The Five Year Plan

It’s a common question during interviews, “Where do you see yourself five years from now?”.
At that point some people will talk of how they want to have progressed in their career, have learned and expand their role, be able to look back with a sense of achievement and look forward in a clear direction.

The smart people will simply say they don’t know, but that they know that their natural ambition and drive will have moved their careers forward.

I was recently asked the reverse question by an interviewee, “Where do you see the team being in five years time?”.

My response was honest.

“I don’t know”.

And I truly don’t. I know what we have in front of us for the next six months or so, and where our main efforts will be focused in the coming year or two, but beyond that I have no clue.

I do know that we will continue to try and expand the level of services we offer the business (increasing our value), and that our unique knowledge of the product is becoming increasingly useful. I do know that we will continue to improve, and that in the past (almost) 6 years I’ve been with the company we’ve targetted the right thing at the right time. We started by focusing our efforts on the quality of the content we were providing, and currently we are turning more and more towards concerns over the structure and findability of the information. We’ve expanded the type of information we create from task-based content to articles and pre-sales information, and gotten involved in on-screen text and usability issues.

So what does the future hold? Possibly something to do with personalisation of content, definitely further enhancements and development of our taxonomy, and beyond that? I really don’t know. It would be foolhardy to pretend otherwise. I do know that I work with some very smart people and that whatever we do, whatever direction the team takes, it will be the right one for the time.

If pushed, I guess I could answer the question of where the team will be in five years time, I’d say “still trying to making the right decisions at the right time”.