The lull: and breathe

I love this bit of the year at work. It’s the lull.

In software (even in our supposed “agile” development approach) we have one big release a year. We work towards it for the whole preceding year and once it’s done (or at least into the QA end game and then handed over to fulfillment) it’s nice and quiet.

The dev teams (including me, a tech writer) have to wait while the marketing and project managers decide what to focus on for next year.

So we can get on with house keeping. Catch up on maintenance we hadn’t squeezed in during the last few months of feature development. Do pet projects. Try innovations. Collaborate or learn new technologies.

I love it.

I sit at my desk in the morning and instead of looking at a huge “to do” list of things that need doing, or problems or informations requests. Instead, I sit and think “what do I feel like doing today?”

Sounds lazy and luxurious, right? Unfocused? Like there isn’t enough work?

No. This period of a couple of weeks of lull is really important for us. Mentally we need a break after the last few very busy weeks. We also need the space to think and innovate. Also to take stock and look back at what we did well and what needs improving next year.

It’s brilliant. I’m writing lists, trying stuff out, mopping up colleagues’ overflow where they’re still in the chaotic end of their releases – fun to do something different, thinking about new things to try, sticking my fingers in pies that are nothing to do with me. It’s re-energising for the next 11 months until the next release.

Maybe we should take this sort of pause from time to time in more aspects of our lives? I’d like to pause parenting from time to time and think about what we do, how we do it, what’s best and what we should stop.

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