Mexico, Leadership and Female Coders

Every now and then I notice that I forget to blog – life gets busy, work projects take higher priority, kids activities become all encompassing, and suddenly I realize its been a few months since I last blogged – I don’t like when that happens – not that I fear the world will suffer from a few less blog posts but for me it’s a chance to rethink priorities, goals and what I need to be working on next… time to get a few things back in order.

After a fairly difficult fall for me on a personal level, my sisters and I decided on a vacation to Mexico within minutes of each other in a odd serendipitous moment.  Now odd for a number of reasons, I had not tried to arrange a vacation with them before, I had never been to Mexico before, and yet as soon as I said “we should go to Mexico” they laughed as they had been discussing the exact same topic before I had joined the conversation.  I was told by family and friends alike that once you go to Mexico during the winter, you will do what it takes to get back every winter – and I understand why.  After this long winter, we got down to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico the last week in February, and it has definitely charged my batteries again – something about 86 degree days, cool ocean breezes, and every tropical drink known to man in your hands pretty much around the clock at an all inclusive resort will change your attitude – and by a lot.  Yeah, I am hooked – pretty easy to compartmentalize your worries when your view from a deck chair is this (yes, these are ones I actually took rather than the stock footage I always include Smile ) and the ocean only looks bluer the closer you get.


It was my first time abroad and for some reason, we were only there 5 days – we really should have stayed 7 – as we headed home, I kept obsessing about wishing for 2 more days the same way the paperboy in Better Off Dead wanted his $2.  My sisters and our spouses had a terrific time and it was worth every dollar.


My team has grown once again, and each time our team changes, it forces me to rethink my role and responsibilities to it– not having ever wanted to be in charge of others means that I have had to learn and think a lot about how I should approach it and I have chosen to do so exactly how I would want the team run if I were not leading it – and by that I mean:

  • Open sharing of company goals & strategies & Plans
  • Opportunities for new projects going to those who have earned those opportunities and listening to team members to find their goals, desires and work that they may be passionate about
  • Taking every opportunity to raise awareness of team members who have done great work and those who show great teamwork
  • Build a team where everyone has everyone’s back and no one feels isolated or frustrated on any particular tough assignment
  • Seek lots of feedback from the team on course corrections along the way

It’s a work in progress and I learn more each year and I know that there are a few that could easily replace me today and do great which is a terrific feeling to know about your coworkers – I love this quote – you know you work for a good CEO when that person acknowledges this very fact:



A month or so ago at the urging of a co-worker I read “Lean In”, a book by Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook.   Basically a book empowering women in the workplace to pursue their goals.  Having a few women software developers on my team (3) , actually more than any other team in my company, motivated me to read this.  Some time ago at the Heartland Developer Conference in Omaha, there were women software developers encouraging women to sign up for their social group, but when I inquired, I found it was only in the Omaha area and none of these clubs existed in eastern South Dakota.  The topic however was important to me because my young daughter has already expressed 2 different vocation choices so far – veterinarian & at one time, software developer.  OK, the past few years she has been solidly still thinking about working with animals – but the pragmatic dad in me thinks….hmm, at one time she was thinking of being a software developer like dad, and the animal thing may wear off – so there is still a chance…a geek dad can dream.  But articles like this do point out the issues that female developers still face in our industry

So its wise to know about them and be vigilant and hope that we are creating a culture for all software developers in our own company.


Finally, lets talk projects – I am back in the saddle working on something in my spare time that I have mentioned many times but am finally getting going on it

An information dashboard check out my post on this from the past to see a beautiful one.

I am attacking this from 2 directions:

My goals? to be able to display work metrics, project statuses, build statuses, and team accomplishments on a beautiful display (and use fewer printed graphs and charts) – I’ll post on any success I have – web stuff is a real weakness for me so I have some real digging to do to make it as dynamic as I want.



About bradosterloo

.NET Software Developer working for Innovative Systems, LLC in Mitchell, SD
This entry was posted in FunStuff, Software Development, Team and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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