I have just finished doing my own, personal retrospective of 2008 after spending a couple of weeks relaxing and decompressing. Definitely a cathartic experience that has left me re-energised and ready to go in 2009.

  • 2008 saw me go into several flawed companies/teams in succession as well as some well adjusted ones. Although I delivered results, they were nowhere near the level that I am used to getting, and the battles to get even those results were long, protracted and draining. Portia Tung wrote about something she called "The Wall". Well, I found my wall last year and although I managed to scale it, it wasn't elegant. So in 2009 I intend to only work with well behaved clients who genuinely want to change, or have already made the change to agile/lean thinking but need guidance. Life is too short not to. Consulting should not be a battle, it's a co-operation. More of that in a later blog post. But I also need to understand better what my personal "wall" feels like, how to recognise it more quickly and how I don't just scale it but burst through it.

  • One of the related problems in 2008 was isolation. Sometimes when you work as an independent consultant you can feel very alone and begin to lose focus (the ancient wood for trees syndrome). You really need to bounce ideas off like-minded people to identify root causes and figure out new and exciting ways to deal with them. So I intend to kick off a peer review group amongst some trusted friends and colleagues and see how it goes. I have used the peer review approach before but this will be more challenging since the people involved are likely to be on entirely different projects....

  • Last year I neglected the important-but-not-urgent stuff. Things like this blog, going to conferences, networking with people, getting the industry vibe. That sort of thing. So expect more blog posts, and watch out for me at the odd conference. I might even present at one (although it's probably too late for 2009).

  • In 2008 I learned a helluva lot about myself and the state of the agile nation. I am entering 2009 better educated and more aware of the issues which can only make me better prepared to recognise and solve some of them.

  • I had nowhere near enough fun last year. It was far too serious, filled with destructive conflict and injury instead. So I fully intend to make 2009 a better year - both at work and in my personal life.
So here's to a happy and prosperous New Year packed full of learning, delivering top quality software, and fun, regardless of what the current economic situation throws at us. Cheers!