2021: Taking Back The Reins

Reflecting on 2021

Do you also think that last year was 2019 and we are still in an extended 2020? 😣 2021felt like such a repeat of 2020 that it didn’t feel like a different year! For instance, we have still not recovered from the economic effects of the pandemic and are starting to feel its effects mentally and emotionally. International travel is still largely not possible and thus my wife and I are equally homesick as we’ve not been back home in almost 5 years and it doesn’t look like it is going to change! While we didn’t catch C😷VID, our family did get hit with other medical ailments (thanks to our 2 year old and the other effects of the pandemic) and it made 2021 another challenging year!

It is telling how 2021 felt like an extension to 2020 because much like last year, Netflix made a Death to 2021 movie 😬

My Learnings

However, it has not been an entirely gloom and doom kind of year! I’ve been able to make a career pivot to join a new role and team. I now manage a Product that enables Employees around the globe to securely access their work apps, search for their peers, get notifications from their organization and also self manage their devices. I wake up every morning excited about the possibilities and I’m proud to build and grow a phenomenal Product that caters to more than 2 million Monthly Active Users!

2021 was challenging but it also had a lot of positives! Here is the count of events as how I’ve navigated 2021

2021 Timeline


Work

I started January finishing up my pet projects which was redesigning CLOUD TEKKI® and working to complete my very first Fling that’d help Customers migrate Applications between any two WS1 Access tenants.

Jan 2021

Life

I started a 3 month diet and a get back in shape program and the beginning is always the hardest part!

Jan 2021

Work

I built an automation script using Packer that automates a Windows 10 build and enrolls the machine to Workspace ONE. Another automation build which helped me get a foundational understanding of Kubernetes as well as do something new for the K8s community was automating the provisioning of a multi-node Kubernetes cluster using Terraform! Simultaneously, I was also writing my blog on enabling Kubernetes management natively on vSphere.

Feb 2021

Life

I didn’t have a life as it was pretty much workout, hack, eat, sleep and repeat. I did however learn how to correctly say on premises 😁

Feb 2021

Work

😎 Presenting my very first Fling - WS1 Access Migration tool. I also learnt way more about KCD than I needed thanks to an escalation which drove me nuts 😤. I also started prototyping ESO, a monitoring solution for UAGs and was actively testing my hypothesis

Mar 2021

Life

Spring is here! We were very cautious about travelling anywhere but decided to go get a look at the cherry blossoms at UW 🌸

Mar 2021

Work

I worked on writing a blog about my learnings from a major cross-functional Project that I had worked on last year which aimed to help Customers seamlessly adopt our Products. A key element to its success were the soft skills that I had to quickly learn and demonstrate. I also had the opportunity to participate in my first Hackathon event to further build ESO

Apr 2021

Life

My daughter turned two (in another Pandemic year). To celebrate, we decided to catch some tulips! 🌷

Apr 2021

Work

ESO is going through the release process for fling which meant security reviews, finalizing the build process, learning to incorporate NGINX to make ESO production ready! I had also preemptively submitted a VMworld session to cover Project Edge Services Observability for Zero Trust Network Access

May 2021

Life

We tried our hands at growing veggies ranging from Okra, Tomatoes, Mint etc. We also got our Covid shot #2 done! 💉

May 2021

Work

Releasing ESO through the Flings program becomes more real. I also get to share my expertise on Hub Services at the WS1 Office hours (this is the Product that I become a PM of)

Jun 2021

Life

It’s getting way hot here in the PNW ☀️ that I had to give in and buy an Air Conditioner

Jun 2021

Work

Edge Services Observability as a Fling goes live and it is also a bitter sweet moment as I end a 7 year chapter of my career working primarily as a Customer Advocate

Jul 2021

Life

We go Blueberry picking! We are also starting to get mentally and emotionally stressed from not socializing and not seeing any end at sight to the Pandemic.

Jul 2021

Work

Woohoo! 🤘 Many years in the making, I am now back to my roots in Engineering where I’m managing and growing an exciting VMware Product that has more than 2 million MAU. The VMworld session for ESO also won the VMworld People Choice award so we get 2 weeks to build the demo

Aug 2021

Life

We travel to Bend Oregon (a beautiful drive), camp at the Crater Lake (which we didn’t see due to the smoke) and made some amazing new friends. Doctor visits…

Aug 2021

Work

Hacked together a demo while being sick 🤧 and got our VMworld recording done. Honored to also be recognized for the At your Best award at Vmware called Accelerate Our Best - “You are focused on doing what’s right for our customers. When you identify a gap, you don’t just work tirelessly to build a frictionless solution, but you do while collaborating as a team player

Sep 2021

Life

Had my first Sinus infection and realized how painful they can be. We travel to Lake Wenatchee and spend some quality time 🍻 at Leavenworth! Doctor visits contd…

Sep 2021

Work

As I get into my 3rd month of managing Workspace ONE Hub Services, my tweet frequency has definitely gone down! I’m learning a lot from an amazing team and enjoying everything about my work!

