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 3,972 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!
vskinner 060000VKGS Tags:  clearcase rational interview application_lifecycle_man... config_management alm ibm_business_partner mydw configuration_management cm 4 Comments 4,136 Visits
This week, I'm happy to turn the My developerWorks community spotlight onto Tamir Gefen. He's both a technical innovator and entrepreneur as the founder of GoMidjets, offering end-to-end solutions in the CM and ALM field with add-on products for Rational ClearCase.
Learn more about Tamir in the interview below and you can also find more about him here: My developerWorks profile - Blog - Twitter
What are you currently working on?
Since founding GoMidjets a year ago I have been totally involved in developing the product and the business. Right now we are adding new features to our three Rational ClearCase add-on products. We've also been busy, updating our service offering to customers using IBM Rational products so we can give them best support and service possible. We're also active in opening up new markets, not to mention looking after and deepening our relationship with our customers and business partners.
What inspires you in your work?
First and foremost is the excited feedback I receive from customers and particularly in hearing how we've solved their problems. Just knowing we have simplified and automated processes to make other people work faster and more efficiently, gives me a real kick. I think that giving my clients a better working environment is my main inspiration.
How do you define success?
For me, success is making your dream come true and enjoying every minute of it!
What project are you most proud of ?
That would be my largest project to date- the building a large and complex CM \ ALM system, from scratch for a major international customer. I led the project from planning to implementation. This system has been up and running for two years, serving a sizeable population of users.
Have you ever invented something?
To date, I've invented five add-on products for configuration and change management systems. That's where I started out. Only after I initiated the concepts did I establish Gomidjets, which I' now certain is going to be a leading provider of such add-ons.
How do you use developerWorks?
I use developerWorks as a focused network to communicate with professionals from the Gurus to the users. Though developerWorks, I get to hear what people have to say, learn new ideas, get technical information and more. I like to think I don't just gain from it but also contribute. More than anything, I use it to answer questions in Rational ClearCase and ClearQuest forums. I enjoy solving users' problems.
Are you a blogger in the blogosphere? ... Are you a YouTuber? ...Are you an Author? .... Do you Tweet? ...
I've been a blogger for the last year and a half. It demands lots of effort, but I enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts and I find it very enriching. The feedback and comments I receive give me insight into the state of mind of others. I now tweet too - for the last few months. It enables me to write micro-blogging insights, share ideas and help others.
What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
www.techcrunch.com (Reviewing new Internet products and companies)
www.techpitch.com (Business Technology Showcase)
http://twitter.com/dzone (Fresh links for developers)
I also like to follow funny people like http://twitter.com/sockington
What type of gadgets do you use?
Well, to be honest, I'm not your typical gadget kind of guy. I only use my mobile cell phone and laptop for working!
What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately?
That would be Modu, which is claimed to be the world's lightest mobile phone, with a vision of bringing a fundamental change to the dynamics of the personal communication world. For me, that's really cool!