March 28, 2007
In April I will be leaving Quadrus Development to go independent again. I have found an interesting contract at local company, Husky Energy, where they have an agile project to manage and some other interesting initiatives underway and I am looking forward to my new role.
End With the Beginning in Mind
I have been at Quadrus for over six years and I enjoyed my role there tremendously. Someone very wise (Christopher Avery) once told me that when a relationship comes to an end that you should always End With the Beginning in Mind i.e. remember the reasons why the relationship started in the first place and focus on these points when wrapping up. Not only is end-with-the-beginning-in-mind, a great twist on Stephen Covey’s "begin-with-the-end-in-mind", it is also very wise advice I wish I had appreciated when I was much younger.
In his book “Teamwork is an Individual Skill”, Chris says the following about ending partnerships:
“…people so seldom end relationships well. Maybe because we all want so much to win - and endings are associated with losing. Maybe it’s because we are embarrassed that we don’t know how to derive any more benefits from a partnership. Maybe we are embarrassed because of un-kept promises, real or imagined…endings are as inevitable as beginnings and we can improve the quality of endings by avoiding three things:
1) Burning bridges
2) Harming reputations
3) Being inhumane to oneself or others”
Chris then goes on to recommend some positive steps that include:
"1) End the collaboration by bringing to mind the positive intentions and positive results that the partnership produced.
2) Thank your partners for the opportunities, results, and trust they provided you.
I think this is great advice, and personally think back with fond memories of when I started at Quadrus. Having enjoyed several years holidays snowboarding and hiking in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, my wife and I decided to emigrate to Canada. It seems foolhardy now, but we both quit our jobs, sold our house in England and moved to Calgary without new jobs to go to. I was fortunate to interview with Quadrus my second week in Canada and was offered a position the same day.
Quadrus took a chance hiring me and I am very grateful for that, I arrived here with my PRINCE2 project management certification that no one had heard of and quickly sat my PMP exam to at least gain some traditional project management accreditation. Fortunately my methodology experience was more transferable, with RUP, Scrum, and XP being well understood in Canada.
I had some cultural challenges as Canada and England are two nations separated by a common language. I learned how to “get my ducks in a row”, “ramp” on new technologies and avoid “kack” while explaining how long a “fortnight” is and what “knackered” means.
Quadrus encouraged me to develop training courses, speak at conferences and publish articles. Without these opportunities I would have missed meeting so many smart people and becoming enthralled by research and lifelong learning. Quadrus has a great set of dedicated IT professionals and I will miss their skills and community.
Other Items, Business as Usual
While I am changing my 9-5 job, my other activities will continue. Quadrus has agreed to continue hosting the Calgary APLN Drupal web site and I look forward to seeing Quadrus folks at future APLN meetings. I will still be writing articles for the Agile Journal and Gantthead and continue to be actively involved with the Agile Alliance, the APLN, CAMUG, and Cambrian House. I will still be presenting on Agile Project Management at Agile 2007 in August and the PMI Global Congress in Atlanta this October. Not least of course, I will continue blogging here, so there will be no end to totally biased leadership and project management ideas.
I will be having some leaving drinks in Ceili’s (803 8th Avenue) on Friday 30th at 4:30pm, anyone who knows me is welcome to drop by for a beer if you are in the neighbourhood.
I'm always so impressed with your blog. Yours is the best agile/leadership blog out here. You make so many great observations with such efficiency and grace. I appreciate that you bring life to the idea of leadership, not just to agile methods.
And so I'm deeply honored to be mentioned by you at a pivotal—or at least transitional—moment in your life. Thanks. I'm pleased you find application in my work
I wish you God speed as you leave Quadrus and begin what comes next. I'm sure you'll rapidly be delivering increments of value for a customer saying "yes, great, more!".
Posted by: Christopher Avery | April 05, 2007 at 08:25 PM