In my first post on "Personality on the job"
, I talked about the first principle - Accepting that people are different! The second principle is "Know yourself".
A relationship is a two-way interaction, and you are one half of that interaction. It does no good to merely observe and understand others, if you don't understand the role you are playing too. One way to get to know yourself is to take a personality test. There are many out there, and I'll include a list at the bottom of my post. But taking a personality test isn't required - start by looking in the mirror!
Here are some questions to help you explore who you are on the job:
- What do you enjoy working on? What activities make you "lose time", looking up and realizing hours have gone by?
- What makes you energized? What are you most passionate about?
- What drags you down, sucks your energy, bums you out?
- What makes you see red?
- Do you like to work in quiet solitude? Or frenetic activity with lots of people around?
- Do you jump in and solve a problem on the fly, or think about it first?
- Do you feel compelled to work through every detail? Or do you prefer to look at the big picture?
- Do you tend to plan things out in advance? Or go with the flow?
- Is it natural for you to lead a team effort? Or do you like to join in and follow someone else?
- Do you like a defined roadmap? Or do you like to blaze your own trail?
Cut yourself some slack
Remember the first principle was accepting that people are different? Now, accept that you are different. You can change some things about yourself, and probably should, but many things are just the way you're hardwired. Don't fight it - work with it.
For example... I work with people alot, but I'm an introvert and I can get worn out. As much as I wish this wasn't the case - but it is, so I have to work with it and schedule in down time when I'm not in meetings. Make the most of what you've got
Once you understand basic things about yourself, you can start to put those to use. If you enjoy working on the start of a project, conceiving it in the brainstorming phase - try to find areas where you can apply that. If you're passionate about perfecting things with testing and trouble-shooting, look for opportunities to do that. If working on detailed reports drives you nuts and slows you down, see if you can pass that on to another team member who eats spreadsheets for lunch.
For example... I've discovered, I enjoy analyzing data. That might sound dry to you, but as a kid, I loved Nancy Drew books, and I think something about putting together puzzles and playing the detective gets me going! So I volunteer to do a little data analysis when the need comes up. Know your hot buttons - then cool down
We all have hot buttons that short circuit logic and go straight to our gut. They might make us feel frustrated, angry, or deflated. Many times, these hot buttons aren't serious, just the kind of thing that irks you because of your particular personality! Unfortunately, the instant emotions hot buttons evoke can cause a meltdown over something minor. Pinpoint your hot buttons, so that when they get triggered, you can remind yourself that this isn't worth arguing about - it's just a personality quirk.
For example... Years ago, I received a flaming ALL CAPS email that was very pushy and critical and it seemed the entire universe was copied on it. I felt like I was being run over with a bulldozer. I received wise advice to just pick up the phone and talk to the person, instead of trying to defend myself in email. Looking back, I can see that this is just the way this person dealt with everyone - it wasn't directed especially at me. And since I now recognize I can be thin-skinned, when things like this happen again, I don't take a forceful style personally and get upset - just focus on solving the problem.
Want to get to know yourself better? Here are three free online personality tests:4 question personality test
(for those of you short on time...)Keirsey Temperament SorterHumanMetrics Jung Typology Test
This week get to know Mike Watson, a blogger who writes about ILOG and Supply Chain Management. Learn more about Michael and connect with him on his My developerWorks profile
and his blog
. Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I'm Mike Watson. Our group joined IBM when IBM acquired ILOG in 2009. Our group within IBM focuses on optimization and supply chain solutions. For example, we help companies determine the correct inventory levels, determine the best number and location of their warehouses, figure out the best place to make a product, figure out how to schedule the factory, determine what should be stocked on the shelves at your local retailer, optimally route trucks, and get empty shipping containers back to where they are needed. The IBM community has been very welcoming and right now, we are working with these various groups in IBM so they can bring these solutions to their clients.What is one of the most interesting or creative projects you've seen use ILOG Optimization and Supply Chain management solutions?
We've worked on a lot of interesting problems over the years. What I'm always impressed with is how our projects help companies perform better and how much visibility these projects bring in an organization. For example, we recently helped with a large merger and our results were taken past the Board of Directors and on to the US Dept of Justice. A large retailer recently redesigned their warehouse network and the project was mentioned in the Letter to Shareholders. We've helped several national banks figure out how to move their trucks full of cash around most efficiently (lots of people would like to know where those trucks were going!!), A commodity gas producer had to figure out how to best swap customers with their competitors. Our ILOG optimization was featured on a NBC news piece when it was used to better figure out how to allocate kidney's to patients. Are you noticing any new developments or trends in Supply Chain Management?
It is interesting how the field of Supply Chain Management keeps moving. Over the last several years, we've seen more emphasis on measuring and optimizing the carbon footprint of the supply chain and better incorporating tax rates into strategic decisions. Technically, we are seeing firms apply more advanced analytics on a more regular basis. For example firms used to do advanced analytics on their supply chain every couple of years. Now, they are able to apply this technology on an on-going basis.
But, most recently, we see supply chain managers thinking about flexibility in their supply chain. The founder of our group, David Simchi-Levi, has a book coming out this summer
where he talks to this issue. Specifically, flexibility is a key concept that lets firms link the value they provide to their customers with their supply chain strategy. The products we offer help customers better understand flexibility in their supply chain. Tell me about your blog on developerWorks - the IBM ILOG Optimization and Supply Chain Solutions blog...
With a worldwide set of customers and clients, partners, and IBMers wanting to know what is going on with ILOG Optimization and Supply Chain, we have found that the blog is good way of keeping everyone up-to-date. We get a lot of feedback on the blog and a lot of ideas on what people want to hear about. - Thanks Michael!
