Looking Forward to the Next Twelve Months

One of my favorite singers/songwriters is Jimmy Buffett. If the name isn’t familiar, you’ve almost certainly heard at least his song Margaritaville. There’s an even better song on that same album (yes, it was originally an album and I am old enough to have owned it on vinyl). The song is Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes.

On this song, Jimmy sings,

I took off for a weekend last month
Just to try and recall the whole year.
All of the faces and all of the places,
wonderin’ where they all disappeared.
I didn’t ponder the question too long;
I was hungry and went out for a bite.
Ran into a chum with a bottle of rum,
and we wound up drinkin’ all night.

Although no one showed up with a bottle of rum last night (where are friends when you need them?), I did take some time off this weekend to “try and recall the whole year.” I had a birthday this weekend (as did my wife; we were born one day apart) so I felt entitled to a little nostalgic recollection over the year. Wow—what a year it’s been. We've definitely seen agile project management methodologies cross over and become of interest to mainstream organizations. Even better, agile is definitely viewed as a viable alternative to heavier weight processes. Three years ago I used to get a lot of calls for consulting work that started with, “Can you help assess whether agile would be a good fit for us? We're considering using it on a small pilot project.” In trying to recall the whole year, I didn’t get a single call like this. Instead, this year the calls I got were more like the one from Chris at Salesforce.com.

Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes:

Reading departure signs in some big airport
Reminds me of the places I’ve been.
Visions of good times that brought so much pleasure.
Makes me want to go back again.

Good times that brought so much pleasure, indeed. I have the most wonderful job in the world. I get to work with people and organizations who are making positive changes. They’re changing their jobs, their companies, and our entire profession. I cannot thank my many clients enough for allowing me the opportunity to help you, learn from you, and be part of your successes. I want to also thank anyone who reads my books and articles, attends conference sessions, or whom I meet other ways. It is such an honor that you look to me for insights and advice. I take that responsibility very seriously and always try to respond with the best advice I can.

Jimmy again:

I think about Paris when I'm high on red wine,
I wish I could jump on a plane.
And so many nights I just dream of the ocean.
God, I wish I was sailin’ again.

I did make it to Paris for a trip last fall. What a beautiful city—just like all the other great places I had the opportunity to travel this past year: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Columbus, Dallas, Denver,Helsinki, London, Minneapolis, Orange County, Orlando, Oslo, Phoenix, Portland, Rockville, St. Louis, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle/Tacoma, and Washington. On the other hand, Jimmy’s right and at nights I do dream of the ocean. I grew up in Huntington Beach, California. I don’t know what someone who loves the ocean is doing living in Denver, but I really do like it here.

Jimmy wraps up with:

Yesterdays are over my shoulder,
So I can't look back for too long.
There's just too much to see waiting in front of me,
and I know that I just can't go wrong

It’s exciting to think about what the coming year holds for agile software development and for those doing it. While the changes agile has made have been tremendous, there so much room for more. Think of all the projects and companies that haven’t yet started and that could benefit from a shift toward agile. The last year has been wonderful and busy. The next will be even better. Hopefully I find time to do more than dream of the ocean and do take time off for sailing.




About the Author

As the founder of Mountain Goat Software, Mike Cohn specializes in helping companies adopt and improve their use of agile processes and techniques to build extremely high-performance teams. He is the author of User Stories Applied for Agile Software Development, Agile Estimating and Planning, and Succeeding with Agile. Mike is a founding member of the Agile Alliance and Scrum Alliance. He is also the founder of FrontRowAgile.com, an online agile training website. He can be reached at info@mountaingoatsoftware.com or connect with Mike on Google+.