This week we turn the spotlight on Andy Farmery, our Operations Manager for the AP region based out of Sydney, Australia. Andy is a subject matter expert on "Problem Solving and Decision Making" and has some wonderful perspectives on gadgets, technology, and learning.
Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in Rational Client Support?
My official role is "Operations Manager" for RCS AP, which seems to loosely translate into "Jack of all trades".
On a personal level, I am married with one child and a Golden Retriever that firmly believes 'she' is the leader of the pack and we are just around to serve her needs.
How long have you been working for IBM and Rational?
I started with Rational Software in March 1998 and I have been here ever since.
Have you had any other roles in Rational?
I have fulfilled a number of roles within RCS AP, but nothing outside.
What are you currently working on?
This questionnaire ... boom-boom !!
Describe a normal day for you.
I think a 'Normal' day for me is helping the engineers here in AP to think through the challenges they have. Basically being a second (or third, or fourth) set of eyes to look at issues from a different perspective.
What project are you the most proud of?
An easy one ... RCS's adoption of KT (Kepner-Tregoe) is definitely the project I am most proud of. Of course it is not (and never will be) finished, but we are making consistent progress toward 'rational thinking' being a part of RCS's DNA.
Do you have an "on the job" hero? If you could "follow" anyone for 24 hours, who would it be?
Hero? No. However I would love to follow Sam Palmisano around for 24hrs, as I am intrigued to know what someone at that level actually does.
Are you a gadget person?
I am absolutely a gadget person.
What type of gadgets do you use?
The ones my wife let's me buy !
What gadget, which you currently own, can you not live without?
None. Any 'gadget' that becomes essential is by my definition no longer a gadget
What is your favorite part of working for Rational Client Support?
Over the past few years it has definitely been teaching KT Resolve to our engineers ... and getting to do that in both India and China as well as Oz.
What inspires you in your work?
Learning. I get bored easily, so the ever present opportunity to learn new things in RCS is what has kept me going.
What are you passionate about?
I think those that know me would say I seem to be able to get fairly passionate about anything I am engaged in 'discussion' on :-)
What tip or trick would you like to share with the class?
"Don't just do something ... stand there!!" -- It's OK to stop and think, especially in our job. Too often I see engineers getting clients to 'do stuff' just to be seen to be doing something.
Tell me about the biggest problem you've solved?
Convincing RCS to adopt KT was a pretty big one.
Tell me about the biggest problem ahead for you?
My son growing up. He's eight now, and he's already got teenage-angst down to an art form ... I'm scared to think of what's coming.
In your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you?
I like to play computer games, strategy mostly as I don't have the reflexes for the action based stuff. Also this year I plan on getting back to playing football (soccer) after a long hiatus.
If you were stuck on a technology deprived island, what single technology could you not live without?
I think the wheel might be pretty handy
What is on your nightstand with regard to reading?
Alpha Beta -- a book about the history of our alphabet and it's impact on our culture
What future technology would make your life easier?
Superconductivity (at 'normal' temperatures ) would change our lives
How do you grow your technical skills?
More reading and listening ... less talking
How do you prefer to find answers to your questions?
Quickly and easily
How are you using social networking today?
Poorly. Actually, that is probably an over-optimistic assessment ... not at all is closer to the truth
How could you see yourself using it in 5 years?
I don't see a lot changing here. This is where my generational-gap shows.
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Passion.... Joe Robinson recently wrote an interesting article on the topic over at the Huffington Post. In that article he posits that "Stocking up on positive events is important because we're usually in a losing battle against the negative avalanche barreling down on us from all sides." In the support world, we often see this exemplified, as we only get calls when there's an issue; no one calls us to tell us when products are working perfectly. I think Joe is on to something with his article, so rather than dwell on the problems sitting in our queues, let's talk a bit about our passions and what really gets us excited.
What ARE our passions in RCS? I'm glad you asked...
For Conny Postma, one of our Accelerated Value Specialists, passion is about her family: "I'm the proud mother of a teenage boy. My husband has been a stay-at-home father for most of the time." But that's not the whole of Conny's passion either as she goes on to note: "That gave me the opportunity my to pursue my other passion: working in Support! I really like to dive into technical issues, while at the same time talking and dealing with real human beings, also called clients and colleagues. But, also I'm very passionate about Astronomy: If time and weather allows I'm staring into the night sky and admiring the wonders of the stars and planets that surround us. That is such a peaceful and relaxing experience... "
Taking a different approach to the question, Kelly Smith, whom you all know as co-author of NFRS and overall knowledge activist, tells us her passions revolve around effective and open knowledge-sharing! She notes: "Email is where knowledge goes to die, says Bill French, and this blog post explains it much better than I ever could. In short, if you are providing an answer, that answer is best captured someplace it can easily be found and reused by others... and usually, that's not in your head or in your inbox. Worse, if it's in MY head, chances are that *I* won't even be able to find it when I need it again. Working smarter means not answering the same question over and over again... but providing the answer once where others can find it."
For myself, I find my passion in various places depending on what my life needs at any given moment. Sometimes I like to dive into a project that involves building or modifying something with my hands, like my latest kick to modify a vintage 1930's phone to a digital system functional for my day to day work. Other times, I have a driving need to create in a more artistic manner, which is where my love for photography comes into play. Even other times, I simply find passion and enjoyment from helping other people solve issues plaguing them; no surprise why I work in support on that one... but more than all, I find passion in writing; communicating thoughts and ideas to the world, be it in blog form, technical documentation, or just day to day correspondences. Of course if I just have to get away and clear my head, I hop on my motorcycle and ride off into the sunset... wheels on the ground, of course.
You've heard a few of ours, now we'd love to hear what -your- passions are. What drives your life beyond work? What passion keeps you coming back to work?
image credit: flickr user SanforaQ8
Rational Team Concert education modules in IBM Education Assistant.
IBM Education Assistant is a collection of multimedia educational modules designed to help you gain a better understanding of IBM software products and use them more effectively to meet your business requirements.
Please check them out and let us know what you think ... either via the feedback mechanism at IEA or by leaving a comment here.
Many thanks to Steven Jin and Pam Barnard!
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Here is a link to the meeting itself (including all of the details):
Please look to attend. Also ... bring a friend. There will be food, drink, a door prize, and some good conversation.
Date: Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Location: IBM Rational, 20 Maguire Road, Lexington, MA 02421
Please come, enjoy some food & drink, network, get educated on a couple of high-level items, and have a chance to win a really cool prize.
Hope to see you there!
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Theory of PVU Licenses :