The holidays are approaching... I'm getting ready to play Santa and in the mood for a little fun! I'm hoping my friends at My developerWorks can help... I want to compile a fun list of the best gifts for geeks.
Leave a comment to add your ideas!
Here are my gift ideas for geeks this holiday season: Voltaic System's Solar Powered Backpack
(and check out this cool developerWorks podcast interview
with Voltaic System's Jeff Crystal)Battlestar Galactica - the complete series in Blu-ray
(most geeks I know, including myself, love this show!) Your own remote telescope Web Geek's Guide to the Android-Enabled Phone The Social Media t-shirt that says it all
(after all if we can't laugh at ourselves, what's the point?) Map your DNA with the Genographic Project KitChocolate covered coffee beans
(for deadlines & late nights)
This week get to know Jonas Martinsson, a product manager at Mainsoft creating integration with software platforms from IBM, Microsoft and Google. Connect with Jonas at:His profile on My developerWorksTwitterHis blogTell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I am a product manager at Mainsoft
, where we create products integrating various software platforms from IBM, Microsoft and Google. We focus on making collaboration easy and ubiquitous for end-users. What first sparked your interest in technology?
My parents got me a Commodore 64 in the eighties, on which I spent endless hours developing programs around my ideas. Ever since those days, my fascination for technology has fueled innovative product ideas. I frequently update a huge document named "Projects for a Rainy Day". I hope to eventually get a chance to work on a couple of them.Tell me about one of your favorite Mainsoft integrations with IBM products that you've worked on...
Having to choose one, I'd say the integration between Lotus Notes and SharePoint.
If you're like the majority of knowledge workers, you send and receive document attachments on a daily basis. You probably never reflect on alternative approaches, but with this solution you put the documents on the collaboration server, and send document links to your colleagues instead. This makes a lot of sense on many different levels; for example, you will avoid parallel conflicts when many editors are collaboration on a document, while simplifying your Inbox.As a former software developer, what do you think about Jazz and the movement towards collaborative development?
I am excited to see how Jazz
changes the landscape for developers. For Java developers, I see Jazz as the natural choice for development environment. What I love most about Jazz is its great balance between getting up to speed quickly and assisting you to use a proven development process.You have a long-standing interest in agile, with a master's thesis on the Capability Maturity Model (CMM). What's happening in agile these days that you're keeping an eye on?
In its early days, agile had a bad reputation in the higher echelon of organizations. It was a grassroots movement back then. I am thrilled to see agile becoming ubiquitous in the IT sector. Actually, the situation has changed so much now that we have an opposite problem; organizations claim agility, even if they just adopt a subset of the agile values. That's why I think the next logical step for the agile community should be to clearly communicate what agile is. The agile manifesto is a good start, but we need more.
The biggest challenge for a truly agile adoption is, and has always been, that it requires a shift in the organization's culture. I don't believe that there is a uniform approach to successfully tackling this critical challenge.
I am also happy to see ideas from my thesis on integrating agile and the CMM finally being resonated, with initiatives such as Scott Ambler's Agile Scaling Model.You worked as a software developer before becoming a product manager - How are these two roles different? Is there anything you miss about being a software developer?
I couldn't have been a successful software product manager without a developer background. This knowledge helps me to understand the possibilities, challenges and limitations of the development teams. What I love most about being a product manager is that I have a full picture of the organizational goals and efforts, and an important role to play for any future success. And, I have natural contact points with everyone in the organization.
I confess that I miss working with code from time to time. When I do, I spend time on my personal, award-winning project FeedJournal
, where anyone can generate a personal newspaper from a set of favorite feeds. Running a micro-ISV like this is an amazing opportunity to get practice performing a bunch of different roles, from marketing to QA. How do you use developerWorks?
Beside following interesting bloggers, such as Scott Ambler
, our company uses My developerWorks internally to dogfood our integration product between Rational Jazz and Lotus Connections
. I also enjoy listening to the developerWorks podcasts
while commuting. How do you use social networking in your day to day life?
I am writing for several blogs, and I am active on Twitter
. I am also consuming over a hundred news feeds. I use Google Reader for shorter news alerts type feeds, and FeedJournal for really digesting longer articles. With the large amount of information that hits me daily, this is the only approach that works for me.I've had a chance to interview a few people working in IT in Israel, and I've been very fascinated by the hotbed of high tech entrepreneurship happening there. What's it like working at a software company in Israel?
I spent the first ten years of my career in the Swedish IT industry. When I moved to Israel, I was in a good position to learn the differences between Swedish and Israel approaches to software development and organizational structure. Generally speaking, Israelis are entrepreneurially strong and amazing at working hard to reach early success. This is why we're seeing so many Israeli startups scoring risk capital and gaining exposure on the TechCrunch scene.
One of the strengths of the Swedish software organization is process awareness. The Swedish mindset is focused, organized and methodological, a recipe which earns rewards as companies grow and become more mature.One of the things you are interested in is existential risk - now that would keep me up at night! Has the topic of existential risk changed the way you view your work in IT or vice versa?
Existential risk is an area I became interested in a couple of years ago. It is obviously difficult to underestimate the importance of this subject, if we do, it is game over. So far, I haven't had the opportunity to combine this interest with my software development background, but a lofty dream is to in any way contribute to our survival as a species.
I have to say, checking out your blog, you're a very interesting guy, with such a wide range of interests, from writing to chess to agile to piano to existential risk. How do these other pursuits help keep you sharp?
Thank you. I feel I am always obsessing over something. I guess that doing this, diving deep into interests, helps me to stay sharp.- Thanks Jonas!
