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Duffbert's Random Musings is a blog where I talk about whatever happens to be running through my head at any given moment... I'm Thomas Duff, and you can find out more about me here...

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From the Notes Migration Blog: Recent Notes/Domino Blog Posts, and Why I Care, But Not Really.

Category IBM/Lotus
Because of the immediacy of tweeting and/or facebooking (shoot me now, I just made FB a verb) articles, I don't often blog about specific posts or stories any longer.  But this one was just too good to pass up...

Recent Notes/Domino Blog Posts, and Why I Care, But Not Really.

I don't know the name or person behind this blog, but I've been following it for quite some time.  Their situation seems to mirror my own... long time Notes/Domino professional forced to move into a new technology, namely SharePoint.  There have been a number of posts I've liked for various reasons, but this one resonated deeply given my feelings over the latest tempest in the Lotus community over the last 48 hours.

Passions run deep when it comes to IBM(/Lotus?) collaboration software, and those of us who have been committed to it for years understand the value it brings to an organization.  It's also easy to shift from technical expert to emotional evangelist for the software (and that applies to *any* software), tying your identity, ego, and emotional well-being to a logo.  Vendors and bytes take on good vs. evil personas, and any questioning or dissent must be crushed so as to defend the truth.  

Yeah, I used to be there.  I now find that I've moved closer to here:

What it comes down to for me is that all of my work in Notes/Domino, SharePoint, and general web application development… it is all “just work” to me. But this was not always true.

I have found that tying my own ego to any technology is a very dangerous path. It adds stress to my life, and makes me get out of whack with the whole work/life balance concept. I used to be passionate about specific technology platforms, but at the end of the day, I ended up with a split personality — highly confident in my Domino skills, but fearful that I did not know other technologies, and lacking confidence in anything outside of the IBM realm.

On days when I'm not doubting myself (I have a handful of those days each year), I know this to be the truth:

Well, the truth is a nice middle ground – I am a competent programmer. I am competent in Notes/Domino, competent in .NET, competent on SharePoint, competent in Python, competent using HTML5 and CSS, and competent in JavaScript. I don’t claim competence anywhere else, but I am confident that I can learn if and when needed. And on some platforms, I am more than competent. But it doesn’t help me to focus my ego on that fact.

Not all of those initials and platforms apply in my case, but two of them do... Notes/Domino and SharePoint.

*THIS* is the value I want to deliver and be known for:

Instead, now that I am “over” the technology stack, I can actually care about the businesses I work with. I can stop fretting over tech, and start looking at what we are doing with it. And I can really listen to the needs of the business, and offer them a true consulting relationship, wherein I try to learn the business needs and drivers behind their technology, to offer them better solutions. Usually on whatever platform they already have, but also on migrations to new ones, when appropriate.

And frankly, I like it better this way. I feel more valuable, I feel like people listen more to what I have to offer, and I am able to truly engage in open, strategic discussions about what direction an IT shop should take with their technologies.

Yes, I want to be active in whatever software community(s) I'm working in.  Yes, I want to write about them.  Yes, I want to speak at conferences on them.  I want to be known as an approachable resource (dare I say "expert"?) that people can talk with.  The IBM/Lotus community taught me the value of that.  It's a great feeling.

What I *don't* want to feel any more is the constant "flight or flight" feeling when people reject my software of choice (and therefore reject me because I've tied my identity to it).  I don't want to worry about whether a vendor's strategic direction will negate everything I've stood for over the last decade.  What I don't want to do is claim that I am one of the few who know the truth, and that everyone else is living in a deluded fantasy.

Been there, done that... it's not healthy.

To whoever writes the Notes Migration blog, thank you so much for posting this.  I'm sorry I quoted so much of your post, but I couldn't say it any better.


Gravatar Image1 - That is a great post, thanks Tom.

A good technique for maintaining a sense of perspective (and reducing one’s tie to a single software platform) is simply to work full time with something else

—That and ignoring stupid tiffs in PlanetLotus.

(On that last point I must try harder Emoticon )

Gravatar Image2 - Great posts and comments_

(And I should ignore the tiffs too.)

Gravatar Image3 - No need to apologize for quoting me. I'm quite grateful that this particular post was appreciated. It took some time to figure out how to verbalize what I was thinking, and it is one of the most sincere posts I've written in quite some time. So my thanks to you for reading and sharing...

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Thomas "Duffbert" Duff

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