Our next lucky victim interviewee, this week is Dale Hobill. Over the years, Dale has worked in a number of roles within Rational Client Support , bringing with him a great focus and drive to each one. I'll let you try and guess what theme has sprouted most consistently in his work. Here's a hint, his answers below will tell you exactly what that theme is! As always, check out our previous interviews too!
Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in Rational Client Support? My name is Dale Hobill and I am a member of the RCS management team. I currently manage the Business Intelligence team, the WW RCS Project Management Office and WW process. I also work several special projects including being the sponsor for our WW KT efforts.
How long have you been working for IBM and Rational? 16 years as of April 25th
Have you had any other roles in Rational? I have enjoyed many roles including, TSE, Esc engineer, team lead, AVP, SPM, First line management for CC, 2nd line management for CC, CQ, RPM, Soda, Suites, integrations, OD, SPM, & KM. I have also been the Quality Champion and probably a few more things I can not think of.....
What are you currently working on? Currently I am working with Senior Management and SWG on metrics and data delivery as well as helping build out a WW Project office
Describe a normal day for you. I start the day planning, then move to deleting emails and then attend lots of meetings..... and then more emails... I always work in a few strong cups of coffee & some social chatting....
What is your favorite part of working for Rational Client Support? I enjoy the people I work with each day. Over the last 20+ years, it's become obvious that the people matter most
What inspires you in your work? Helping people achieve RESULTS
What are you passionate about? RESULTS!
What tip or trick would you like to share with the class? Make sure you focus on RESULTS, with them you get a seat at the table and can achieve great things... Concentrate on listening to others and then on helping them achieve their goals...
Tell me about the biggest problem ahead for you? Information overload & inboxillitis. There is too much information to digest in a given day... and too many emails to read/respond to. This is a problem that our industry(many industries) face that it not getting any easier. People need to have "think time" to change/grow... it requires more discipline than ever not to fall into the multi-task and do nothing well mode that many seem to be in..... hamsters in a wheel.
How do you define success? Enjoying each day.... you don't get any back... so don't waste them.
In your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you? I enjoy time with my family, dogs (we have three), as well as powerlifting, mountain biking and reading
If you were stuck on a technology deprived island, what single technology could you not live without? Coffee Machine
What is on your night stand with regard to reading? The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and Dinosaur Training
What has been your biggest surprise you have witnessed in the technology industry? The explosion of mobile technology and hand held devices... my first cell phone was in a back pack...
Is there any technology that you think should get more respect and adoption but does not? The office phone... you can actually have a synchronized discussion that includes voice tone and expression and achieves results quickly... I hope it catches on with people....
What is your favorite technology that fizzled or failed to live up to the hype? The office phone
How do you grow your technical skills? Roll up my sleeves and jump in and attempt to "do something"
How do you prefer to find answers to your questions? Google
How are you using social networking today? Facebook, YouTube and some online communities and some blogs.
How could you see yourself using it in 5 years? Not sure, I am not liking all the marketing that has entered the space... I may be out of it in 5 years... at least from the stuff popular today..
Any other fun tidbits of information about you, your job, or RCS that you'd like to share? Nope, I am not that exciting/fun... Thank you for taking the time to interview me
This week we chat with Srikanth Bhushan in our Bangalore, India office. Srikanth is an active social media participant and skilled Technical Support Engineer and Team lead for the QM/Modeling product sets. Taking his inspiration from the people around him, he shares similar traits with some of our other interviewees from past weeks!
Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in Rational Client Support? My name is Srikanth Bhushan, and I work for the QM team in Bangalore,India. I support customers using Rational QM products and formerly Telelogic Modeling products. I come from a small town in Southern India, Staying in Bangalore for the past 7 years.
How long have you been working for IBM and Rational? I joined the IBM RCS team through the Telelogic Acquisition. It has been nearly 2 years in IBM now and I have worked for more than 2 years prior to that in Telelogic - Global Support Bangalore Team.