I'll admit, in spite of working for IBM, and being exposed to many Smarter Planet
ideas, messages, and examples, there are times I struggle to "get it". And then sometimes a light pops on in my mind... This time it was inspired by FlashForward
, a tv show... yes, a tv show.
A little background here... I'm a Lost nut. I've watched it religiously since epi 1. In fact, I now feel compelled to check out anything springing from the creative loins of JJ Abrams. So yes, I went to see Star Trek this summer. And thus, I'm now a Fringe nut too (if you liked X-Files once upon a time, give it a try.) When I saw previews for FlashForward, I wasn't dazzled or intrigued. But I watched and lo and behold I'm now hooked despite the totally bizarre premise - that a "global event" occurs where everyone goes unconscious and has a vision of the future for 2 minutes and 17 seconds - they refer to it as a flash forward. So, ummm... what does FlashForward the tv show have to do with IT and Smarter Planet?
Naturally, the FBI rushes in to investigate and they build a web site called Mosaic to allow anyone in the world to voluntarily describe what they saw during their individual "flash forward". Millions of people respond and now with everyone entering their experiences into Mosaic, the data is now searchable and available to create a big picture view of the event around the world. As a side note, ABC has actually created a fictional Mosaic web site
to help promote the show...
I didn't consider the Mosaic web site concept until several episodes in, where it struck me that this REALLY is the future, and is an amazing, if fictional, example of Web 2.0 (or is it Web 3.0, I'm never sure where that line is crossed) and how IT can create a smarter planet. Crowd-sourcing, collective wisdom, whatever you call it... It's real people coming together, voluntarily sharing information in a single repository, for a united purpose.
I have a friend with a chronic disease that is complicated and in desperate need of years of scientific research to even begin to understand - the story of many diseases and not enough research dollars to go around. It inspired me to think, what if you could set up a web site like Mosaic where everyone with that disease went in and entered info like their symptoms, related diseases, what treatments they've tried, what worked, what didn't, etc. They could update it over a period of years with their ongoing information. You could have a running giant database of info, instead of a tiny selected scientific study group.
The way this COULD change science, research, and medicine is incredible if you could combine researchers + technology + willing participants.
The way research is done today is very controlled, and of course you'd have to give up some of that control. It would require you to trust people to tell the truth - but why wouldn't they if they have a disease and want to find a cure? And then there is the issue of who owns the data (is it a university, a pharmaceutical company, a government?). But what if instead of controlling this data, it was open - like an open source health project? If you could get past pre-conceived establishment notions of medical research you could have data on a million people over 10 years,instead of a hundred people over 3 months! Wouldn't that completely change the game?
Does anyone know of real-life examples of Mosaic-like projects going on out there?
Into Java? You won't want to miss this interview with Chris Bailey
, an IBM Java Client Support Architect. He's been helping out developers in the Java Runtimes and SDKs forum
for many years and just recently began blogging on My developerWorks
.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
Hi. My name is Chris Bailey, and I'm part of the Java Technology Center (JTC) team in IBM. The JTC is based in locations over five countries, from Ottawa in Canada through to Shanghai in China. I'm based at the Hursley Park Development Lab in the UK. I'm very lucky in that I have a fairly broad remit, so I get to work on a range of things. My "day job"is as the technical architect for the IBM Java service and support organisation, which is primarily responsible for fixing bugs in the IBM Java deliverables but also has a wider scope to enable IBM Java users to delivery successful application deployments. That second part means I'm also involved in our work to deliver new debugging capabilities and tools, improve the documentation, handle requirements, and look at the wider quality of IBM Java.What Java resources does IBM offer that you think more people should know about?
There's a few things that have been around for a while that I'm not sure are widely known about, in particular the IBM Development Package for Eclipse
and the IBM Java Runtimes and SDKs forum
. The development package gives you a version of Eclipse that uses the IBM Java SDK, which means you can develop with the same Java that you deploy with, and you can use the debugging capabilities during development. The forum provides a a great way to ask questions about IBM Java and provide feedback in to problems your seeing and changes you think should be made. There's also a lot of relatively new stuff. In the last year or so we've delivered a whole set of new tooling: Garbage Collection and Memory Visualizer (GCMV), Memory Analyzer, Health Center and Diagnostic Collector, and we've also released new how-to style documentation in the Java Troubleshooting Guide.Is there anything new the IBM Java Technology Centre (JTC) is working on?
There's lots going on at the moment in a whole range of areas. There's a big focus on usability, so we're working on improving the documentation. expanding the tooling and debugging capabilities, and leading JSR 326 / the Apache Kato project to provide a diagnostics API for writing tools. We're doing a lot of work on garbage collection and performance, providing deterministic Java in WebSphere Real Time and looking at scalability. There's continuing work with the open source community through the Apache Harmony
projects and we're also working on other languages on Java, particularly PHP which is available as part of WebSphere sMash
. Oh, and of course there's the work to deliver Java 7.0 which is in full swing.
Add to that the impending acquisition on Sun by Oracle and you can see that its an interesting place to be at the moment!Tell me about your blog on My developerWorks...
The Java service and support organisation spends a lot of time debugging and troubleshooting Java applications and deployments. The "IBM on troubleshooting Java applications" blog
is aimed at taking some of the knowledge we've built up on best practices and debugging techniques and sharing that with the wider Java user community. Hopefully some of the information covered will help developers to troubleshoot bugs more easily, and allow them to provide us with valuable feedback on some of the tools and debug capabilities!How do you use developerWorks?
