2021: A Retrospective

Time to say goodbye to another year. 2021 wasn’t a shit-show like 2020, but still had its unique challenges and opportunities. As we look to the future, tis the season to do a retrospective of the past 12 months. Here are my highlights and take-aways of the year.

Biking and Business. When the fireworks went off at midnight on the morning of August 14th, it was the last day of a journey that started in April. During that time, I had cycled over 2,300 miles in preparation for the Day Across MN (DAMn), a 24 hour, 242 mile, gravel bike race across Minnesota. Upon crossing the finish line 21 hours later, I was elated, exhausted, and hungry!

In getting ready for the DAMn, I branded the preparation as Project242, or P242. In blog posts, I related training and riding a bike with business challenges faced on a regular basis. It was fun and I found it easy to relate the two. Two local business leaders read those posts and asked if some morning they could bike with me. Before I knew it, our 3 person group turned into six. Biking and Business was born! I learned a lot from this group and look forward to riding with them in 2022.

Investing, an Important Language. In 2020 I setup a Robinhood account, bought a couple stocks, and that was it. In ’21, I wanted to learn more about investing. So, I bought a book, read investor blogs, and soaked up information. Then, I’d target a few companies, study them, their financials, leaders, board, and buy one or two stocks. No, I will not get rich. But what I have learned is being able to read a company’s financials and what story those numbers tell. I’ve had a couple winners, and I’ve had a couple losers. What I’ve learned, though, is the true ROI.

Presentations Galore! I presented more this year than the past few combined; seven in total. All but one was virtual and had the opportunity to present to global audiences. Most were given to project and business analyst professionals, and a couple to business leaders interested in project management. Each presentation I learned something and honed my speaking skills. It was enjoyable and hope to present more in the future.

PMO Leadership. I consulted for three different PMO’s at three different companies. Each one had their own unique set of challenges, stakeholders, and requirements for delivering business value. Though I came into each with experience, I had to treat day 1 with an open mind and listen intently to what was needed, not what I wanted. Learning is a big part of my continued PMO journey, and I spent time with experts like Laura Barnard, PMO Joe, Pete Taylor, Bill Dow and others on webinars and podcasts. PMO leadership can be challenging, and rewarding. I love every minute of it!

Mental Health and Disconnecting. The last time I took a full week off with no meetings, emails or phone calls was August of 2020. I tried in 2021, but while getting ready for camping trip, someone asked that I take my laptop with me “just in case.” Stupid me did it and guess what? I got a phone call and spent a couple days working when I should have been relaxing and hanging out with my family. That’s a mistake I won’t make again. In ’22, I already have plans to disconnect and spend some quality time with my family.

2021 was a good year and look forward to what lies ahead in 2022. Happy New Year and I wish you continued success!!

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