Have you had any other roles in Rational? Although the basic role of supporting customers remains the same, I have been working on different Modeling and testing products of Telelogic and for the past few months working on QM products of Rational. I am also a KT coach for the team
What are you currently working on? Currently I am working as a Team Lead for the QM support team. Supporting the Rational QM products for Indian Customers, and TAU Family products for all the 3 regions.
Describe a normal day for you. A normal day may not happen in support most often. However every day start with emails, Retain, Nero report. Look into the open load, prioritizing the PMRs, identify critical issues for customers and plan to drive them towards resolution quickly. Of course every day the situations are different based on the customer issues. The unpredictability brings in so much challenge and along with that more satisfaction and fun.
Do you have an "on the job" hero? If you could "follow" anyone for 24 hours, who would it be? Oh there are so many. I am motivated by many people around me.
Are you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use? I am not a gadget Person. I have a mobile phone which has a Torch apart from having options to make/receive calls and exchange text messages
What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately? "Sixth Sense", a concept of MIT Student, Pranav Mistry. It is a wearable gestural interface that augments the physical world around us with digital information and lets us use natural hand gestures to interact with that information. I'm not sure of the possibilities of having such products used with such an effect, however, the concept is amazing.
What is your favorite part of working for Rational Client Support? The best part with any support job is the opportunity to work with the different customers directly and consistently. For me, when I hear a satisfied customer thanking us for helping them, that’s the best part. I don’t think that this satisfaction can be measured by any metrics.
What inspires you in your work? Lot of things --- new challenges, changing and evolving technologies, difficult customer queries, complex issues, critical situations, passionate people around... ah the list goes on.
What tip or trick would you like to share with the class? Don't get too carried away with anything.
How do you define success? Success for me are those moments when you are doing what you really want to do... without the thought of past or the future, being in Present - Now and here.
In your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you? Movies, books, music, travel
What tools / skills have you acquired that you feel are vital to your success in your job field? In this role it is very important to be aggressive on critical issues and important customers. Multi-tasking, being on your toes always, and remaining calm are the key skills acquired from being in Support. What is on your nightstand with regard to reading? “The book of Ram”, “Myth=Mithya” from Devdutt Patnaik, “First and Last Freedom” from J. Krishnamurthi
How are you using social networking today? Social Networking has become a part of the every day routine. I am active on Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, and few more public communities. Catching up with friends and family is much easier and effective now a day with social networking; even my 10 year old nephew is active on Facebook. Also, the information flow is so much these days; to be updated with information is critical for every day work. If you are not present in important communities and groups, I believe you are missing something already.
Are you a blogger in the blogosphere? ... Are you a YouTuber? ...Are you an Author? .... Do you Tweet? ... I love to blog, have tried few times but didn’t really get going. I do tweet and love to spend time on youtube.
What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow? I follow TED (short for Technology, Entertainment, Design) conferences online regularly in TED.com I follow @rationasupport through twitter and facebook. I have many feeds which I check regularly, everything related to the Rational Products we handle and the RCS.
Today we speak with Masami Yamaguchi, one of Rational Client Support's newest Knowledge Managers, and Client Satisfaction Project Office (CSPO) reps in the Asia Pacific (AP) region based in the Sydney, Australia office. As a self admitted private person, we are elated to have a rare glimpse into Masami's life here! Of course, you can also still glimpse into the lives of other people within RCS using the 'interview' tag!
Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in Rational Client Support? My name is Masami. I was born in Japan and migrated to Australia in 2001. I joined Rational in 2002 as a Technical Support Engineer for PurifyPlus, RoseRT and TestRT. It was just a few months before being acquired by IBM. Since last year, I have been working in the Client Satisfaction Project Office (CSPO) and Knowledge Management (KM).
How long have you been working for IBM and Rational? Close to 8 years.
Have you had any other roles in Rational? I worked as a TSE until last November.
What are you currently working on? Many CMT situations as Resolution Team Lead and KCS promotion in AP.