I use developerWorks both as a way of communicating what's going on with IBM Java: developerWorks hosts the formal downloads and documentation, I moderate the "IBM Java Runtimes and SDKs" forum
, and I've written a couple of articles in IBM Java in the past; and as a way of keeping up with what else is going on with Java technology: I follow a number of the article feeds, including Java technology, WebSphere and Open source. Hopefully with My developerWorks
it will get much easier to communicate with users of IBM Java.How did you get started in the IT industry?
It's pretty boring I'm afraid. I did a degree in Electronic Engineering at Southampton University and joined IBM through the graduate recruitment program. I've been working with Java ever since.
Who was your first service provider? When did you first access the internet?
Er, probably Demon Internet using an 18K modem, probably around 1993.What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
I use both Facebook and LinkedIn, and I follow a number of sites through feeds: BBC News
, The Register
, UK Climbing
, a few forums and some blogs. I've not progressed as far as using Twitter yet.What future technology would make your life easier?
I'm finding time management to be a bigger and bigger problem. It used to be a case of just dealing with your work items and meetings whilst trying to stop the the daily deluge of email getting in the way. With all the new productivity and collaboration tools, the downside is that there's many more sources of incoming work and time pressure, so anything that can organise and prioritise work load better would be great.So you love rock climbing - what's the most adventurous or challenging climb you've done so far?
For the last 3 years or so, yeah. One of the great things about climbing is that it takes you to countries (or
parts of countries) that you wouldn't normally visit - it takes you off the
tourist trail. So far, outside of the UK, I've climbed in Spain, Portugal,
France and Sardinia and whilst those aren't off the beaten track in themselves, the bits that I've
been to probably are.Star Wars or Star Trek?
Star Wars. The special effects in the original Star Wars films were ground breaking, yet they were used to improve the story rather than the story being there to showcase the technology. More technology should be used that way!Thanks Chris!
Very cool! developerWorks
has entered the Forrester Groundswell Awards competition in the Business to Consumer "Supporting" category, for web sites that help customers support each other to solve problems. The Forrester Groundswell Awards are all about examples of excellent and effective use of social technologies to advance an organizational or corporate goal.
As a My developerWorks
fan and someone trying to learn more every day about social technologies, I'm proud to see developerWorks in the running.
Check out the IBM developerWorks submission here: http://groundswelldiscussion.com/groundswell/awards2009/landing.php?sc=4
And don't forget to add your review or vote on your favorite entries for the Groundswell awards!
This week get to know Roland Barcia
, the lead Web 2.0 Architect for IBM Software Services for WebSphere - he's up to his elbows in technology, working with customers to build end to end Web 2.0 style architecture.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
My name is Roland Barcia and I am the lead Web 2.0 Architect for IBM Software Services for WebSphere. My main job is to help enable our WebSphere customers with Web 2.0 Based technologies. I also focus on enabling our ISSW consultants and other parts of IBM on these technologies as well. In addition, I focus on application development programming models. I also take many of the requirements from customers and help drive future enhancements to our WebSphere products to help serve our customers. I am currently focusing on technologies such as the Dojo Toolkit, JAX-RS, EJB 3, JPA, OSGi, and various other programming models. I am currently working with multiple customers helping build end to end Web 2.0 style architecture. So you presented over 10 labs and sessions at Impact 2010! I'm really impressed. What were the most interesting developments at Impact this year from your point of view?
So with so many presentations, I was really busy and had less time to attend sessions myself. That said, my favorite part of Impact were the round table meet the experts sessions. Specifically, talking to the customers and learning what they liked and what they didn't like. From my point of view, seeing Web 2.0 based technologies become really mainstream with our customers was very important. It has moved beyond "future" stage and people are actually building rich internet applications, adopting REST, and making the middleware lean and mean. This adoption is not just with plain web applications, but even in the BPM realm. Your applications are so much better positioned for scalability, social networks and cloud computing when you use Web 2.0 architectures.What new technologies are you most intrigued by?
There are many areas that I am most intrigued by. I am following HTML 5/CSS 3 closely and seeing what affect it has on the open web. I am intrigued by the success of native mobile app models. Focusing on good REST API's at this phase is key because it will opening you up to various UI channels. Do you think it's more important to go broad or deep with your IT skills?
Ultimately, you need people who can do both. I think a person should have a set of technologies they go deep on and enough breadth to know how it all works together. Tell me about your favorite IT project...
I am not really sure I have a favorite project. I like projects where my coworkers become friends and we work together. I have been fortunate to have some really fun engagements with fun people. Since 2004 you've written numerous articles for developerWorks... What first inspired you to start writing?
My first developerWorks article
was actually published in 2002. Before IBM, I never thought of publishing. One of my mentors, Kyle Brown, suggested it and I really liked it. I found I could reach more and more people this way than I could dong pure consulting. How do you use developerWorks?
I read and write articles and comment lines, I read several blogs, I have my own blog on developerWorks called Web 2.0 and Middleware
. I like to use my blog when I can to get thoughts out in a less structured way.How would you say social networking has changed the way you work?
So I would say I use Twitter
as a pointer to content I have written or want to point people to. I think this is the biggest value of Twitter, that it provides a live stream of headlines that I can push to the masses. Facebook, on the other hand I tend to use much less for work, and more for connecting with friends. However, the fact that content is now available in the form of feeds provides an easy way for me to duplicate content. For example, my Blog Feed is fed into my Notes section of Facebook and allows other readers to access my content. What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?http://www.ajaxian.comhttp://www.infoq.comhttp://www.ibm.com/developerworkshttp://www.dojotoolkit.org/blog/http://www.fairviewgospelchurch.orghttp://twitter.com/gracetoyouhttp://twitter.com/RayComfort
Follow many of my colleagues twitter accounts.http://www.yankees.comCan you share something about yourself that most people don't know about you?
