Reflection 1

Do you know the feeling that some four weeks after you finish a project you get that moment of reflection. You decide what you have learned, what you seriously never need to do ever again, or just be amazed at how things came and went and in the end there is something there but you are still amazed it is.

The last days I had this feeling about a portal project I did this winter and finished end of May. I originally titled this topic “portals from hell” but that is a bit dramatic. I might explain in more detail at some other stage, but lets just summarize the project with an architecture based on a Non-XHTML CMS as backend, a Backbase Portal front-end and IE6 support (+ some evils like nested iframes, iframe’s as modals, state management, progressive enhancement, click-, submit- and navigation-interception) and you’ll probably get an impression.

A ‘Software Engineer’ would probably state we delivered low quality using little design patterns, series of hacks and just basically screwed up. A front-end scripter might just run away at the first sight of the complexities we introduced trying to solve the simplest concepts. An architect would just say we need more architecture. And even a sane project manager (sorry Robin) would have stepped out in the first stage. And still.

In the end the people person might just note that the project was one of passion. Passion to succeed and a drive to make even the impossible possible. Strengthened by my experience within a recent bid where we had a passionate team as well I think there are just three key elements to a successful effort: people, passion and vision.
Leadership is one I am hesitant to add, because it is too hard to define is too ambiguousness and has too many books written on the topic – I read only two, which where useful, but I learned just recently from TED Rotterdam that the best ideas might actually come from complete isolation. Where is this going? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll try and post some more when I find my natural leadership and the key to repeatable success.

For now I just decided to go with the people person camp and imagine the project is just a once in a lifetime gem of complete evilness turning into beauty following our combined sheer passion.

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