Some Key Lessons Learned in 2020

Last year (end of 2019) I started the practice of an end of year personal review and noticing how good it is for self reflection, decided to make it a staple of every New Year cycle, part as an improvement exercise and part of a rite of passage as well.

This is a summarized and aggregated reflection taken out of some of the notes jotted down throughout 2020 during my journaling practice, where I summarize my monthly and quartertly experiences and learning. Reflection and self understanding are such key parts of everyone personal growth and sharing is also part of that cycle to get perspective

Without any further ado, these are the most important things I learned in 2020

Reading books is the most effective way to change your perspective about things

The Kindle Oasis that I got on October 17, 2020 has changed my reading habits forever. I was in the Kobo ecosystem for 10 years and decided to try Kindle this year, and found a much needed and renewed passion for books and text consumption. Like everything, the newness factor will wear out in time but for now I am enjoying reading at least one or two books a week. And this has put so many new ideas and concepts in my head. Not every book is worth reading, not everything in a book is worth reading but the only way to find out is … by reading them! I was looking for this kind of insights for years and my final attempt was by binging YouTube videos. Only to find out that coming back to books was the answer I already knew from the beginning.

Journaling is Key for Self Reflection

Once I started to see the benefits that come with the disciplined practice of Journaling, there is no way to go back. This journey of exploration into different methods started in July 2019 first with the Best Self Journal. Further in 2019 I got to experiment more with the Bullet Journal Method in a regular notebook and also got to customize some of it. Throughout 2020 I journaled regularly on paper and in the final quarter also got to experiment a bit more by journaling digitally on OneNote with an iPad and Apple Pencil. Although still not sure which method is the best, doing it in any shape or form has tremendous benefits. Because you get to see the power of having “photographs” of your thoughts and brain that you can go back to in the weeks or months and even years after, re-read and reflect on; you will see your growth going from linear to exponential.

A Digital Productivity System is Key for High Perfomance Results

During some of the initial slow down during the first weeks of the pandemic, I decided to look inside and focus on understanding how to improve my personal productivity and organizational methods. And I found the P.A.R.A method from Tiago Forte, which has been a godsend to tame all the digital information most of us require to process, consume or discard every day. That paired with a refined approach to the Bullet Journal and a Digital note capturing and organizational system in OneNote have saved me and allowed me to keep my focus and mental sanity. All these has been also married with some of my own obsessions on self-quantification and self-metrics tracking and also provided me with numbers I can go back to and understand where have I spent most of the time in 2020 and with whom.

Consistency is always the key to not lose your Focus

Also to be fair, 2020 was not the best year to stay focused on any single thing with all the events that happened. But the main lesson learned here is that if you don’t have a system that allows you to register, remind and log your goals and habits (your memory doesn’t count as such system), the day-to-day will always eat up all the time available in your life. Having a constant reminder of what is your path, what you want and have to do, why you have to do it helps us staying consistent in the path that we set for ourselves in the times where we were clear and not overwhelmed by the daily grind.

Anything and everything can change in an instant

I think we have all experienced this in 2020, it was such a disruptive change of way of life that no one can ignore. On the first weeks of March I was on planes to Montreal, NY and Detroit, and 1 week later… I found myself locked down at home, and have not been able to go back to the previous rythm of life, ever againg (not yet at least). Nothing could have prepared us for what we have been through and also the speed of change.  We all somehow adapted, changed and survived to the single largest simultaneous global event in the history of Humanity.

Leadership to solve a problem requires having a different perspective

If you try to lead from the trenches, by rolling up your sleeves and working with your team like I did during some of 2020, you lose avery much needed strategic perspective. And it is also not fair to your team as you are not playing the role they need. The closer you are to a problem or to the tasks on a project, the more difficult it is to lead it with the tools and mindset required to look at it from a different viewpoint.

Coaching is about the Questions you ask and not about the People or the Problem

Similar to the perspective required for leadership, the only way to help others is to help them find their own solutions and not to provide solutions for them. The best way for this is coaching. Questions are the most important thing we can have to help others find their own professional or personal life. By asking some key questions, we can help others gain the perspective they sometimes cannot find within themselves and find the answers they need for the challenges they are facing. And there is nothing more fullfiling than connecting with others and to see them grow in the path that makes them fulfilled.

