Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The Next Stage (New Job)

Goodbye Email, Hello Delivery.

After a quiet period, the final piece of the puzzle was hastily shoved into place yesterday. I knew it was coming, I had even tried to put some writing on the wall for others, but then all of the sudden I got a text message at 10:45 saying it had to be ASAP because it had to come before another announcement later that day.

Last week we told my web team that they would be transitioning to a peer manager within our group who also had a web team. That puts the entire web team together under one roof. One crowded roof.

At that same time, it was announced that I would be heading up a newly formed team. (Right on the heels of one of the key participants announcing that instead of joining us he was instead leaving the organization and country.)

So, yeah, anyhow, shortly after 11 am yesterday we called my email team together and broke the news - they, too, would be transitioning to new management. I think they took it better than me. They said some nice things about me and then everyone went back to their desks and I thought "My goodness, what have I done???"

This marks the sixth post-college position that no one else has ever put on a business card (mine still say "Email Production Manager" but I have enough to last until retirement, I think) of the nine jobs I've held. I kind of like those numbers - it says that people have taken a risk on me, and since in many cases a new position of leadership was created, that says to me that they recognized potential to bring me up and give me a greater opportunity without waiting for something to come up through attrition or someone else's promotion. (In one case I was actually the first person even hired not counting the founders.)

But, yes, what have I done? I'm going to have to come up to speed quickly. I have a really small but passionate team and it will be my job to learn from them and to focus that passion like a laser beam. There's a lot we want to do, but only three objectives matter for the six-month assessment as to whether this was the right organizational design or if more adjustments will be needed.

Our team is part of the "Development & Delivery" group. We've focused a lot these past few years on delivery - becoming more agile, working to ship quality quickly. And our larger department has focused on customer service - getting to the heart of what our internal customers truly need to be successful (not always what they ask for) and finding priority in a reality where there's always more to do than time to get to all of it.

So now our team will turn its focus to Delivery. We'll manage product releases, participate in Business Analysis and Quality Assurance Testing and act as Business Owners for "non-functional" requirements like security, monitoring, analytics & attribution, documentation, maintenance & sustainability. Done right, we'll help our developers spend more time developing and our customer service team spending more time with customers. We'll develop scripts and automate builds. And we'll create new methods of monitoring our systems and proactively getting our attention if a problem is developing. And maintain the tools to do all that. Oh, and fill open positions on our team.

But after working with email for seven years here and as a minor piece of my job and the place before here for a few years, it's bittersweet. I think we've accomplished something great. But I also have no doubt that seven years is a large imprint. I think I will have imparted some good stuff, but at the same token, there may have been some things that were less than optimal or were good for a time but now not so much. This will be a great opportunity to cast those aside and make some history of their own.

Buckle up - here we go.
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