I did not try chocolate for the first time till well into my late 20's. - Thanks Roland!
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!
This week I'm pleased to bring you a look into the mind of one of IBM's Master Inventors, Barry Whyte, who's been driving innovation in the area of Storage and shares his insights in a blog on My developerWorks.
Connect with Barry: Barry Whyte's profile on My developerWorks Barry Whyte's blog Barry Whyte on Twitter Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on
I was born in Glasgow, Scotland and studied Computing Science at the University of Glasgow. I joined IBM the year I graduated and have been working in the now Systems and Technology Group (under many different names) since 1996. During my 14 years I have worked solely in the area of Storage, having various development, test and field support roles on the Serial Storage Architecture (SSA) products, the IBM DS8000 range and since 2000 on the industry leading Storage Virtualization appliance, the SAN Volume Controller (SVC)
. I am currently a product architect for SVC, specialising in performance. Day to day this can mean tuning code, writing new code, of course benchmarking the product and guiding storage strategy.What projects have you worked on that were exceptionally exciting for you?
SVC itself is a great product, as it allows us to sell our vision to customers using other vendors products, and keep them... 18 months ago I proposed and developed a backroom project to demonstrate the ability of a scale-out architecture like SVC when it comes to very high performance Solid State Disks.What do you think is the next revolution in storage?
In the Storage domain we've always had a battle with application administrators, especially database admins. Going back 15 years DB admins would ask for their volumes to be placed on the inner, or outer edge of the disk - i.e. they wanted the best performance and had to know how the storage was laid out. As we moved to RAID technologies this became less important, and with virtualized storage there is a whole new abstraction layer between application and spindle. This is going to change again, as storage adds smart tiering functions - basically analyse the data workload for given "chunks" of storage, and then move that to the correct tier. This becomes more important with the performance (and price) differential between SSD and traditional HDD. This is coming in 2010, but looking further out, maybe 5-10 years, the next revolution will be whatever fundamental technology replaced NAND as a storage block. Todays SSDs are NAND flash based, but this is far from ideal as a low level storage technology. I see a few things coming through research that are going to displace NAND as the SSD technology of choice.How do you think innovations in storage will change life for an everyday person?
It's difficult to relate enterprise Storage innovation back to everyday people. You could say SSD innovation has already come to everyday users with our Blackberry's, iPhones, MP3 players and digital video recording - all to NAND based SSD. But storage at an enterprise level is just "assumed" - i.e. you wouldn't be happy if your bank forgot your account details - 24x7 reliable storage is just taken for granted. I guess inovations in storage, such as SVC and smart tiering will free up money within enterprises, so they can spend it on innovation elsewhere?Do you have any particular methods or approaches you like to use when trying to come up with creative solutions to problems?
I read a great book "The Medici Effect" by Frans Johansson
- the basic idea is that the most innovative solutions come from combining ideas from very different disciplines. For example IT and say Biology.How do you use developerWorks?
My main uses of developerWorks are for my blog, and other blogs, but we are working on a new Group for SVC users, so its likely I'll be spending more time in the Groups and discussion boards.How are you using social networking today?My blogging
is obviously trying to provide a "voice from inside development" out to our end users. Not a typical marketing or sales person, but someone who works with and uses the products day to day. Someone they can hopefully connect with on the same level. I've been using Twitter
for a couple of years, mainly storage related, but its a great information source, and to find new people with similar interests and new views. Facebook is great for keeping touch with old friends.What inspired you to start blogging? And what is it about blogging that you find rewarding enough to keep doing it?
Other vendor FUD slinging. (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) I found I was replying to other peoples blogs, correcting their mistakes and basically standing up for IBM and SVC. One of them suggested I get my own blog, and that was that. I also found it frustrating when other people moderated your reply - presumably they didn't like what I was saying, so somewhere I could get my voice heard seemed a great idea. I've kept blogging as I've been amazed at how many people are interested in what I want to say - almost 1000 people a day visit one or other of my blog posts, which I find amazing. I must be saying something interesting, and I've found it a great way to solicit feedback about our products - both bad and good.What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately?
Sad to say, but the power of the next generation of Intel Xeons (yet to be released).What publications / websites do you read / visit?
Other than the storage bloggers, in my regular read list are various Formula 1 websites (I know its not a huge sport in the US, but oval racing doesn't do it for me!) Magazine wise I have a subscription to Custom PC.When you're not working, what hobbies or interests do you enjoy?
The family takes up most of my time these days (7 and 5 year olds) and when I can I get out with my son to play golf. I used to play a lot and got down to a handicap of 10, but these days its creeping back up. My son is obsessed with Lego, and we spend a lot of time building things. My home PC is always getting some tuning work too.- Thanks Barry!
I'm excited to unveil the first of what I hope are many interviews with members of My developerWorks. Let me know what you think about it...
This week, we're putting the spotlight on Gary Barnett.
Gary is the technology analyst and CTO at the Bathwick Group
and he's recently started a blog on My developerWorks
. Learn more about Gary in the interview below and you can also find out more about him here: Visit his profile and add him to your colleagues
-Visit his blog
- Follow on Twitter What project are you most proud of ?
I was once put in charge of a post-prod support team of 60 developers, with an 8 month backlog of work-items.
In 6 months we'd managed to reduce the backlog to 1 day for Severity ones, and two weeks for all others.
