmond, State & Local Government sales was based in DC. First…well, so many reasons to be incredibly excited.

A big thanks goes out to all the people who have helped me out around the world in the job I am leaving. Watch out for the next update in a week when I fill you in on where I am going.

Making Good On Yearly Goals

Goals. I have come up with goals for almost every fiscal year I have been an employee, apart from my first two jobs. Not much need for goal setting when I was a paper boy at the Islander News or behind the counter at Bristol’s Camera on Key Biscayne. But goals have been very important at NetObjects, Microsoft, and now OpenText. The process for keeping up with those goals, no matter where I worked, has always been a bit nebulous. Goals were defined at the beginning of the year, then evaluated at the end. What happened in the 11 months in between was up to the employee. And usually balls got dropped.

Well, thats not quite true. Actually new balls got added to the mix. Fire drills caused slippage of the original goals to focus on new things. Goals should be specific and measurable, but not so specific that they cannot be changed and still recognizable. 

Today is the last day of the Fiscal Year for me and I can say without a doubt that it’s been my best year yet. The reasons are simple: I came up with better goals, and I reviewed those goals, and my progress against them, every 2 weeks. Sometimes I did it even more often, but two weeks was the maximum amount of time that went by without a goal check. 

Now I have tried to do this exact thing in the past, but it always required looking at a spreadsheet or a document to figure out where I am. This time however I had a fantastic tool to help me out: Goalscape. Now I should probably state up front that this look back at my year with Goalscape was not in any way requested by Goalscape. That said, in exchange for my first review a year ago, they did give me a free license. 

The image above is my Goalscape plan for FY2012. Most of the diagram are my official goals that were defined at the beginning of the year. Basically my goals fell into 4 buckets: training, videos, blogging, and FaxDocs.tv. In this chart, the darker grey is complete and the light grey is incomplete. As you can see I kicked ass this year. But looking at this, you might think that my goals were a little too specific. Actually my goals for the year in the official document looked more like this:

By clicking those two arrows at the top of the diagram I can show more or less detail. So I told my manager I would be creating 16 videos, 20 blog posts, train 120 students across 25 classes, and launch a new site for sharing videos. Right away, I split those goals up into each quarter, resulting in 4 videos and 5 blogs per quarter. After each was complete and online, I updated each blog or video goal to show the name and to mark that portion of the goal complete. Some quarters I did more videos than others, but in the end, I got my 16 videos. Actually I was closer to about 50 videos, but 16 was what mattered.

So every couple of weeks I produced a little Powerpoint deck for my manager with screenshots from Goalscape. It allowed both of us to see how far along on those original goals I had gone. I don’t think she needed all of these details, but it helped me and it kept reminding her how awesome I am (just in case there was any doubt).

A little ways into the year, I added the Extra Things goal to help me record the other things that I did. All of this would come together in about a month when it is time to write my annual review. Rather than spending more time describing the product, let me just show you with a short video.


Do you use Goalscape? Do you use something else? Share your comments below.