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What Change and the IBM Cloud Garage Taught Me

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IBM Cloud Garage: My experiences and changes I’ve seen

I joined the IBM Cloud Garage in Toronto on April Fool’s Day of 2015 as an architect.

To help ring in the Cloud Garage’s fifth anniversary this April 28th, I was asked to write about my experiences and the changes I have seen since I joined four years ago. To do that, I need to go back in time.

How it all started

My first experiences on a computer were on a TRS-80 in my basement, using books from the library to copy out BASIC programs for games like ASCII art hangman. Eventually, I took this to the next level by adding my own creativity to these programs, which were then stored in cassettes.

Jump to my last years of university, which were filled with the sound of modems. The dot-com bubble started the year I graduated with a Master’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science.

And, yet, I’m not old—not really.

I mention all this to highlight the incredible rate of change of technology, communication, computers, and social media. Because I joined IBM right out of university, it is with the lens of an IBMer that I have experienced all this change and the corresponding innovation and adaptation.

Until 2015, I worked in the IBM Software Group developing software products. Within that context, I’ve seen a multitude of organizational changes: from large teams to small teams; waterfall, iterative, and agile methodologies; work-from-office and work-from-home models; offices with doors, cubicles, and open workspaces; and proprietary and open source development. Lots of change.

In 2015, I decided that I wanted to immerse myself in the client experience—to use IBM technology to support client success. As soon as I heard about the Bluemix Garage (now IBM Cloud Garage), I was intrigued for many reasons.

First, IBM Cloud was still relatively new and Cloud offerings of familiar IBM products were just emerging. I was excited to try these out. Second, the nascent Cloud Garage Method and the Lean Startup tenets were compelling—innovate, experiment, keep the product owners engaged from the start, playback frequently, pivot, automate, fail fast, learn, repeat. Over the last few years, many new offerings have been added to the ecosystem: Watson APIs, the Data Science platform, Blockchain offerings, Quantum offerings, IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service, IBM Cloud Private (ICP), and more. Sometimes it is hard to keep up, but for someone like me who is hands-on and loves to learn and apply, I couldn’t wish for more.

Change?

So, how has the Cloud Garage evolved? In addition to a growing portfolio of technologies and expansion to over a dozen sites worldwide, we’re constantly iterating on the Garage Method. We realize that there is no one-size-fits-all. However, there are practices that reliably result in good outcomes, and these practices can be applied to innovation projects as well as transformation and modernization initiatives. They can be applied to small projects and large-scale enterprise projects.

There is always change, and sometimes it is easy to roll your eyes and wonder if it’s change for the sake of change. But, I think we’re on to something—a convergence that leads to stronger, more flexible and engaged teams with common goals, a set of guiding principles that drives better communication, more positive collaboration and ultimately gets projects done.

I look forward to what we do next.


This blog is a part of a series celebrating the fifth anniversary of the IBM Cloud Garage. 

To learn more about the IBM Cloud Garage, find our story, resources, and method here. If you would like to see how the IBM Cloud Garage can help your business, schedule a cost-free, four-hour virtual visit with us. We’d love to help you turn that idea into a reality.

Senior Technical Staff Member (STSM), Architect Practice Lead, Americas, IBM Cloud Garage

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