Como compilar aplicaciones para el Framework 1.1 desde Visual Studio 2005

Esta interesante herramienta (que aun no pude probar) llamada MSBee, permite utilizar MSBuild (el nuevo build manager de VS2005) para utilizar Visual Studio 2005 y compilar aplicaciones para .NET 1.1. Lo mejor de todo esto es que se pueden utilizar todas las ventajas del nuevo IDE (mi favorita es “Botón Derecho -> Refactor) en el desarrollo de aplicaciones que todavía por razones de compatibilidad o requerimientos del cliente, no pueden utilizar las ventajas del .NET Framework 2.0, que realmente son muchas.

Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1

Desde el nuevo mini-site creado por Microsoft “Visual Studio 2005: Servicing” se pueden leer todas las novedades respecto a los releases de .NET Framework y de Visual Studio. Es el sitio más indicado para bajar los últimos service packs, hot-fixes, y estar al tanto de las fechas de lanzamiento de próximos productos y versiones de toda la suite de herramientas de desarrollo.

Y aqui las primeras noticias en primicia exclusiva:

  • El Service Pack 1 para Visual Studio 2003 estará disponible durante el 2do cuatrimestre del 2006 (leer mas).
    Actualización: Una beta del SP1 de VS2003 estará disponible para fines de marzo.
  • El Service Pack 1 para Visual Studio 2005 estará disponible durante el 3er cuatrimestre del 2006 (leer mas).

Seis meses despues…

Es historia frecuente en (algunos) weblogs que pasan meses y no hay nuevos posts. Bueno, aqui también pasó. Aunque no hubiera querido que asi fuera, siempre surgen otros temas, lo urgente tapa lo importante, llámenlo como quieran. Espero poder volver a seguir con mis publicaciones relacionadas con .NET, sobre todo ahora que hay muchas (muchas) novedades con el nuevo Visual Studio 2005.

Visual Studio Team Foundation Server Versión Final en Marzo de 2006

Después de unos meses de impaciente espera, finalmente en marzo vamos a poder utilizar la versión final de Visual Studio Team Foundation Server.
Para aquellos que no lo conocen, este nuevo producto es la herramienta “servidor” de la suite de desarrollo de Microsoft. Además de reemplazar (y mejorar muchísimo) las funciones del Visual SourceSafe (para manejo de versiones y control de código fuente), agrega una serie de funciones que asisten en el desarrollo de proyectos de software: seguimiento de proyecto con Project y Excel, manejo de documentos con Sharepoint, compilacion automática de versiones, etc.

Hace unos meses intenté instalar una de las betas (creo que era Beta 2) y realmente fue muy complicado, tanto que al final me cansé y decidí esperar por una versión mas estable. Parece que el producto aun no estaba listo, y esa fue la razón por la que, en su momento, decidieron posponer el lanzamiento de la versión final, separándolo de toda la suite de productos está disponible desde el 7 de noviembre de 2005.

Ayer, durante el evento VS Live! 2006, se anunció el lanzamiento de la versión final para marzo, y aparentemente para el fin de esta semana va a estar disponible un Release Candidate, para ya poder empezar a probar las características de este interesante producto

TechEd 2005 para el resto de nosotros…

Acá están los webcasts de las sesiones mas interesantes del TechEd 2005. Y acá están las PPT de las presentaciones vinculadas con el Visual Studio 2005 Team System (es decir, temas mas relacionados con el nuevo Visual Studio y las nuevas capacidades que tiene para diseñar arquitecturas de software complejas, y administrar proyectos de desarrollo).

Mas novedades de Visual Studio 2005… para arquitectos !

Impresionantes las nuevas características de Visual Studio 2005 que se presentaron en el ISV Day de Microsoft el lunes pasado. Con algunos problemillas de por medio (y si, las betas siempre se guardan esa adrenalina que solo tiene la televisión en vivo) pudimos ver cosas que realmente son sorprendentes. La Visual Studio 2005 Team Architect Edition permite elaborar diagramas de arquitectura de las aplicaciones (por ejemplo, mostrando la relación entre un componente cliente winforms/web, un webservice, y una base de datos) y ver esta distribución relacionada directamente con el deployment que van a tener estos componentes sobre los servidores en producción. Parece mentira, pero la construcción de software cada vez más complejo se está haciendo muy común, y a su vez, asistida con herramientas de este tipo, cada dia veremos mas facilidades para la implementación de sistemas altamente distribuidos, entre plataformas diversas, que permitan manejar de manera abstracta conceptos muy complejos.