Yin meets yang
Blog Authors: Valerie Skinner 060000VKGS is part of the IBM developerWorks team, getting to know the real developers who make up the My developerWorks community and exploring the world of social networking. I'm enjoying learning what makes developers tick! I'm very interested in exploring online communities and social media and understanding real world application - how they can help people solve problems and work together.
vskinner 060000VKGS Tags:  jazz rtc rational_team_concert rational interview alm 3 Comments 5,160 Visits
This week get to know Matt Holitza and hear about exciting new things happening around Jazz and Application Lifecycle Management.
Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I'm Matt Holitza, I live in Broomfield, Colorado, where I live with my wife Leanne and my two sons Mason (9) and Jack (5). I'm a solution marketing manager for the Rational brand. Specifically, I evangelize the practice and associated tooling related to Application Lifecycle Management (ALM). I'm currently working on the Jazz million seat march, an initiative to share the power of the Jazz platform with the world by offering a free community edition of our flagship product, Rational Team Concert, for a team of up to 10 developers.
How do you stay in touch with the real life challenges customers are facing?
Well in many ways, before joining IBM I was a Rational customer for about 10 years, so I can draw from my own experiences in that regard. But nothing is more valuable than talking with customers. I frequently attend and speak at the local Rational User Group meeting and also a member of the global Rational User Group. I stay linked in to the popular ALM community sites like developerWorks and CM Crossroads. I also frequently attend trade shows, which provides me with a great opportunity to hear from practitioners and managers about the challenges they are face on a day-to-day basis. In addition, for the past 2 years I have planned the change and configuration management track for Rational's annual conference, Innovate. This provides me with an opportunity to work directly with our customer presenters as they prepare for the conference.
Before working at IBM, you were a QA manager, how does that give you a unique perspective?
I was a QA Manager in my last role, and I've served in many different roles in my career including a COBOL developer, a test automation lead and a Rational ClearQuest administrator, to name a few. As I mentioned earlier, I frequently draw on my own experiences as a sanity check when I'm working on new assets or campaigns. In the software development world, probably more than any other software discipline, the decisions to purchase new tooling is very heavily influenced by practitioners, team leads and first line managers, so my broad background keeps me grounded and more pragmatic. I do often think about how much easier my job as a QA Manager would have been if the Jazz products were available 5 years ago.
How do you think software development will be different in 5 years?
Wow, that's a great question. I think the trend toward distributed development will continue, and at the same time the current concept of outsourcing will dissipate in favor of an expert sourcing model where organizations will onboard and leverage experts wherever they may be located. I also think that Agile practices and tools will be the predominant method of delivering software. To support a distributed Agile paradigm, the application lifecycle management tools will have to evolve so organizations will be able to more effectively collaborate from remote locations. I know that IBM Research is working on a project named Olympus which is intended to take development collaboration to the next level.
Tell me a little bit about Rational Team Concert - what's the coolest thing about it? What is the best-kept secret about it that you wish more people knew?
Well, I've talked a bit about Team Concert already. I've been around Rational for a long time, either as a customer, or now as a member of the marketing team, and I have to say that Rational Team Concert is, by far, the best product we've ever created. Rational Team Concert(RTC) is a lean ALM solution. It has integrated change management, source code control, build automation, interactive planning, real-time dashboards and out-of-the-box Agile process templates.
The coolest thing about Team Concert is that it's free for 10 developers and that it can be adopted as either a full solution or as a collaboration hub for products that a customer may have already invested in. It comes with an out-of-the-box integration to Subversion and Git, which are both popular open source version control tools.
My favorite feature is the interactive release planning. It allows distributed teams to plan, estimate and monitor their releases and iterations as if they were co-located. This planning component comes with a schedule risk assessment feature which allows release managers to predict whether they will be able to deliver on-time using Monte Carlo analysis based on bottoms-up estimates provided by the developers.
Something else I should mention is that Team Concert isn't just for Java shops, it is truly technology agnostic. Team Concert can be used for teams developing Visual Studio.Net, System z or Power (aka System i).
What advice would you give a software development team considering moving to Rational Team Concert?
Team Concert is built using open standards, and as such allows organizations to gradually adopt it as their central change and collaboration hub for development, while still leveraging the investments they've made in their existing tools. So teams don't have to rip and replace, they can adopt Team Concert incrementally.
How are you using social networking today?
I use social networking to connect with our customer communities and other ALM communities. Social networking helps me keep apprised of noteworthy happenings in the ALM world. I also maintain several communities on Facebook - We have a very active Team Concert Facebook fan page. I also leverage Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube to share new offers, videos and promotions with the ALM community.
Are you a gadget junkie? What type of gadgets do you use?
To my wife's angst I'd consider myself an early adopter and so yes I am a bit of a gadget junkie. My favorite gadget is my iTouch, I can now use it as a remote control for my home laptop to watch my favorite TV shows on hulu.com and have since eliminated cable. I also like to hike, for that I use my Garmin Forerunner GPS watch to tell me how far I’ve gone, how high I’ve climbed, average slope, but most importantly now I can also give my boys an exact answer when they ask me “How much further daddy?”
- Thanks Matt!
This week get to know Darrel Rader and learn about the new Rational Community of Practice group he's pioneering on My developerWorks.
Describe a "normal" day for you...
In the 18 years that I've been with Rational, I don't think I've had a "normal" day. That's one of the things that I love about my job ... the variety of opportunities to learn and work with great people. Lately, one of my focus areas has been to find ways to better connect with our clients by establishing these sponsored communities of practice on My developerWorks. Since social networking in a business environment is not well understood, I spend a lot of my time helping people see the value of this new paradigm of learning ... using social and informal learning to leverage expertise without the geographic and time constraints.
How did you come up with the idea to start the new Rational Application Security Community of Practice group on My developerWorks?
We've been looking for ways to connect with our clients in communities for the last 5 or 6 years. Rational and IBM have been using communities of practice as a foundational component of our own internal learning practices. In the last 2 years, social networking technology (like Lotus Connections) has allowed us to build smarter communities that use technology and best practices to break down some of the collaboration challenges.
Can you tell me more about your vision and your plans for the Rational Application Security Community of Practice?
Our vision is to establish an environment where people interested in a specific domain can come together to establish and cultivate learning relationships ... that allow them to learn from each other. This applies to both experts that thrive from connecting with other experts ... and people that are looking to learn from the experts. In a way, it would be like having a user conference like Innovate 2010 all year long.
How are you using social networking today?
I use social networking to stay connected with people that I want and need to connect with ... whether that's for my personal relationships or for my business relationships. I'm really excited about how online groups, blogs, shared bookmarks, feeds, tags, etc allow people to connect with people and build learning relationships in ways that were extremely difficult 5 years ago.
What's your biggest inspiration lately?
Great question. I've read some great books lately that inspire me ... like Crowdsourcing by Jeff Howe and Drive by Daniel Pink. The latest inspiration that I had was while attending Innovate ... Dean Kamen's keynote on how our technical community can make a real difference in the world. He is founder for FIRST ( For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).
- Thanks Darrel!