Scott's Weblog The weblog of an IT pro specializing in cloud computing, virtualization, and networking, all with an open source view

Looking Back: 2016 Project Report Card

As I’ve done for the last few years, in early 2016 I published a list of my planned personal projects for the year. In this post, I’d like to look back on that list of projects and grade myself on my progress (or lack of progress, if that is the case). Even though 2016 isn’t over yet, it’s close enough to the end of the year that things won’t change that much before 2017 is upon us.

For reference, here’s the list of planned 2016 projects:

  1. Complete a new book (again)
  2. Make more open source contributions
  3. Expand my knowledge and use of Python
  4. Expand my knowledge, use, and focus on public cloud services
  5. Complete a “wildcard project”

Let’s look at each of these planned projects and see how I fared.

  1. Complete a new book (again): Well—in the spirit of total honesty and transparency—this was a major failure. Not only did I fail to complete the network automation book I’ve been working on with Matt Oswalt and Jason Edelman, but the other book project I had planned also did not go anywhere. Granted, the circumstances preventing the second book project were outside my control, but the fact remains I still did not get a new book published this past year. Grade: F

  2. Make more open source contributions: This is another area I continue to struggle. While I make “contributions” (in a very loose sense of the word) to various open source projects through blogging and education, it’s still not the same. In 2016, I made zero contributions to any significant open source project. Shame on me. Grade: F

  3. Expand my knowledge and use of Python: I certainly did not make the progress I had hoped to make this past year, but I did make progress. I’m finding I’m able to “decipher” Python code more easily than in the past, but I still have a great deal of learning ahead of me. Naturally, as you can imagine based on the my evaluation so far, I did not make the stretch goal. Grade: D

  4. Expand my knowledge, use, and focus on public cloud services: Here, finally, I feel like I’ve made some reasonable progress. I focused on AWS this past year, mostly because they are considered the “leader” in public cloud services. (Whether they remain there is, of course, the subject of quite a bit of debate among the “clouderati.”) Over the course of the year, I generated 24 blog posts sharing what I’ve learned along the way. I now feel much more comfortable with architecting solutions on AWS. There’s still lots to learn, of course. I did not make the stretch goal of achieving a certification of some sort. Grade: C

  5. Complete a “wildcard project”: As was the case last year, assessing my performance here is challenging. I don’t have a clear “stand out” wildcard project this year like I did last year. There are lots of little things: I continued to make contributions to my “learning-tools” repo, including expanding support to other virtualization providers; I took on a couple first-time VMUG speakers as mentees; I helped track down and verify a few bugs in some open source projects (but didn’t contribute code to fix the bugs); and I continued to support the VMUG community through numerous appearances at VMUG UserCon events worldwide. These are all fine things to have accomplished, but none of them stands out as a “wildcard project” to me. Grade: D

So, in summary: pretty awful! Yes, there were some bright spots over the course of the year, but I failed to achieve almost all of the goals/milestones I’d set for myself at the start of the year. As I mentioned earlier, I suppose some slack is due since some of these were affected by circumstances outside my control; however, the fact remains that I did not make the progress on these projects that I’d hoped/planned to make.

The most appropriate thing to do now is ask myself some hard questions:

  • Why didn’t I make the progress I wanted to make?
  • What things—technological or otherwise—stood in my way?
  • How can I address these issues in the coming year?

Times like these can be times of growth, if approached correctly, and I want to be sure to learn as much as I can from this review of the past year’s (lack of) progress. In the next few weeks, I’ll use whatever I learn as I plan for 2017’s projects. Once those projects are ready to be shared, I’ll share them here as I have in the past.

While there may be a couple more blog posts before 2017 arrives, I’d like to take this moment and thank everyone for taking the time to visit the site and read my posts over the last year. Thanks for making 2016 a great year, and here’s looking forward to a great 2017!

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