ClearMyRecord, a retrospective

So, I’m leaving ClearMyRecord and going to OmniTI. A few words are in order in parting.

First of all, why I came to CMR in the first place. ClearMyRecord is all about restoring dignity to people who have lost it, through their own mistakes. This is an honorable goal, and being part of creating the technology to achieve that goal was very appealing to me. And, while I was here, we did indeed help a lot of people obtain expungement of their criminal records, which is a ticket back to participation in community at a level that had been denied to them.

This has been my first real experience with management. I was a manager, sort of, at one former job, but treated it more like a team lead than a manager, and that experience didn’t go well. The less said about that, the better.

However, my management still is still very delegatory, if that’s a word. I assign tasks to folks that I feel can do them, and then I step back and allow them to be creative in how they do them. The side-effect of this, of course, is that sometimes things don’t get done, get done in ways that I didn’t envision, or get done far slower than I had hoped.

About halfway through my time here, I hired someone with far more management experience than myself. I suspect that he frequently didn’t agree with how I chose to operate, and sometimes he made that explicit. I learned a great deal from him, and I think that I will do things rather differently if I have an opportunity to be in management again. Now that I’m leaving, he’ll be taking my place, and the rest of the team will get to see how he chooses to manage. I’m very interested to hear more about this in the coming weeks.

As to what I would like to have done differently – I think that greater focus on the goals and specific deliverables would have resulted in meeting those goals earlier – months earlier in many cases. We had the tendency, as a team, to be pulled in dozens of different directions at once, and spend weeks at a time working on stuff that was completely outside of our core goals. Granted, this was often mandated from upstream, but I strongly suspect that I could have managed this better if I had been more forceful.

So, now I’m going back to a more hands-on position, where I can revive my Perl knowledge, as well as taking advantage of my 5 years of PHP experience, and my 15 years of Apache experience. Pretty exciting, all around. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to try my hand at management again at some point in the future. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to working with my new manager, who, while younger than I, is someone that I have had some contact with over the last few years, and greatly respect.