It was the toughest job I've ever had - the team I joined was demoralised, undervalued and generally unhappy but we got it done with a combination of pizza and coke, reducing the team to 20 people and returning the others to development, weekly prizes (one for the biggest effort, one for the best fix and one for the biggest screw-up) and a really really strict rule about bouncing proper bugs back to the people who'd had the temerity to put them into production in the first place...
Regarding the prizes - As it happens, HR stopped me from taping a giant inflatable banana to the monitor of the person who made the biggest screw-up in the preceding week, because they were worried I was creating a "hostile working environment" - despite the fact that I'd had it taped to my monitor more times than anyone else!Have you ever invented something?
Not quite "invented" But I've just finished the prototype for a circuit board with an on-board microcontroller and GPS chip that can control up to 6 servos either via "autopilot" or radio-modem. A project that began when my son got a radio controlled boat for
his birthday and asked if he could turn the lights on and off and operate the crane remotely.
I often wonder how many projects begin with the words"Sure! How hard can that be?"Are you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use?
Not normally a gadget person, but I am a crazed iPhone addict and evangelist. There's very little in the iPhone that RIM or Nokia couldn't have done before - But Apple just out-designed them.... now the best that RIM can do is create an "imitation iPhone" (and IMHO the Storm blows when compared to the iPhone). A very important lesson in innovation - you can't do it once and then stop, you have to keep on doing it.What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
Too many to list! I have nearly 100 blogs in my RSS feeder, I follow 50 people on twitter. I do have to mention, though, James Governor's "Monkchips" (http://www.redmonk.com/jgovernor/) very smart, interesting guy who I admire a lot (Of course I don't agree with him all the time... but he's worth a read).
I'm on twitter as "thinkovation"Who was your first service provider
In 1988 I snaffled my girlfriend's university dial-up account, then joined Compuserve.When did you first access the internet?
1989 - Don't remember calling it "the internet" back then!Email or text messaging?
Oh lots of both! Love texting tho.Star Wars or Star Trek?
This week, get to know Lee Ackerman
. He talks about his passion for Patterns Based Engineering that resulted in co-authoring a book, plus what he's working on now with pureXML. What drew you to a career in technology?
Personal computers were becoming prominent as I was growing up. Between trying to write some code on TI99/4a's, Vic20's, Commodore 64's and playing video games – I've always been drawn to computers and technology. I still have fond memories of getting issues of Compute magazine and trying to use some of the code for the games they published each month. So it was a natural progression to go from these interests into taking technical courses at elementary school, high school and university and then finding related career opportunities. Congratulations on the publication of your new book on Patterns Based Engineering! What is Patterns Based Engineering all about and what sparked your interest in it?
Thanks! Myself and my co-author, Celso Gonzalez, are quite excited to have the book completed and shipping. The idea behind Patterns-Based Engineering (PBE) is that we need to be systematic, disciplined and look to quantify our efforts in using patterns to create software solutions. Where a pattern is a proven, best practice solution to a known, recurring problem – within a specific context. The patterns that we look to use can either be a specification – a formal, written document that describes the pattern. Or, we can look to use a pattern implementation – where we have an automated version of the pattern. As part of the PBE effort, we look to bring together an optimal mix of pattern implementations and pattern specifications – while incorporating a combination of patterns that we find available in the community along with those patterns that are unique to our organization.
I had been using patterns in my development efforts for many years – and had seen some of the struggles that existed in getting an entire organization to learn about and then successfully use patterns. Along the way, I began to work with the Rational modeling tools – and spent a great deal of time in helping others to use these tools. A key aspect of working with these tools was the ability to automate patterns – both in terms of impacting the design in UML, but also in generating solution artifacts such as code, scripts, and other text-based materials.What tools do you think are essential for Patterns Based Engineering?
A good place to start is recognizing that having the right mindset is the most essential aspect to success with Patterns-Based Engineering (PBE). We need to be on the lookout for opportunities to use patterns and to capture new patterns. And it needs to be a mindset that goes beyond just an individual – we need teams and organizations thinking about what patterns are available, which need to be captured and where it makes sense to invest in capturing/using patterns.
With such a mindset in place, we can then look at how we use patterns. At its simplest, we can look to use pattern specifications – written, formal descriptions of patterns. In terms of tools – we can get by with tools as simple as an editor and some shared online space.
As we look to automate and grow out our efforts, we can look to use tools such as Rational Software Architect and Rational Asset Manager to help us in creating, using and managing our patterns.
In addition to the PBE book, we've also written a development practice that details the roles, tasks, work products and key concepts associated with PBE. To read the content in the practice, all that's needed is a standard web browser. However, we can take things much further if we use products such as Eclipse Process Framework Composer or Rational Method Composer. These tools allow us to customize the practice – AND – we can integrate the practice with other practices (such as Scrum, XP, etc). This enables us to create a process that is unique and specific to our organization.
What was the experience of writing a book like - what were the biggest surprises?
Writing a book was a great experience. It helps to have a great partner to work with – I'd expect that it would be a much more difficult project to try and handle the writing on your own. Going into this effort, myself and Celso had collaborated on a number of projects in the past – so we had a very good working relationship already in place. This provided us with a good foundation to build upon.
Some of the things that stand out from this experience include:
- Willingness of others to help out. We had many people along the way take time to provide us with their thoughts and input.
- Find tools that can help. We used a number of products to help us. This was especially important as this was a distributed effort – we don't live in the same city. So it was critical to have tools that supported us in communicating, sharing artifacts, and versioning our content.
- And the last item – which was the biggest surprise – was just the length of time and amount of effort that went into the process. Overall we took over a couple of years to go from initial writing of the book proposal to having the book completed and shipping. In addition, during this timeframe we would spend many a night and weekend moving the project forward. How do you use developerWorks?