What project are you the most proud of? I ran Retain and PMR process training for Technical Support Engineers (TSEs) in India in 2008 and 2009. I went to the Bangalore office twice and trained 100 TSEs. For my first visit, somehow I forgot to pack my underwear for the first time in my life, so the first thing I did there was shopping. My second visit was suppose to be a week, but ended up a month. Still, I managed to survive. So, this is the project I am proud of.
Do you have an "on the job" hero? If you could "follow" anyone for 24 hours, who would it be? I am interested to know what a day for Sam Palmisano is like.
Are you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use? No, I am not a gadget person. Even my TV does not have a remote control!
What gadget, which you currently own, can you not live without? I use a Macbook at home. I download a lot of music and save photos. I can live without it, but I do not want it to crash just yet as I have not had any backups. What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately? Gene patch - A patch to fill in for faulty genes, which helps to correct genetic mistakes. Cancer, asthma, Alzheimer’s, diabetes can be fixed by installing a patch in the near future. Would it not be wonderful?
What is your favorite part of working for Rational Client Support? My colleagues (managers inclusive ). People surrounding me are always helpful and friendly.
What are you passionate about? I like biography. Anyone's life has something.
Tell me about the biggest problem you've solved? Finding a job in RCS... After migrating to Australia, I changed my job (and company) 3 times within a year. I got lucky the 4th time and landed in RCS.
Tell me about the biggest problem ahead for you? The battle against aging!
In your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you? I like music, films, a little of reading, and shopping. I rotate those to entertain myself. Yes, I am in-door person; I moved to a wrong country.
What specifically drew your interest to become involved with music? I was learning piano when I was a child. I felt like learning it again a few years ago, but there was no space for a piano in my flat, so I started with violin instead.
What is on your nightstand with regard to reading? I am reading Catch-22 now. My reading speed is VERY slow, so I will likely finish it by 2012.
What has been your biggest surprise you have witnessed in the technology industry? Google... well, I mean Internet search engine.
What are you doing to make the planet smarter? I try not to use paper towels. Paper towels are recyclable/recycled products, but recycling stuff still consumes tons of water.
Are you a blogger in the blogosphere? ... Are you a YouTuber? ...Are you an Author? .... Do you Tweet? ... No. Perhaps, I am too private person, but I do not understand why there are so many people sharing their everything with anybody. Does anyone keep anything secret in these days?
Today we find Jakub Jurkiewicz in Poland. Jakub has a passion for software requirements, which helps drive him in supporting Rational Team Concert as well as his PhD studies and teaching roles! Check out his recommended websites and twitter id to learn even more! As always, check out our previous spotlights using the 'interview' tag!
Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in Rational Client Support? My name is Jakub Jurkiewicz, I'm 27. Our team is located at Poznań University of Technology in Poland. We mainly deliver Eclipse support, but some of us (including me) are also part of world wide Rational Team Concert support team. I work half time in the office, the rest of my time is filled with my responsibilities at the university as I'm a PhD student and an academic teacher.
How long have you been working for IBM and Rational? I started working in January 2007 when our office was founded.
Have you had any other roles in Rational? Not yet.
What are you currently working on? I'm part of Eclipse and RTC support teams, so I'm mostly involved in solving PMRs. Currently I'm also preparing a workshop we're going to deliver at Java conference "GeeCon" which is going to be held in Poznań, Poland.
Are you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use? I must say I am. I love Apple stuff! Especially for it's design and usability.
What gadget, which you currently own, can you not live without? iPhone which is my phone, my eBook reader, my scheduler, my cook book, my game pad, my handy camera, my music player, my alarm clock (it even knows what is the best moment to wake me up!) and all the other things you can thing of.
What is your favorite part of working for Rational Client Support? The surprise! You can never be sure what your new day will bring to you. Are there new PMRs going to be interesting and challenging? or maybe you are going to receive an email asking to answer some interview questions like these?
What inspires you in your work? The feeling that I can help someone today.
What are you passionate about? Software requirements which are the main area of my PhD research. Working in the support allows me to see the requirements from the opposite side. I can see what customers really want, how they articulate their needs, what are their real problems.
