Although we have a bit of time left in 2013, my work for the year is almost done. Next year brings a completely different adventure. First though, are some reflections for this year.

A bit of a blur

My year was punctuated with many short engagements and events. I definitely did not have a regular schedule, but I did have a good amount of restorative time. My consulting engagements came dotted through speaking engagements, the latter which I had tried to reduce to a good level compared to 2012. The short consulting engagements often involved navigating a new organisation, collecting enough information to provide advice most suitable for their context.

I appreciated these engagements as it often meant working with really experienced people I don’t normally get to work with during other engagements, and I really enjoyed the debates about what might be the “next steps” that organisation could take to address their problem effectively. At the same time, I less enjoyed building relationships with a lot of new people for such short periods because I found it really drains me (and my memory for names seems to get worse and worse). It makes it worthwhile though, if I know that their environment could improve for the better.

Lots of travel

Naturally with so many different shifts both for clients and for conferences, I found myself travelling a lot this year. One week I remember being in London, Manchester, Hamburg and Rome before returning to London. With another client, it was three cities across three weeks back to back. I found myself returning to Dublin for a client, only to be impressed by how much more “continental” the city felt but you are still guaranteed an Irish pub around the corner.

I also found myself in Brazil for the first time (twice!), a beautiful country but one where the lack of public infrastructure is staggering. Fortunately the reliance on taxis for transportation was definitely made up by the friendliness of the Brazilian people.

The Retrospective Handbook in Print

I have been very happy with the reception to the book, “The Retrospective Handbook”, I published last year. People told me how it’s really helped and improved their retrospectives. Totally worth the time.

I spend time making the electronic copies available as print, and I can now physically give away copies (or you can buy them here on amazon!) There’s still time to gift it to someone before the new year 😉

Keynote for Agile Brazil

I also felt very humbled to give the opening keynote to Agile Brazil, a 1000+ person conference this year held in the country’s capital city Brasilia. It warms my heart to see the ideas prospering around the world. I wrote a new talk, “Agile: Unlocking our human potential” with the goal of inspiring people to engage for the rest of the conference.

The video was recently published online too:

Unlocking the human potential – Patrick Kua from Agile Brazil on Vimeo.

Plans for next year: Berlin in 2014

As I hinted previously, 2014 will be completely different from previous years. I intend on taking a break from work, partly because of a (generous) 12 week sabbatical period ThoughtWorks offers employees after a long tenure. My plans are to move to Berlin for year, with my only goal being to speak/write German fluently. I depart British shores early next year where I will start with an intensive language course involving at least 30 hours a week of study.

For people who I know in Berlin (Hallo!) but I hope to avoid speaking too much English for the first part of the year.

Dafür wir können uns treffen wenn wir nur auf Deutsch sprachen.

I intend to write less on this blog, and to spend more time (deliberate practice!) on a German one I have set up here.