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Proper tea has been replaced by a coffee cup to properly anonymize individuals.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.

By the time I'm done, everyone should have the chance to 1) play with Legos and/or 2) blog.

<Insert Bill Pullman ID4 speech or Aragorn at the Black Gate>
FT1ntegration team members started the initial integration and connectors work, helped support the Unified Delivery Platform by containerizing add-ons for Cloud and supporting updates to prescriptive personalization, and even did some early exploratory work on the next User Interface update.

We also continued on a few already-started quality initiatives such as more unit, functional, and UI test automation and my favorite, a testing BluePrint example so large we just do a database restore to set it up because a Content Port would take too long.

It was great being in a focused agile team again, negotiating priorities, trying to guard time for proper innovation, and working with our various stakeholders.

Trading in the Dream for the Vision

But with a change in staff, Sites 9 around the corner, and the "Beyond 9" User Interface announced (parts 1 and 2, feedback welcome!), we had a chance to reorganize with the following arrangement  and no shadowy figure needed:
  1. "My" team disbands to strengthen other teams
  2. I join a new team working on the Tridion DX Graphene implementation
This new "job" combines the Product Owner role I've been growing into plus much-needed Business Analysis, which I've never really stopped since I first earned the title a decade ago.

So with that, I pass on the Donut, knowing that plans for integration, personalization, and quality are in good hands. And I put on a POBA hat to follow agile practices to kickstart a modern UI, infused with everything I know about customer implementations but validated against customer scenarios and feedback. Design. Build. Validate. Rinse. Repeat.

Funny how the MidasRule works out. I think we're not done yet, better give it another "2-3 years."

POBA is a joke of sorts because though titles are important to maturing a craft, your (individual) title doesn't matter as much as getting the work the done.

I've joked I was the Donut Product Owner because I got to work with everything surrounding the... core CMS. Okay, maybe that joke didn't make much sense either.

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