There were a number of blog posts in the past 36 hours that made it clear that people feel very strongly about Lotus Notes/Domino, where it is going, what people should or should not be sharing, and how it impacts everyone involved.
And while I respect the positions presented, if not always the tone, it reminded me of why I distanced myself emotionally from the Notes community a very long time ago. Transition is difficult for most people – more difficult than they realize. No matter how adaptable you think you are, when it comes down to it, almost everyone struggles with change. And Notes/Domino is all about change these days:
- Some think it is dying, and people are going to SharePoint.
- Some think it is moving towards XPages, and you must learn Java and figure out how to modernize your apps.
- Some think IBM is slowly pushing people towards other products.
There are surely other opinions out there as well, but those are the three I hear most often. I don’t hear of anyone who thinks it is stagnant. Its direction may be in question, but not its motion.
There are also career transitions going on, which came right on the tails of everything else. It sounds like people are going through good, positive transition, but it is transition nonetheless, so I have to wonder how much of the emotion of the past few days is coming from the stress involved in these changes, and presumably whatever history has led to these changes.
What it comes down to for me is that all of my work in Notes/Domino, SharePoint, and general web application development… it is all “just work” to me. But this was not always true.
I have found that tying my own ego to any technology is a very dangerous path. It adds stress to my life, and makes me get out of whack with the whole work/life balance concept. I used to be passionate about specific technology platforms, but at the end of the day, I ended up with a split personality — highly confident in my Domino skills, but fearful that I did not know other technologies, and lacking confidence in anything outside of the IBM realm.
Instead, now that I am “over” the technology stack, I can actually care about the businesses I work with. I can stop fretting over tech, and start looking at what we are doing with it. And I can really listen to the needs of the business, and offer them a true consulting relationship, wherein I try to learn the business needs and drivers behind their technology, to offer them better solutions. Usually on whatever platform they already have, but also on migrations to new ones, when appropriate.
And frankly, I like it better this way. I feel more valuable, I feel like people listen more to what I have to offer, and I am able to truly engage in open, strategic discussions about what direction an IT shop should take with their technologies.
I recommend that everyone try it.
(BTW, the Microsoft techies are WAY worse about all this than the IBM/Lotus crowd. It was the Lotus crowd that inspired the post, but I’ll take you guys over your average SharePoint or .NET zealot any day. )