What tip or trick would you like to share with the class? Start your day with the most important tasks. If they are done, you can do all the other stuff being sure that the most crucial things are done.
How do you define success? Waking up in the morning with a smile and with the ability to make other people smile.
In your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you? I love being active; it involves gym, yoga, running, tennis and all the other things that make me moving.
When did you first become interested in activities like the gym, yoga, running, and tennis? I always wanted to move more, but my excuse was that I could not find a place and time to exercise. Fortunately about 1.5 years ago a new gym was opened 5 minutes from my flat, so my excuses were not valid any more and I had to start moving.
What tools / skills have you acquired that you feel are vital to your success in this field? Just schedule few slots of time in your calendar for body exercises and stick to it.
Aside from being active, do you have any other passions? Yes, cooking. I love the feeling when I know that my friends will come to my place. I can start looking for a nice recipe, I can go to a shop and choose all the ingredients, I can prepare everything and at the end enjoy spending time with my friends.
If you were stuck on a technology deprived island, what single technology could you not live without? The Internet is the first thing that comes to my mind.
What is on your nightstand with regard to reading? I like all similar to the work of John Irving, Jonathan Carroll, John Grisham and Harlan Coben. Recently I have also started to listen to audiobooks, which are great to listen to while commuting.
What is your favorite technology that fizzled or failed to live up to the hype? Google Wave. Does anyone use it? I remember everyone talking about it, but after all no-one knows what it could be used for.
Any new technologies that you think are about to break into the big time? Semantic web. We need to start being able to understand all the data we store on the web, otherwise we will be stuck where we are now.
What future technology would make your life easier? Really good automatic/machine translation. Unfortunately I cannot find time to learn all the languages I would love to, so if I could have a tool which allows me to translate everything on the fly then it would be a life saver in a lot of situations.
How do you grow your technical skills? I try to read a lot, especially technical blogs and practice as much as possible.
How do you prefer to find answers to your questions? Google, if it's not there then ask friends. If I still cannot find the answer then I try to post my questions on different forums around the Internet.
How are you using social networking today? I use it a lot. I love seeing what other people are up to. I like to share my thoughts and see how people react, what their opinions are.
How could you see yourself using it in 5 years? Great question! But I'm afraid I don't know the answer. It's extremely dynamic environment and I guess even people who came up with all the social networking ideas don't know which way it will develop.
This week, we travel across the Atlantic to The Netherlands in search of Bert-Jan Werkman, who is managing Rational Support Europe. Bert-Jan's enjoyment of cooking, Apple products, and good espresso are only equaled by the inspiration he finds in his staff of support engineers. Read on to learn more about this dynamic leader! And don't miss any of our past interviews, which you can find using the 'interview' tag.
Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in Rational Client Support? I am born in 1963, living with my family (Lara and our 2 sons) in Heemstede, Netherlands, a small town close to the sea, the famous flower fields and Amsterdam. For the past 2 years I have been leading Rational Support for EMEA
How long have you been working for IBM and Rational? I have been with IBM since 1998 - started as sales in GTS, became sales manager. After some years an assignment at EMEA HQ in Paris followed by a WW role focusing on GTS/Tivoli collaboration. After that I moved into SWG
Have you had any other roles in Rational? Before this role I was leading SWG Services for Benelux (all brands)
What are you currently working on? Leading Rational Support for EMEA (IOT NE, IOT SW and CEEMEA)
Describe a normal day for you. Do some email at home, bring my two sons (5 & 8) to school - some more email - at the office around 10AM. I always try to start with 10mins browsing W3 (IBM's intranet). About 60% is booked with calls & meetings. 2-3 times a week I have evening calls I try to keep time free during the day and between meetings/calls for ad hoc stuff...it is important to be available for the teams. Most of the good ideas are ad hoc; come up during conversations with a good espresso.
What project are you the most proud of? The tremendous amount of work the engineers do every day.
Are you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use? Yes - iPhone, iMac, my Nikon camera, and I am addicted to tools for home renovations
What gadget, which you currently own, can you not live without? My iPhone - also for my kids...when they use it, I can read my newspaper (they love the iPhone apps)
What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately? iPad - not new technology (just a much bigger iPhone), but the approach by Apple is very innovative.