I'm a big fan of developerWorks. In writing the book, we used developerWorks for some of our research – accessing articles, tutorials, blogs and RedBooks. In working for IBM, one way I use developerWorks is for staying up-to-date and performing research. I also use developerWorks to help connect with the audience that I'm helping with the IBM software products. For many years – that meant writing articles and tutorials in support of Rational Software Architect and Rational Application Developer. More recently, I've been focused on the pureXML capabilities of DB2. For pureXML, we've also been taking advantage of some of the newer aspects that developerWorks provides such as Wikis and Forums.
What new topics or areas are you learning about right now?
I've recently joined a team within our Information Management group that focuses on helping customers and partners in using XML within their solution. In particular we look to help in using the pureXML capabilities of DB2. XML is pervasive in today's solutions – so I'm looking at how we can construct end to end solutions that best take advantage of XML. So in addition to diving into the details of DB2, OLTP, XQuery, SQL/XML, XPath and XSLT – I'm also looking at how this best works with application servers, SOA, Web 2.0 and industry standards.
And in bringing these full circle, I'm also working on a project focused on the patterns that surface in creating solutions that incorporate XML. Hopefully, I'll be able to get some articles on dW that discuss the results of this effort.How are you using social networking today?
I'm trying to find the aspects of social networking that work best for me. Right now, I'm using Twitter (@lmackerman
), LinkedIn, and have a couple of blogs (http://patternsbasedengineering.net/
). With these tools – the focus has been on connecting with others and finding/sharing information. What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
Here's a few of my favorites:
1. Grady Booch's blog
- Grady typically touches upon a range of items related to software architecture.
2. Native XML Database
- Matthias Nicola, author of the pureXML Cookbook, posts to this site – adding details on working with XML and the pureXML capabilities of DB2
– news, opinion and analysis of the tech news
4. WebSphere Community blog
- in particular, they have some excellent coverage of the WebSphere XML Feature Pack – for working with XML in the middle tier.
- Thanks Lee!
This week, get to know Erwan Paccard a product manager for IBM ILOG visualization products.
Connect with Erwan on:His My developerWorks profileIBM ILOG Elixir blogTwitterTell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I’m Erwan Paccard, a product manager within the IBM ILOG visualization group which was acquired by IBM in 2009. My day-to-day job is to plan out the future of our user interface products: we develop and sell software components used by developers to expedite their application development. To get a better idea of what we do, you can look at some live samples
.What's your favorite aspect of your work?
The sum of it all in fact. From feeling where the technology is going, to market needs evolutions, to business cases creation and talks with as many customers and prospects as possible, to close interactions with R&D to see concepts and ideas come to life, to interactions with sales and customers to see how a large team efforts lead to great revenue for us and achievements for our customers.Tell me a little bit about ILOG Elixir - what's the coolest thing about it? What is the best-kept secret about ILOG that you wish more people knew?
The end user reactions, hearing end users saying "that's what I've been waiting for so long" is truly rewarding. That comes from a complex set of steps: from focusing on people's need (both from a feature and user experience standpoints, to having the right implementation to deliver features and performance) to having the right price and go to market. Fail one step and the whole value chain is broken.Tell me about one of the most creative or interesting uses of ILOG that you've seen?
Eye catching and fun to use energy consumption dashboards. An engaging experience help people use it so it helps achieve the goal of having less energy consumed. I also came across some developers who made some mobile applications: can't say in how many pockets we are now :-)You blog on the IBM ILOG Elixir blog - what do you think about blogging so far?
Overall it's good experience and rewarding to see that you have hundreds of readers a few hours after you did a new post.How do you use developerWorks?
We use it as an essential ingredient for the sales process. We have demos
, a blog
and a forum
and all of that adds up to convey as much information as needed to our customers. When they come to contact us, it's usually only to know the price, that means a better experience for our customers. What publications / websites do you read / visit?
I follow 50 accounts or so on Twitter
for the "real time aspect of it". I also track blogs in the market segments we're in.What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately?Google TV
caught my attention lately, I would definitely like to have those features in my next TV.When you're not working, do you have any special interests you like to spend time on?
It will sound like a French cliche but good friends at home with a nice meal and fine wine is one of my favorite occupations. Having said that, having two young kids will help keep you busy after work hours.- Thanks Erwan!
This week, I'm privileged to share an interview with John Swanson
, the managing editor of the English language developerWorks newsletter. John's been part of the developerWorks team for nine years, and as the newsletter editor, he has a bird's eye view of what's going on in the developerWorks universe. The free developerWorks newsletter is a great way to stay posted on what's new in developerWorks each week - subscribe here
Learn more about John in the interview below and visit his My developerWorks profile
to add him to your network. So what's the most interesting thing about being the editor of the developerWorks newsletter?
The free candy! Just kidding. Every week, there's something new and cool on developerWorks and I get to tell the world about it -- and I like coming up with new ways of showing developers how they can benefit from the resources on our site. And after 10 years, we've accumulated a colossal amount of material -- tutorials, articles, demos, podcasts, and more (not to mention My developerWorks). Plus, subscribers can customize the newsletter so it focuses on information that's relevant to their interests and location.From your perspective, what topics are the developerWorks audience most interested in lately?
The Linux stuff always draws a crowd -- the "Lazy Linux" piece was the top draw so far this year, and the "Learn Linux, 101" series has been popular lately. Other hot topics included "Speed up your Web pages," "Introducing Apache Mahout," and "10 great tools for any UNIX system." Our readers LOVE top-10 lists. What's next for the developerWorks newsletter?