Oct 2021

Life

We get together with some friends for Halloween and also do some pumpkin carving (a first for me and my daughter) 🎃. We are also home sick from being unable to travel back to India. more…Doctor visits.

Oct 2021

Work

I spend a lot of time with Customers and being the best PM that I can be. I also document and share the learnings from my past life from being a Trusted advisor.

Nov 2021

Life

🍁 Fall cleanup time. A lot of good times with friends and a lot of Food! Doctors are starting to become our friends 😭

Nov 2021

Work

At work I get some unexpected news about a few changes which took me a while to process. However, it also presents new opportunities for the next year!

Dec 2021

Life

❄️ We get a very white Christmas! While at a Dr. appointment, we were surprised with a bit of good news (to be shared in the New Year)!

Dec 2021

Summary of my 2021

This year began as a grind, we endured various medical ailments and it ended with a lot of surprises (as the grind continues)! All that aside 2021 also gave me a lot of things to be grateful for…

  • I’ve rediscovered my passion for writing code which enables me to create and explore new things 😊
  • It has been 3+ years from when I had decided to take the reins on my career and decided to be a Product Manager. Several hardships later, I’m grateful to the team that gave me the opportunity to redefine my career and I am now a strong Senior Product Manager with a well-rounded IT experience
  • I’ve also helped motivate others take the next step in their careers and enjoyed seeing others take their career to the next level!
  • CLOUD TEKKI® gets close to 300 views every week in just one year of operation!
  • CLOUD TEKKI® also serves as a platform for many first-time bloggers. I invested a lot of time encouraging and motivating many to document their learnings and expertise on a given subject (here and here)
  • We suffered a lot medically and yet I count ourselves lucky as we have gone through the year without any major lifestyle impact!
  • Thanks to remote work and the technology that enables it, we got to spend a lot of time watching our daughter grow!
  • I’m also picking up the guitar 🎸 back again after 8 years as music makes me connect to my spiritual self and learning music only seems to make me appreciate it more!

Goals for 2022

For the upcoming year, my focus is going to be on three key areas

  • Great at Product Management (and have fun along the way)
  • Focus on Impact (on our Customers and on the Industry) and Growth (of my team, of my product and as a person)
  • Learn from the best (through books or mentors) and share my learnings along the way

Other goals are to enable more folks to share their learnings through CLOUD TEKKI® and to make progress on learning guitar.

What’s your takeaway?

Why do I share my retrospective for a given year? Purely to motivate, inspire and also to share my experience!

Here is my retrospective of 2020

I transparently share my learnings so you can see how I’ve navigated my way through an unpredictable + unprecedented year and also to give you a view into my mindset over the course of a year. I didn’t know that I’d achieve my goal of being a Product Manager this year. However, I’ve been tirelessly working towards that goal for many years and I was able to make that dream a reality when the opportunity presented itself!

Another reason why I share my experience is to remind folks how eventful any given year can be! A lot of us tend to get tunnel visioned or lose focus at times and the year seems to go by uneventfully. A lot of us skip setting goals or managing the path we take and soon find ourselves lost amidst the chaos. While it is hard to predict what the future holds, we can set a goal and continue to work towards it! Going through this exercise of retrospection and goal setting makes me (and hopefully it also makes you) realize how eventful any year can be and how you can manifest opportunities for yourself! Challenges are going to present itself and as you persevere, they are going to make you stronger and enable you to hit those personal goals for the year!

NEED HELP? If you are lost in your career and are looking for some insights on how to reinvent your career, hopefully my blog will help give you some guidance. If you need more direct guidance, please don’t hesitate to reach out for a 1-1 chat!

As you read this, hopefully you are inspired and motivated to get out of your comfort zone, to try something new, to embrace and meet any challenges head on, to keep pushing yourself to achieve your goals and dreams! ✊ Here’s to an exciting and challenging 2022! If you are reading this, I’d love to know how you experienced 2021? What are your plans for the New Year?

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