What is your favorite part of working for Rational Client Support? Complex customer situations - to see that collaboration across teams in RCS & IBM - all over the planet - is impressive
What inspires you in your work? The people and technology.
What are you passionate about? The turnaround of unhappy clients into new deals & references - to make our products work.
How do you define success? Stick to the basics - when you achieve something desired, planned, even the attempt alone can give you the feeling of success (that you tried it)
In your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you? Cooking, home renovation, & my friends and family - especially my two sons (5 & 9).
What tools / skills have you acquired that you feel are vital to your success in this field? Adapt to change - IBM is continuously changing. You have to see it as an opportunity for yourself, not a threat.
Do you have any big plans for the future? I like traveling with my family. See the Northern light and maybe even Antarctica
If you were stuck on a technology deprived island, what single technology could you not live without? Espresso machine - if that is too big a pocket knife
What is on your nightstand with regard to reading? Cooking books
What has been your biggest surprise you have witnessed in the technology industry? The world is flat.
Any new technologies that you think are about to break into the big time? As you might have noticed, I am a big fan of Apple products. Innovation combined with quality, user experience & great GUI. They really think of us as a client. So my guess is the iPad. Other vendors will copy that very soon.
What future technology would make your life easier? Advanced, sophisticated search on the internet... it is getting more and more difficult to find the right answers to easy questions without getting annoyed to all the advertisements & crazy websites. I was impressed by wolframalpha.com but it did not really get to the next level.
What are you doing to make the planet smarter? I hardly print - when I do it is double sided and if not a PDF, print 2 pages on each side.
How do you grow your technical skills? Self-learning. IBM has an enormous amount of opportunities for all of us to enable ourselves. Just be curious and take some time to explore.
How are you using social networking today? I am using Lotus Connections a lot - it needs time to get it into your system but it is real innovation. Twitter still in beta for me. I am not a constant user, so I have more questions than followers
How could you see yourself using it in 5 years? I do hope it will be a more integrated approach. Hopefully not linked to our laptops but also to other devices. iPad ? Make it simple.
Are you a blogger in the blogosphere? ... Are you a YouTuber? ...Are you an Author? .... Do you Tweet? ... Not really - started with Twitter, but it is not in my DNA yet
Any other fun tidbits of information about you, your job, or RCS that you'd like to share? Life goes fast - enjoy it!
We are excited to find Cleber Neumann Ribeiro, our latest Peeps of Rational Support interview, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. As you read on, you'll learn that Cleber is heavily involved with building the Latin America Rational Client Support organization, and still balances family life to find his definition of success...
Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in Rational Client Support? I am 27 years old, married and have a baby. I am the LA (Latin America) RCS Manager and very excited with the new horizons.
How long have you been working for IBM and Rational? I have been working for IBM / Rational since 2003. Have you had any other roles in Rational? Yes. I entered the Rational Customer Support team as an Intern, when the team reported to the GTS Organization. Then I became a TSE, a Team Leader, and when RCS moved to SW Group structure last January, I became the manager.
What are you currently working on? I am working in LA RCS hiring, besides running the daily operation of this team
Describe a normal day for you. A normal day for me, I wake up at 6am, commute to the office (sometimes, I take my soon to the school before that. It depends on the negotiation with my wife). Arriving at the office, I have a scrum meeting with all the TSEs of my team where we share our daily tasks and provide insights to our colleagues. I am included in the discussion and I also let them know what I am doing. For the rest of the day, I am involved in LA Hiring Process and in meetings, with NA RCS due to the hiring processes, enablement and other alignment tasks, and in meetings with Brazil SW Lab, the structure I report to locally.
What project are you the most proud of? The one I am part right now - Create / Expand the LA RCS team
Are you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use? Definitely. I love all kind of gadgets. The one I use the most is my Smartphone. I can use it to take pictures, read e-books, play games, access the internet, etc. The gadgets that most call my attention are the ones where many technologies converge.
