Zoals verwacht loopt alles anders

The goal of this blog was to post more things that interest me (hello 9 month hiatus 👋), improve my thinking process and write in English.

But the title is just too good in Dutch to leave it out. In English it would translate into something like:

As expected, everything turns out different

Plan 2016

At the end of 2016 I had a pretty good idea of what 2017 would have in store for me: the biggest personal project being our wedding (it was beyond awesome!). Work related I had a rebuild project of one of Elision’s oldest clients and had a pretty good idea of where I would like to go with my career within the company.

I didn’t have any other big goals in mind and would see where 2017 would take me. So far, 2017 is a year full of great surprises!

On a personal level

These things “just happened”:

  • joining a working group of ’t hART which is researching (symptoms of) burn-out within Generation Z (7-25 year olds now).
  • quit spinning/indoor cycling and replace it with crossfit. Yes, it’s as addicting as people say it is.
  • next to my weekly futsal game, I also joined a team that plays “cafévoetbal” on Sunday AM.

Career wise

I’m not entirely sure what’s different this year, but I guess I’m saying “yes” to even more stuff than I used to. This is creating awesome new opportunities.

A bit unexpected, I got in touch with the wonderful people at madewithlove. After talking and meeting with Andreas and his colleagues, it became clear that I shouldn’t let this opportunity slip. As of 16 August, I will join their team as a Product Manager! I’m super excited about this!

2017, I love you already, let’s make the rest of this year awesome as well!

Be the type of person you want to meet

I've had this screenshot on my desktop since 1 April 2016. It's taken from the Momentum extension for Chrome. Each day, it gives you another image and quote when you open a new tab.

So why this screenshot?

Last Friday I was talking to one of my best friends about how people seem to behave differently when you change job titles. Why is that? It's just a title, the person behind the title is still the same one you talked to yesterday. Yes, responsibilities might change and in a hierarchical organisation (yuk!) your relationship might change. But those aren't good reasons to behave in another way than you did before.

I take pride in being the same person day in, day out. I'm no different at work, than I am with family, friends, clients, strangers,... What you see is what you get! ;-)

To me this seems like the only way to stay true to your values and be authentic.

What person do I like to meet?

I like to hang out with people that:

  • are ambitious
  • are full of energy
  • radiate positive vibes
  • are happy
  • give back
  • keep their word

Next time you see me failing on any one of these, tell me, otherwise I'm not the kind of person I'd like to meet.

So how about you? What kind of person do you like meeting?

Hasselt Lean Coffee

On Tuesday I went to the Hasselt Lean Coffee Meetup at the Corda Bar (Hasselt). It proved to be a great evening with some smart people.

What's Lean Coffee?

It's a nice way to connect with likeminded people and discuss topics in your field.

From the Lean Coffee website:

Lean Coffee is a structured, but agenda-less meeting. Participants gather, build an agenda, and begin talking. Conversations are directed and productive because the agenda for the meeting was democratically generated.

What did I learn about?

  1. The concept of nemawashi: in our discussion it centered around changing a company's culture. You can't just pull the company from it's current culture and drop it into a new one. It takes some careful digging around the roots, before you transplant the tree.
  2. Coworking location Seats2meet: the idea is that you can book a workspace or meetingroom and share your knowledge with other people in the building. You can see what everyone in the building has to offer, and meet up for an informal talk and share some ideas. They only have one location in Belgium (if I'm correct), but it's definitely something I want to check out when I'm in the Netherlands.
  3. A lot of angles/concepts in how we approach agile working. The topics I proposed where: "How to approach Product Ownership at the client's side?" and "How to teach agile to people without prior knowledge or people just coming from school?"

When's the next meetup?

The next Hasselt Lean Coffee will be held on Tuesday 6 December 2016 - 19h00 at the Corda Bar (Hasselt). If you want to join, make sure to RSVP on meetup.com

Thanks Wim Bollen and Tim Pijpops for organizing these meetups, I'm definitely attending again.

Feedback

The idea for this post came to me when reading this article on Harvard Business Review.

This part made me reflect on how we do software development:

A core value at The Other Side Movers is “200% Accountability.” Meaning every employee is expected to be 100% accountable for the quality of their own work, AND 100% accountable for the quality of the work of everyone else they see. The quickest way to get in trouble at The Other Side Movers is not to fail on #1, but on #2.

If we really embrace this rule as a team, there's no escaping, you'll have to give/receive feedback at some point.

As a Scrum Master it's my job to make people aware of the importance of feedback. I often see two things happening:

  • Giving feedback: some people are hesitant of pointing something out if it involves a colleague. "What if I'm wrong or my colleague doesn't like what I'm saying?" Let me turn it around: What if you're right and you didn't point it out? This moment was a chance to improve and we didn't grab it.
  • Receiving feedback: some people feel threatened because they see feedback as a bad thing. Once you see it as an opportunity to learn, you'll grow much faster as a person.

How to give feedback?

The following steps should make giving feedback an opportunity to learn for both parties:

  1. Name (not judge!) the behaviour you're seeing, the moment you see it. If you wait too long, the behaviour will be forgotten and the message is not as strong. Talking about the behaviour, not the person, is key in this step.
  2. Tell the person how you interpret this kind of behaviour and what effect it might have on the team.
  3. Propose a new way of behaving in this situation and see if you both can agree.

Don't let emotion get in the way of providing feedback. By keeping it factual, there's a bigger chance that the recipient will accept the feedback.

One thing I liked this week #4

Netflix. I've been a subscriber since they launched in Belgium and haven't regretted it ever since. For € 9,99/month I can watch their entire library of films/series and they're constantly adding new and interesting stuff.

That's even less than one visit to Kinepolis: € 10,20 for a 2D movie!

Last weekend we enjoyed Steve Aoki's aptly named documentary "I'll sleep when I'm dead" and "Fury" starring Brad Pitt.

When we have more time, we'll definitely be watching:

  • Stranger things
  • Narcos (Season 2, releasing 2 September)