It’s been a little more than a year since I joined Playdom, so I figured I should collect my thoughts about how it’s gone so far and get ideas about what I might want my next year to look like. Looking back, it’s kind of amazing how many different things I’ve done over that last year; it’s certainly been a lot of fun!

Things I’ve liked:

  • Great teammates: I’ve been on two teams here, and quite enjoyed being a part of both groups.
  • Having what I do make a difference in somebody else’s life in a matter of days or even hours; a huge change from my last job.
  • Being able to talk to people on the business side about what I’m doing, showing them the current state and asking for (and responding to!) feedback.
  • Learning technologies I wasn’t previously familiar with: JavaScript, a bit of ActionScript, a bit of Hadoop. And getting a chance to put a CSS Zen approach to concrete use, too.
  • Tools supporting agile programming: getting to use an IDE with refactoring support; using a mocking framework.
  • Brushing up on Java isn’t a bad idea, though not inherently exciting; at least it helps reduce my risk of being pigeonholed as a C++ guy.
  • Doing front-end work; I love getting to work with what our artists create.
  • Being a programmer instead of a manager.
  • Working with games; getting back to playing board games regularly.
  • Deepening my appreciation of testing by looking at business metrics.
  • Getting experience with growing a successful product.

I could probably write one or more blog posts about each of those; lots of great experiences, in retrospect it’s a bit hard to believe all that happened over one year! But that’s last year, what do I want out of next year?

More exposure to new technologies would be nice, though I imagine the rate there will slow down. Still, there are some possibilities: I imagine I’ll get more familiar with ActionScript, I might get exposed to Lua. (And I might get more exposed to PHP, though I can’t say that I’m excited about that.) Might get to learn more about data scaling ideas, too.

Helping add significant new features to an existing game has been rather interesting, and I’m glad I did it. On the flip side, though, I’d like to work on a new game at some point, to get a better feel for the tradeoffs that are relevant there.

And then there are teams and roles. I’d been a manager on a team where we had some agile theory but had a hard time putting it into practice, especially on the business side. It’s been nice being a non-manager, and having a much tighter turnaround for the customers and customer proxies.

Ideally, I’d like to be on a team merging some of my previous experience with the virtues of my recent experience. Adding a bit more agile theory (and lean theory) to what we’re doing at Playdom would help, I think, but not at the cost of losing the virtues of our current approach. And the more the team (broadly conceived, of course, not just the programmers) works as empowered individuals evolving a common creative vision, the better. (I don’t want to be a manager, but I don’t want to be told what to do by a manager, either!)

Good times past; looking forward to good times future.

Post Revisions:

This post has not been revised since publication.