Seventeenth Blog Birthday

Every year, on the anniversary of the first-ever post on this blog, I write a post reflecting on what has happened to me professionally in the past year. In the past this has meant I’ve written about learning some new technology or language (yes, DAX and M were new once), dealing with a business issue back when I had my own company, or more recently adjusting to life as a full-time employee at Microsoft. This year’s new challenge has been becoming a manager for the first time.

One of the great things about working for Microsoft is that, unlike many other companies, you don’t need to become a manager to progress in your career. However, the Power BI CAT team is growing and when I was given the opportunity to manage a part of it I thought, why not? I’m in my late 40s and have never had anyone reporting to me before – in my defence I spent many years working for myself – so I thought it would be good to get out of my comfort zone and try something new. It helped that I have a very supportive manager and that several other people on the team made the transition to management at the same time, which means we’re all learning together. I have particularly enjoyed recruiting new people for my team from inside and outside Microsoft: I have some extremely talented people on my team already, with several more due to start in early 2022.

This doesn’t mean I have left technical things behind though, just that I’m spending less time doing technical things and more time managing other people who do technical things. I think it’s important to stay as technical as I can and to maintain some direct contact with customers in order for me to be an effective manager; again, one of the things I like about Microsoft and my team in particular is that I haven’t had to make a binary choice between being a manager or being technical. That said I have had to accept that, more than before, there are problems I can’t help solve and shiny new things I don’t have time to learn about, and that has been hard.

None of this will affect this blog’s focus on Power BI (I’m certain no-one is interested in my thoughts about management…) or how often I blog but it will accelerate a trend that I suspect has been apparent for the last year or so. The primary motivation for me to blog has always been my own education: writing down information I can’t find anywhere else means it doesn’t get lost and explaining it to other people helps me understand it myself. Now, though, this is pretty much the only reason for me to blog, which means even more of the obscure factoids about Power Query data privacy settings and even less of the click-friendly top ten lists about Power BI/Excel integration type of content. I don’t think many people came here for the introductory tutorials though, did they?

8 responses

  1. Well, I would love to read your take on managment from your technical person perspective. Not too much but 2-3 post yearly would be really grea

  2. Things change a lot in this game – and we’ve seen some of the early pioneers like Mosha move on to other things..
    How long have we been doing this? 🙂
    The thing I love most about Microsoft BI over all these years is that there is always something new and cool to learn. Thanks for your blogging over all these years.. the content has always been super useful in solving real world problems. I hope you keep it going.
    From the little I understand about management/managers I would have thought it possible such a position might actually afford more free time to do so?
    🙂

  3. Chris, although your blog might serve the purpose to help you learn and to archive important things that you find in Power BI, Power Query and other Microsoft BI and data tools, it serves a very important purpose for those like me who follow you and gain knowledge from your hard work and dedication to the craft. Thank you for seven years of consistent community support and knowledge sharing.
    And, yes, I appreciate your thoughts and insights about becoming a manager in the CAT team.

  4. I’m glad the transition went well. I went the opposite way, I have the years of experience to be considered for management but I am just not cut out for it and still have my passion in the nerd level tech. Yours is one of the few blogs shining a light on the guts of Power BI and how to really dive deep down into the entrails of the beast and I hope you keep that up. Lots of perf data out there that we can access but is not well documented that I hope you can keep shining a lot on so we can use it.

  5. Congrats on your new role and the opportunities you have created for yourself. I can’t help but reflect on the parallels with my own career. One of the main reasons I left Coke to start my own business was that the only way I could continue to grow my career (and financially) at Coke, was to continue up the management ladder. While I have never been “technical”, the power products (Power Pivot and to a lesser extent at the time, Power Query) ignited a fire inside me. I sought out the opportunity to be more hands on. There are not many companies where you don’t have to choose, so it’s great that you have this opportunity with Microsoft.

  6. Congrats on your new role! Certainly an impressive milestone!
    I have learnt so much by reading your blog and please continue to share whatever it interests you!
    All the best to your new year!
    Tina from down under

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