Midas Rule

As a new customer, I remember asking my first Tridion trainer the difference between an Embedded Schema and a regular Schema ten years ago.

As a new implementer, I remember creating my first Schema(s) and the reaction of my editorial team when they finally had control over their content library a few months later. No more requests to IT to deploy something to Staging to then re-approve on Live!

They eventually explained to me that, "No, we don't publish to Staging. We just publish to Live and fix anything if there's a problem."

As a new consultant, I remember my colleague asking me how I knew all the "best practices." I had four years of experience with the product by then and a few years "managing" content before that.

As a new Product Manager, I remember telling another colleague four years after that, "well, Tridion doesn't work that way." He reminded me that we could change it.

After a decade in the industry and about 13 years in IT, I'm also realizing I'm not so "new" anymore. :-)

Now as a Product Owner for the DX Suite, I'm remembering last week's demo where dozens of UI improvements were implemented in a sprint for the new Graphene User interface (due after Sites 9.1) as well as a "yass!" reaction from an editor to some small, but significant page editing improvements for Tridion Sites 9.

And today I'm letting the Tridion Docs content model slowly sink into my brain after a great session with our lead technical writer.

By the Midas Rule, many of my colleagues and I were not the first to touch this software, nor will we be the last. But we do care enough to be proper stewards of the previous vision, while we work on forging a new one... in Graphene. ;-)

Passing on the Donut

It's already (only) been 2 years since the move to the Netherlands and I'm saying goodbye as the Donut Product Owner and Hello as a POBA.

After joining SDL Professional Services in 2011, moving from my hometown of San Diego to San Jose and meeting many great Tridionauts from across the pond, my original dream was to learn even more about our other products and our customers at the "Tridion Mothership" for at least 2-3 years. Before that, I wondered if I could do Tridion at least part-time.

However, we already had a great Functional Consultant in Amsterdam while at the same time Product Development had an opening for either a Business Analyst or Product Manager with a chance for to focus on the User Interface.

So I thought of course! Coincidentally, one of the interview questions when I first applied to SDL was what might I be interested in doing beyond consulting. My answer was something like:
"Training or maybe development (well not as a developer, but rather, perhaps, maybe... as part of the development team?)."
Getting the job was like being that Excel geek that gets a job with Microsoft.

That first year was about understanding Dutch home/work culture, learning even more about customers, and even changing work culture through new roles and processes while continuing to share, but from within development.


I also had a chance to work with (in) the Translation Manager team for a bit before kicking off the Second Year with even more product add-ons.

Though we started with the safe and boring Team 1/Team 2 format, by #MidasRule, I dubbed our team, "FT1ntegrations" and also brought Legos to the office, to umm... emphasize the metaphor that we connect modular pieces of software. Yeah.

Proper tea has been replaced by a coffee cup to properly anonymize individuals. No, my colleagues aren't actually Minifigs.

Three Little Pigs

There is a story about agile practices and 3 little pigs. This is not that story.

There were three little pigs who wanted to live somewhere near wolves for some inexplicable reason. Astro Naught the Pig planned to make a design that had a plan for a two-story brick house. A. Gile planned to make a wooden single-story house and would iterate, not increment, on the design to make a great home. Scrappy wanted to face the wolf but only had a straw budget.

Day 1

Astro Naught had designed the ultimate house-designing plan designer and had his first prototyped brick when the Wolf appeared.

The wolf bellowed, "I'm going to..." but Astro threw the brick at the wolf's head and ran to his neighbor. The Wolf scampered away.

Day 2

Astro and A. Gile were having dinner in a single-story wood-framed house when the Wolf appeared at the front door.

The wolf knocked and demanded, "Let me in, let me in, little piggies!" But then he noticed the walls were not quite complete and he was able to slip into the house between some unfinished planks.

The two pigs squealed and ran away into the night in different directions, leaving the Wolf alone, disappointed, and hungry.

Day 3

Hungry and tired from chasing the first two pigs, the Wolf spied the small straw hut of Scrappy Pig.

"Now's my chance!" he thought as he started running to the small house.

As he huffed and puffed from the sprint, he entered the already-open front entrance. It wasn't quite a door, because... straw. Suddenly the straw floor gave out from under him and he fell into a fairly deep trap hole made by Scrappy Pig.

Scrappy Pig continued to solve harder and harder problems until he was renowned and praised for business books like The Way of the Straw and The Night the Wolf Fell.

The Morale of the Story

Iterative designs are good. But not when there is a Wolf at the door. A perfect, expensive architecture is great, but not when you don't have time.

The pig that wins is the one that creatively makes do with what it has, focusing on the biggest problem first. It also helps to be lucky enough that the Wolf didn't appear on the very first day.*

*Successful people work hard. But not all hard work is rewarded by success.

Care to read more? Try sausage.

Thanks to the kids and BSMSO for helping inspire and revise the story of Astro Naught, A. Gile, and Scrappy. Credit to Joel Spolsky for "Architecture Astronauts." I'm not sure if he coined the phrase, but I first learned about it from his blog. I muddle his point on abstractions of abstractions, but couldn't resist the pun.

Getting Started with SDL Tridion Sites Community in 2018

If you’re new or haven’t seen them in a while, here are some great places to (re)start with the SDL Tridion Sites Community:

  1. The SDL Tridion Sites group on SDL Community, especially the Developers group if you’re technical (start with Jan Horsman's Community Review posts).
  2. The SDL AppStore for extensions and the community-created Alchemy Web Store.
  3. Tridion Stack Exchange for Q&A from the implementer community
  4. Blogger or Wordpress to start or revisit an old blog.
  5. TridionDeveloper.com if you want to blog with other Tridionauts, but outside of SDL (not my first preference, but no problem for externals)
  6. Consider attending or presenting (again) at the Tridion Developer Summit.
The hardest part of participating in the community is realizing you have something to contribute and then giving yourself permission to share.

The second hardest part is doing it again. :-)