Well, my goal with the newsletter is to make the developer community aware of all the great resources on developerWorks, so as new stuff comes online I'll be showcasing it for everyone to see. If I'm doing my job right, readers are focusing on the content and not on me. (I'm sort of a digital carnival barker.) That's a longwinded way of saying what's new with the newsletter is what's new with developerWorks -- so subscribe
already! :o)Each week, you write such a creative editorial introduction for the newsletter - how do you keep your creativity sharp?
Thanks! Again, I have a lot of great material to work with. There are so many facets to developerWorks -- different topics, presentation formats, skill levels, etc. -- that there's always a new angle we can take with the newsletter. It's fun to find new ways to help developers overcome the challenges they're facing. What do you think is something that is not commonly known about developerWorks that would benefit others?
Well, I'd like to believe that everyone in the IT community has set up their profiles on My developerWorks
with robust data about themselves -- but I don't think we're quite there yet. It really is a one-of-a-kind resource that can help people connect and get exposure. (I mean, it costs nothing -- what can it hurt?)
It's funny: I'm really not a person who's prone to hyperbole -- but having worked with developerWorks for nine years now, I really do mean it when I say there's no other place quite like it on the Web. If you were stuck on a technology deprived island, what single technology could you not live without?
Hmm. Does a fishing pole count? If you're talking about computing, well, I'd go with a good cell phone with a decent signal -- we're quickly moving into a time when most, if not all, information-related tasks can be done with a phone. I mean, I'd have developerWorks -- what more could I possibly need?What future technology would make your life easier?
I think speech recognition software has yet to hit its stride. Yeah, it's out there, but it certainly isn't part of our daily lives the way I think it will be one day (think household appliances). I see a future where people do far less typing.How are you using social networking today?
I love to connect with friends and colleagues on My developerWorks and Facebook. When you work at home like I do, it's important to find ways to connect with others, and social networking has enabled me to connect with a wide range of folks who have enhanced my life an many ways -- people from all of the chapters of my life, including the current one. My developerWorks is great because there's an emphasis on the future -- solving problems, building careers, finding ways to move forward (and less on who sat next to you in Calculus class).Do you know your Myers-Briggs or Kiersey personality type? Care to share?
I've taken both tests, but it's been years. I seem to recall that I'm officially an introvert -- but I do, in fact, get charge out of being around others. My personality makes taking those tests a little like nailing Jell-o to the wall.
- Thanks John!
This week get to know a new member of My developerWorks in this interview with Brian Benz
. He's an XML enthusiast who's also a blogger, author, and entrepreneur. Learn more about Brian in the interview below and you can also find more about him here: Brian's My developerWorks profile
- TwitterWhat was your first job?
I started work quite young - my first job was at 14 working in a ski shop installing bindings and lots of maintenance work that ski shops don’t do anymore due to product improvements. Is that far enough off topic? How did you get started in the IT industry?
I always had an interest in computers. My first computer was a commodore 64 with a cassette drive. In 1980/81 I developed a few functions on an Apple II using Applesoft basic, but that was just a hobby. My first real paid tech job was in London, UK, in the early 80’s programming and maintaining business functions on IBM System 32, 34 and 38. In my spare time I started automating some tedious manual tasks on what was an unused novelty in the office at the time - an original IBM PC using Lotus 1-2-3 and dBase. The more I worked on the PC, the faster I could do my job, and the more spare time I had to figure out how to automate more tasks – I was hooked! What are you currently working on?
Several client projects, building some XML, Lotus Notes and Data Analytics products, setting up 2 new companies and Web sites (http://www.benztech.com
), creating a new XML format for sharing unstructured data (http://www.udml.org
), and working on an update to the XML Programming Bible. What's the most fun project you've worked on?
Definitely creating UDML. It’s nice to work with a clean slate and do something that you think could make life easier for a lot of people. What are a few of your favorite development tools and why?
The absolute best tools I’ve ever worked with are the Altova suite of tools, especially XMLSpy (http://www.altova.com
) . Anyone who works with XML, SOA, or even standards-compliant Web content development should try these tools and see why for themselves. Other than that, Eclipse tools are what I work with the most, plus Microsoft Visual Studio, SharePoint Designer, InfoPath, and IBM Lotus Domino Designer. Are you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use?
Not a gadget person per se, but I love my iPhone. The apps and music functions let me connect to my music library, friends, social networks, and the Web in ways that I haven’t with other phones. It’s actually changed my life in a few ways, all for the positive. How do you use developerWorks?
Mostly to connect with my fellow developers and share tips and advice. Like most geeks these days, I don’t know everything, but I know where I can find everything quickly. developerWorks is definitely one of the resources I use to learn quickly when I need to. Are you a blogger? Author? On Twitter?
My blog is Software Soapbox at http://ww.softwaresoapbox.com
I’ve published three books - one for IBM and two for Wiley. Also many magazine articles and presentations. My full list of publications can be found at my personal Web site at http://brianbenz.com
I’m also on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/brianbenz
, on Twitter at http://twitter.com/bbenz
, FaceBook at http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Benz/1412015686
, and FriendFeed at http://friendfeed.com/bbenz
. What are some of your favorite Twitter accounts to follow?
It’s a mix of tech, local news, and fun. Aside from @developerworks, I also follow @craignewmark, @davewiner, @forkflylasvegas, @edbrill, @cnnbrk, @WholeFoods, @jowyang, @dsearls, @TechCrunch, @CaesarsPalace, @happn_in_vegas, @xbrlblog Thanks Brian!