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It is now my honour to present the next our regular series of
interviews with some of the very interesting people in Rational Client
Support. This week, we'd like you to meet Christian Glockner, a
Rational ClearQuest Technical Support Engineer out of IBM Rational, The
Netherlands. Of course, Christian's roles also go far beyond technical
support as you'll find out in the interview below; and don't forget to
visit his profile
on My developerWorks!
Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in
Rational Client Support?
My name is Christian Glockner, and primarily I work as Technical Support
Engineer for IBM Rational ClearQuest in Rational's European support
center located in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Apart from that I have several other roles, including coach for the Kepner-Tregoe
Resolve methodology that Rational Client Support have adopted several
years ago, and working as part of the Lab team in Amsterdam, making sure
the infrastructure our colleagues use for reproducing client issues
How long have you been working for IBM and Rational?
It's hard to believe, but I've been with Rational (and IBM for that
matter) for three years already! Doesn't time fly?
What are you currently working on?
Besides helping our clients resolve issues they are experiencing with
ClearQuest, I am trying to figure out what we can do to further increase
client satisfaction and resolve PMRs quicker than before.
Describe a normal day for you.
Luckily I don't have to be in the office at a specific time, so I like
to sleep a bit longer than others (which makes my friends envy me
badly). I am not a breakfast person, so I make myself on the way to work
quickly, and normally I arrive there some time between 9 and 10. First I
check any e-mail that has come in to see if anything from Development
needs my attention (for example, in case a developer needs more
information in order to reproduce a Defect). Next up is reviewing
existing PMRs to see what we're going to do about them today, and that
pretty much continues throughout the day.
What project are you the most proud of?
Probably that would have to be the work we have done for a new process
that will change the way support works with development. We're really
excited about it and we're planning to present it at this year's
Innovate conference in June.
Are you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use?
I am not too much of a gadget person, but everything that has a screen
gets my attention.
What gadget, which you currently own, can you not live without?
Definitely my iPhone. You don't know you needed it until you've had it.
What is your favorite part of working for Rational Client Support?
There's really two or three aspects. For one, I just enjoy solving
problems. Secondly I love helping people, so if I can help clients
resolve issues I get the best of both worlds. And finally I enjoy the
openness inside RCS (and IBM on the whole).
What are you passionate about?
Technology. That's why I work at IBM.
What tip or trick would you like to share with the class?
If you are a gadget guy and you listen to podcasts, then you should
definitely listen to The Daily Giz Wiz.
How do you define success?
Professionally: If a client tells me I helped them resolve the issue
they were having and if I manage to make work an enjoyable experience
for my colleagues.
Personally: If I can make a difference to other people around me.
In your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities
This is probably very nerdy, but I am really fond of airplanes and
trains. I'm probably the last person to enjoy air travel, solely because
it involves planes, clearly one of mankind's biggest inventions, and
still a miracle in my book.
If you were stuck on a technology deprived island, what single
technology could you not live without?
Definitely the Internet. I honestly don't know what I was doing without
it all these years.
What is on your nightstand with regard to reading?
I don't read before going to bed, but rather on my daily commute by
train. At the moment I'm reading The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris, which I
can highly recommend.
Is there any technology that you think should get more respect and
adoption but does not?
Solar Energy is still not as widely used as it could be, so definitely
it should be adopted more widely.
How do you grow your technical skills?
I have always been curious to find out how things work and why they work
the way they do. I found that I can also apply this in my job, so I
really learn new things every day.
This week we have the privilege of talking with Abhijit Singh, another Technical Support Engineer based in Bangalore, India. An avid computer gamer and fan of learning by doing, Abhijit is also intent on sharing his learned knowledge for others to use. So read on for a glimpse into his role in RCS. Of course you can always learn even more about other faces of RCS by checking out our previous interviews with the peeps of Rational Client Support.
Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in Rational Client Support? My name is Abhijit Singh, I work as Technical Support Engineer in Rational's Support center located in Bangalore, India. My role in RCS includes helping clients with their queries on Rational Focal Point, a PPM tool. We also deliver this thru SaaS (Software as a Service) where we provide end to end delivery of the product while the customer can concentrate on aligning the usage of the tool to their organization and process, and leave the rest to IBM.
How long have you been working for IBM and Rational? Around 18 months; in April 2008 I became a part of IBM Rational team when Telelogic was acquired. Over the last 18 months in IBM, the RCS team has given me opportunities to work on several world class products mainly from the PPM (Product Portfolio Management) space. This presented me with an opportunity to learn about the technologies used by clients around the globe to make their business successful.
What are you currently working on? I deliver support solutions to queries from clients on Rational Focal Point, Rational Insight and Rational Project Conductor. I am also currently exploring web services 2.0 for Rational Focal Point.
Describe a normal day for you. A normal day for me would start with the newspaper to keep myself up to date. Once in the office, I first look into my new mails based on which I sometimes make a priority list of things that I should finish. Usually, if there is some important issue, I work along with my colleagues to help reach a solution and then move on to the queries raised by other clients, usually my day in the office ends with this.
What type of gadgets do you use? I love listening music and carry my iPod with me all the time. I also use my PSP with my friends during weekends and whenever I get time.
What is your favorite part of working for Rational Client Support? No day is similar to the last, each day brings with it anew set of challenges and new clients to work with. I also like the fact that Rational is on the brink of providing a complete solution on a single platform: Jazz. I believe this will make interoperability more of a reality than something that we just hope for.
What are you passionate about? I love playing computer games and love my gaming console. In my desktop at home you will find most of the latest games installed. (Counter Strike is still in my hit list :) )
How do you define success? I believe at different periods of life, success can be defined differently. At this moment, I think success for me would be something I achieve if people around me are happy with whatever I do that makes changes in their life. I also believe that success is a journey and not a destination. So one cannot be successful and say he has done it and stop there.
What tools / skills have you acquired that you feel are vital to your success in this field? · Keep trying different things till you get to the root of the problem. · If one way does not work, try another. · The silliest thing to do is to keep giving the same input and expect different results. · Understanding a client's point of view and not believe what I think is the problem These are some of the skills that I have acquired from working in RCS. Of course, when I talk of technology that has been vital to my success, I can think of my working knowledge in UNIX flavors such as Solaris, Linux etc. My working comfort with databases such as IBM DB2, Oracle (their configurations with some Rational tools) also have contributed to my success in my current role.
If you were stuck on a technology deprived island, what single technology could you not live without? The INTERNET: I think that would be the invention which is used the most to connect the people around the world. I cannot imagine myself without it for long.
How do you grow your technical skills? Working in RCS allows me to work on different things each day and my habit of digging into things to find why they work the way they do or do not work teaches me new things. A new question from a client is a great source of learning; any ‘not answered before’ type of questions from customers is my cup of tea and contributes a great deal to grow my technical skills.
How do you prefer to find answers to your questions? If it’s a simple Q&A query from the client I would expect me to know the answer, but if I do not, I first check the knowledge base to provide a quick response to the customer. If both these fail, I am confident I will find the answer and try to document it for future use. I also look towards the product documentation to help me understand the tool better to resolve issues seen on a day to today basis.
Are you a blogger in the blogosphere? ... Are you a YouTuber? ...Are you an Author? .... Do you Tweet? ... I use YouTube to be able to see how certain technologies work. There are many Rational product videos posted in YouTube. I do follow technical blogs to keep me updated on the latest technologies. I haven’t tried my hand at writing yet… would like to do this sometime later in life.
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.