Today’s my 42nd birthday, and I have a lot to reflect on.
As the CEO of a software development firm, I’ve had the privilege of being involved in digital transformation (DX) projects for organizations large and small for almost 20 years. In that time, I’ve assumed many roles — champion, product owner, architect, developer, project manager, engagement manager, and business developer. In these roles, I am proud to have played a significant part in many successful projects.
However, in that time I have also seen my fair share of failures.
Indicators of Project Success (and Failure)
Through these experiences — good and bad — I’ve identified specific patterns and trends that drive both the short- and long-term success of software development projects, be they small apps or enterprise-wise business web apps.
Whether it’s proper test planning, iterative rollouts of software, proper parallel runs or engaged user reps early in the process, there are specific, actionable steps that result in positive outcomes. These elements — and many more we’ve studied and implemented over the years — form the backbone of our digital transformation philosophy.
Applying Development Lessons to Real Life
Digital transformation is loosely defined as:
the use of new, fast and frequently changing digital technology to solve problems – Wikipedia
In August 2016, I sought to apply what I had learned from years of planning and implementing digital transformations methods to another kind of transformation project. One that would result in my personal development.
Three years ago today, I turned 39 years old. I was walking up the stairs when I realized my knees were really hurting… and then out of the blue, it hit me – I am a hot mess and I’m going to be 40 in a year: I was 100 pounds overweight, working 70 hours per week, smoking like a chimney, and constantly worried to the point that I needed Ambien on an almost daily basis.
While I had a successful software development company, I certainly didn’t feel like a success. I felt empty and anxious. I was burnt out and exhausted.
I knew it was time to make a change. I needed more than a quick fix. Surface-level changes – temporary diets, new workout fads, etc. – weren’t going to cut it this time.
It was time to reprogram myself in order to tap into my full potential and experience authentic success along with a deep sense of fulfillment.
When I started Susco, I invested heavily in educating myself because I wanted to gain a deep understanding of business fundamentals and professional software development. I actively sought mentors, participated in the Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s (EO) Accelerator program and read a ton of seminal business and software development books, from “Good to Great” to “Joel on Software.” I applied each new piece of wisdom to my business, without attachment to the way I did things in the past.
I followed the same methodology for my personal transformation.
I found mentors in the form of trainers and peers who were successful and fulfilled. I used my time in my EO Forum to focus on personal growth. I read voraciously — from “Man’s Search for Meaning” and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Total Recall” to “Tools of Titans” and everything in between.
One by one, I applied these new “processes” to my life – early morning workouts, reading instead of watching TV, daily gratitude and goal setting, meditation, and intermittent fasting.
More than three years have passed since then, and I’m thrilled to share that my personal transformation (PX) project has been a resounding success!
- I’m at a healthy sustainable weight
- I’ve quit smoking,
- I generally work no more than 50 hours per week,
- and I sleep like a baby.
- Best of all, I’ve managed to find happiness in the now, while still actively pursuing aggressive professional and personal goals.
If I had to credit one thing that’s carried me through this journey, it’s the fact I really honed in on my “WHY,” which is to help people live more fulfilling lives.
Whether we’re creating intuitive software for people to use to help perform their jobs or I’m sharing methods that facilitate personal and professional growth, I know each day that I’m fulfilling my purpose by improving the lives of others.
As I was going through this personal growth process, I began incorporating some of the principles and practices into our methodologies at Susco. This led to a series of important breakthroughs in the way we lead, coach, communicate with clients and execute our work.
I began to see and understand the many parallels that exist between digital transformation and personal transformation. Growth in one area made me much more effective in the other.
Just as humans are systems made of cells, businesses are systems made of people. They both require a deep understanding of their inner workings, daily maintenance, proper planning, measurement, and iteration.
After experimenting with these processes for a while, I eventually developed a framework for success, and I feel compelled to share with you what I’ve learned along the way.
Introducing a new content series: The Intersection of Digital + Personal Transformation.
My goal in this series is to help break down barriers in how we perceive problem-solving.
We’re going to explore how leveraging paradigms in digital transformation can yield massive breakthroughs in personal transformation and vice versa.
Here are some of the stories I’ll be sharing in the coming months:
- The Power of “Why”
- Too Much Too Soon Always Fails
- Monitor. Measure. Repeat.
- Common Pitfalls in Allocating Enough Time & Money
- Defining Stakeholder Engagement
- Are You Willing to Make Difficult Decisions?
- Old Habits Die Hard
Want to give me the best birthday present ever?
If you know someone who might enjoy this story and others like it, please take a moment to share this article with them. You never know, it may impact the way they view digital or personal transformation.
Be well and live on purpose!
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