Last week I mentioned that I was pretty much consumed with some big things going on in my life. Well… I am finally ready to share some really big news. This week I am leaving VersionOne and joining Pillar Technology. It is a bittersweet announcement… so I want to accompany this announcement with a little backstory.
Two years ago when I joined VersionOne… I set off on a journey. At the time, joining VersionOne felt like a huge risk. I was going from a company that had twenty thousand or so employees to a company that had less than 100. I was going from a company with a diverse product set to a company that really only had one. I was going to stop managing projects for a living and become a trainer and consultant.
My wife and I talked about the fact I would now be on the road more… sometimes with only a few days notice. I’d be travelling overseas and going to conferences. We talked about what this change would mean for our kids… my career… our finances… and my employability should I ever decide to do something different. It was just a huge unknown… but it was exciting. It felt like the right thing to do and the risk seemed manageable.
Looking back with a little hindsight… it was the best of all possible opportunities. I’ve had the chance to work with some great people… the VersionOne folks are truly the best in the industry. I’ve had the chance to work with some excellent companies… companies who recognize that the status quo is no longer going to be enough. I’ve had to the opportunity to work with, and become and expert on, the best agile project management platform on the planet. I’ve had the opportunity to become a public speaker… find my voice as a blogger… and now as an actual author.
I really love working for VersionOne but for the past few months I’ve been thinking that it might be time to get back into the world of delivering projects. Even though having exposure to a diverse set of companies is huge and my pre-VersionOne experience was still extremely relevant… I wanted to get back out and build longer term relationships with people that are in the thick of building agile organizations. I wanted to get in and help lead change in a more meaningful way. I wanted to be a part of building the enterprises that I write about here on Leading Agile.
I didn’t really know what life after VersionOne might look like. I always felt that if I worked hard and made a positive contribution to the community… things would play out. I recently started toying with the idea of becoming an independent coach or possibly starting a boutique consultancy. Having a stay at home wife… a mortgage… and three kids that like to eat… those options always felt pretty risky. I wasn’t sure as a start-up that I’d be able to have the kind of impact that I really want to have. I need to be able to scale… and scale fast.
Enter Pillar Technology.
I first encountered Pillar Technology last year at the Agile Coaches Camp in Ann Arbor. I was impressed with them from day one. Everyone I have ever met from Pillar has been top notch… not just from a technology perspective… but as human beings. Pillar does great work and has fun doing it. I liked these guys before I ever started thinking about working for them… so when we started talking it felt like it could be a good fit.
What makes this move more interesting for me is that I am not going to Pillar as just an agile coach… I am going to build an agile consulting practice in the Southeast. Pillar is already the premier agile consultancy in the Midwest… I am going to help them go nationwide. I’ll have the resources… and the talent… at my disposal to really help organizations lead the kind of transformations I am so passionate about. Now when I talk about learning to do small team agile… I can bring in the developers and coaches to help make it happen. I will be able bring in the kinds of leaders that can help organizations learn what it means to do agile project and portfolio management. We can help lead real… enterprise level transformations.
While the move to Pillar comes with some mixed feelings… joy over the new opportunity… sadness over leaving my friends at VersionOne… I am convinced this is the right ‘next move’ for me and my family. Pillar Technology is a VersionOne business partner and I am still just a few miles away from the VersionOne offices. I am looking forward to co-branding a few white papers and doing some joint webinars over the next year. I’ll still be representing VersionOne at the PMI Global Congress and helping out with the upcoming Agilepalooza in Boston next month. There is tremendous synergy between our shared missions.
I will say though… if you ever thought… hey! it would be cool to have that Mike Cottmeyer guy come and do some work for my company… now might be a good time to reach out. For now… you can contact me on my personal email mike [@] cottmeyer [dot] com. Let me know what I can do to help. Even though I am going to focus on the Southeast US… there is no limit on where we can work together.
One last story and then I’ll let you guys get back… when my wife got pregnant with our first son, we were living in Michigan. We knew that wasn’t where we wanted to live so we started making plans to move. During that time, we were saving a down payment on our first house, getting ready to move to Georgia, getting ready to have a kid, Kimi was going to be a stay at home Mom, and I was going to start a brand new job within my company.
Over the past 10 or 15 years our family has probably experienced at least two more… maybe three… periods of extremely disruptive change. Some periods centered around kids… some around jobs.. and others around changing location. Most seemed to have something to do with all three. So while we don’t have any more kids on the way… I am still planning to birth my book… build a business.. and maybe a few other things I’ve been noodling on. When I decide to shake things up… I really like shake things up ;-)