What a difference a month can make!

A month ago, I resigned from a contract as a project manager tracking about 50 projects. It was rote, shallow, and lacked the depth I longed for.

A month ago, I worked from home, from my apartment in Braga, and sat on my duff for about 8-9 hours a day. My colleagues ‘lived’ via Slack, Skype, Zoom, and my headset. It lacked the physical movement and human interaction I longed for.

A month ago, I spent most of my days in our newly-remodeled Braga apartment, enjoying my husband’s awesome cooking, sleeping by his side, and not doing much travelling. This has changed, too.

A month ago, I was tracking projects, but not providing any coaching, mentoring, team facilitation, or training, nor much problem-solving. I was longing for more.

And in the last month, all of that has changed.

I’ve taken a new contract with a Lisbon-based team as scrum master and agile coach. I’m back to loving my days at work.

I am no longer considered part of an ‘IT factory’. I am valued as the creative coach, agile thinker, and problem-solver that I am. I live most of the week in a super-tiny apartment in Belem, an old neighborhood just outside Lisbon. I travel most weekends back to Braga to enjoy the comforts of home. I took a certification class on agile coaching, and learned a lot more about professional coaching, the art of asking questions. I facilitate team decisions. I offer reporting options to our team manager and product owner, and then set up those reports via our tools. I explain agile principles and the scrum framework as the team and the stakeholders (most still working in a planned and waterfall world) learn to think, plan, and deliver working software and create a constant flow. I learned how to navigate the trains, trolleys, trams, and buses of Lisbon in rush-hour traffic. My Portuguese business now has a revenue stream, I have an accountant, and I pay into the Portuguese Social Security system. I am deeper into our one product and project, I have the physical movement I desired, I enjoy the human connection in my close-knit team of about 10. And I dance through the days with a blend of coaching, facilitation, teaching, mentoring, and a bit of cheerleading.

What a difference a month can make.

And… there will be more changes to come. Perhaps I’m thriving on change… agile living…the energy of learning and adapting, meeting new people, back into corporate IT delivery. Sometime in late September or early October, the client company to which I’m contracted will probably complete the acquisition process, and be melded into the company that is buying them. No one knows yet what the end result will be, but I know that things will change.

It is unlikely that I’ll remain with this client after that, so I have just a few months to make a difference in the lives of my team members. Our team’s ‘north star goal’ is to deliver a software product that will be valuable to the new company. For me, my own ‘north star’ is to improve their skills, their ability to think in agile ways, their teamwork skills – to inspire them to be innovative and to help each of them to find success in whatever their next future brings.

That’s me…. the coach.

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