This week we shine the spotlight on Bill Penny. As a Knowledge Manager for Rational Client Support, Bill wears many hats and is able to put the skills he has acquired over the years to very good use. With the large scopes of Bill's projects (as he explains below) you'll see how broad his skill set has to be! And don't forget to check out our past interviews as well!
Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in Rational Client Support?
I go by many different handles depending on the venue of the conversation, but in the realm of IBM Support I am known simply as Bill (but as you come to know me, you realize that I pretty much respond to anything.) My current role in RCS is a Knowledge Manager, and the primary focus of my role is to develop/deploy/evangelize KCS (Knowledge Centered Support) programs in RCS. My mission is simply to make the world a smarter place to live in.
How long have you been working for IBM and Rational?
As Rational was acquired by IBM in 2003, I have been working at IBM for 7 years (as of March). I have been working at Rational since 1999 (11 years total).
Have you had any other roles in Rational?
I began my career as a ClearCase Technical Support Engineer. Over the 3+ years in this role, I held such titles as: Escalation lead, Team lead, and "overall great guy". I then moved on to the Premium Support /Advanced Services team (now known as AVP - Accelerated Value Program). For the next few years I serviced such accounts as: Wells Fargo, Siemens Medical and Eastman Kodak. I then moved on to become one of the founding members of the new Knowledge Management team formed in Rational.
What are you currently working on?
One of the larger efforts I am leading entail the KCS program in Rational. I am in the process of deploying Coaching component of the program. I am also leading an effort to improve the operational efficiencies around the creation and maintenance of Detailed System Requirements content for the Rational portfolio. The mission is to provide our clients with an accurate and consistent experience around the knowledge.
Describe a normal day for you.
As my team and stakeholders are around the world, I do not have a typical 9-5 job. Most days start early morning to work with my team in Europe, continue throughout the day to work with North America and finish late when working with Australia. What do I do? Plan > Meet > Execute > Deploy. Rinse and Repeat.
What project are you the most proud of?
The KCS program is my crowning achievement. I built this program from the ground up collaborating with different teams, creating the infrastructure, documenting the program and all its moving components. The program is in the process of being deployed and will continue to mature and evolve over time. It's like watching one of my children grow.
What gadget, which you currently own, can you not live without?
The remote for my entertainment center (Logitec Harmony One). I have many different components hooked up to my system and this remote allows me to power, control and configure all the different components from one source.
What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately?
Although not that recent, the coolest tech news to date was the preview release of Google Wave. For those not familiar, this is how e-mail would work if it were invented TODAY. The features are extremely useful as it has practical business (and personal) application built in. Take a look: http://wave.google.com/about.html
What is your favorite part of working for Rational Client Support?
Simple - the people.
What inspires you in your work?
Fixing problems. Creating solutions. Removing obstacles.
What are you passionate about?
At work, making change that matters. At home, watching my children grow.
What tip or trick would you like to share with the class?
Always strive for WIN WIN. It is there if you look for it.
How do you define success?
Happy and Healthy.
In your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you?
My hobby is to play the great sport of racquetball. I have been playing for over 15 years. I started playing racquetball in my teens (which is late in life for the sport) during the mid 80s. A racquetball club opened in our town, I joined with a friend and have been hooked ever since. I have played in many tournaments all across the US. I am the MA state and New England regional champion in my age division.
Do you have any big plans for the future?
This November I am taking my daughters (ages 6 & 7) to Disney World for vacation. I am so excited for them to see this great big magical kingdom.
If you were stuck on a technology deprived island, what single technology could you not live without?
My Tivo (DVR).
What are you doing to make the planet smarter?
I am working with teams to first transform Data into Information, and then Information into consumable Knowledge. The key to a smarter planet is having the right knowledge at your disposal to make informed and intelligent decisions.
How do you prefer to find answers to your questions?
I GOOGLE it.
How are you using social networking today?
I use Facebook primarily to keep in touch with friends and family. At work I use wikis, blogs and twitter to stay informed and collaborate with teams.