Resetting the Awesome


Life is a funny old thing to quote the song. When you think you have it nailed down, it throws you something new. — Anon

There comes times in all our lives when we get to pause, reflect and effect change. The times when we get to say, “Am I walking my talking?” Sometimes these times are hard, but they are always worthwhile.
Sometimes we need opportunities to take control of our surrounds and hit the reset button on awesome.

So what is awesome?

Well… Being a developer, awesomeness for me is making cool things that let people do exactly what they need to do. But it is so much more than that. Awesomeness is enabling those around me to become a little bit more awesome every day.

I often fall down, but I never want to stop pushing towards this.

That moment when my team get to push something out that makes a difference is something special. That moment when I get to help make other people be that little bit better through either my actions or my work is precious indeed.

When you look at it as agilists we have just one job. Everything else we do as agilist flow from this goal. We live to make the people that we have contact with more awesome!

We can affect their lives with our products. We create opportunities for growth in others. We provide value to our companies and support the people around us. Each time we do so we grow too.

Most values that exist in the agile frameworks flow from this space.

The strive for excellence and empowerment sit the heart of everything that we do. It helps us treat people with empathy and understanding. It lets us put ourselves in the shoes of our customers and find the features and experience they need.

A quest for awesome even impacts our stakeholders close and far, because if one is adding awesome, the value of what we produce impacts our businesses positively.

There are many forces that push back against this desire. And we all fall prey to them. I know I have and I have seen it in others around me from time to time.

The forces can be as simple as complacency and laziness. Or it can be that the market moves on and our solutions are now status quo. Sometimes the entropy ape sneaks into to the compiler and plays the bongos with our code. When we fail to provide safety for people morale gets sapped by relentless pace or shot down in the crossfire. It can be as simple as having a bad morning when everything seems so heavy. So many reasons…

There are times I know I’m just not making my world more awesome. I don’t like the feeling, but nonetheless it definitely happens.

The good thing is excellence isn’t a fixed thing and we can always move forward to try to find the awesome again. We can take action. We can reset the awesome.

The question of how arises.

Normally the answers are there even if you can’t see them. My own experience has been that those rays of light come not with a change of circumstance, but with a change of heart. I start finding the small pieces of awesome and build on them.

If the code monkey is loose, It may be because I have not been as vigilant with my unit tests as I should have. The words that follow can be, “Ok, I can fix that.” I can add working tests with good refactoring and move on to the next thing. I can take control of the things I can and make the the adjustments.

If we have stopped improving at how do things, we probably aren’t doing something to help make it happen. Now we can ask questions. Is the team doing retros? Do we have the hygiene in place? Have we been passing knowledge from team member to member? Are we talking to customers? The answers will be there somewhere.

I think it all comes back to finding that very small thing that you have control over, and sometimes all that might be is YOU. I encourage you to pause look and try start making the awesome happen around you even in the smallest of ways.

Now the question is why am I writing all this? I’m trying to find my little bit of awesome. Like I said, I fall down. I know I’m not alone and I want to let others that they aren’t alone either.

How you hit the reset button of awesome in your lives, your team and your company.

How do you make other people awesome? Can you share it with others. Sometimes we all need a little inspiration…


Brad-thanks for this. I’ve been in a bit of a rut lately, and by forcing myself to slow down and read this whole thing I actually rediscovered a few things I can do to kick myself back into high gear. I’m going to concentrate on one or two things in the short term to get the locomotive back up to speed. Much appreciated!


Hi Brad. No worries about the brain dump. That is what the coalition is for; to share your thoughts and solicit feedback from other so we can all grow in our endeavors, both professional and personal.

I think you nailed it when you mentioned the need to stop and reflect. For me that is the key. We often lose sight of the holistic, and get too caught up in the day to day. This occurred to me during the first six months of this year as a big project took a majority of my time, impacting my family life.

As practitioners, we preach the importance of prioritization and value. We should practice what we preach not only in our professional lives, but personal as well. We are the Product Owners of our “lives,” and it is our job to optimize value. Stop and think what value is to you and deliver it!


Not to anyone in particular (I’m still mulling this through):

How can the idea of deep work and having periods set aside for concentration within the week help with providing space for the awesome to happen?

I know that studies show that context switching regularly can have negative implications to work. Can having periods of disconnect within the storm (so to speak) help provide space for awesomeness and creativity to happen? Is part of resetting the awesome simply deliberately making the space for it to happen?


Thanks all. I ended up re-crafting this into a medium post: It really helped having the space to let it roll around my head for a few days.