What inspires you in your work? The idea I may positively impact customers, my colleagues and IBM
What are you passionate about? Try new ways to do things, and discover new gadgets.
How do you define success? Be at peace with yourself and the ones that surrounds you.
In your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you? Listen / download music from the internet, play PS3, have lunch / dinner with my family, drop by to visit with relatives.
If you were stuck on a technology deprived island, what single technology could you not live without? The Internet; to keep me connected to the World. Is there any technology that you think should get more respect and adoption but does not? Yes, Green Energy. The planet started to provide us some clues of what may happen if we keep on doing things as we have done up to now. The longer we take to change some habits / technologies, the worse for us and for the planet.
What future technology would make your life easier? Some kind of computer with no interface barriers. Why use the keyboard if you could just think of a note and send it? How do you prefer to find answers to your questions? Talk to as many people as possible that may have answers to my question. If that is not possible, Google the questions in search of answers.
Today we have the pleasure of introducing Manish Kumar, also based in Bangalore, India as an IBM Rational Rhapsody Support Engineer. Manish is a like many of us; he works hard and plays hard! He also has a great love for software modeling tools and the Jazz platform as you'll find below:
Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in Rational Client Support? I am from northern India. After completing my Engineering studies, I am now settled in Bangalore. I started my career with Mistral Software, learning about embedded systems and various RTOS’s (real time operating systems). At RCS I work on Rhapsody and other modeling products.
How long have you been working for IBM and Rational? I joined IBM Rational through the Telelogic acquisition. I have been working here for 1 and half years in Rational, and prior to that I was working in Telelogic for 1 year.
Have you had any other roles in Rational? So far I have only been in the Support role. Now I have a new role where I am involved in exploring Jazz.
What are you currently working on? I am part of the Modeling support team. I am working on Rational Rhapsody, which is a UML based modeling tool.
Describe a normal day for you. I generally work for our EMEA region (European) customers. I must admit that there is no such thing as a normal day for me and that is the most exiting part. I enjoy taking customer queries that can range from a simple one to complex integration or design issue. EMEA customers use Rhapsody extensively, and queries pour in. It is a challenge to meet customer expectations.I learn something new everyday and I love to explore new features of the tool and answer customers queries. On a daily basis I interact with a proactive development team as well as engineers from other support regions, and I use forums actively.
What project are you the most proud of? One of my most challenging accomplishments was making one of my US customers successful by writing them an adapter file for ARM specific to their own set of tool chain. When I developed this adapter, I was fairly new to Rhapsody and was still in my learning phase but remember it as one of the tasks which made me most happy!
What is your favorite part of working for Rational Client Support? Every day is a new challenge. You get experience in customer interaction as well as technical stuff.
Do you have an "on the job" hero? If you could "follow" anyone for 24 hours, who would it be? There are many! Its just difficult name one.
What inspires you in your work? Inspiration should not be confined to one thing. The more we study and experience, the more material we have to enhance the style and impact of our work. What tip or trick would you like to share with the class? Be quick to respond to the customer query to keep them happy.
Tell me about the biggest problem ahead for you? With support for Rational tools also coming in, there is a learning curve. At the same time, I have to ensure the current customer base is well managed and I have to keep up the performance.
How do you define success? Work hard, play harder. I believe success is when I am satisfied that I have given my best in my job.
In your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you? Absolutely love to try multicultural cuisine, a foodie you can say; I love to hit the bar and enjoy life as much as I do as when I am working. Bangalore has a lot of places to hang out.
When did you first become interested in Embedded Systems and Design? I have a background of working with embedded systems, so as Rhapsody is used mostly in embedded market, I was interested to learn it from the time I joined Telelogic.
What tools / skills have you acquired that you feel are vital to your success in this field? As Rhapsody’s a modeling tool, UML and SysML knowledge is important, as well C, C++, and Java knowledge. I acquired debugging skills over time handling customer queries. As I knew to work with Vxworks and other RTOS’s, it helped me in picking out various porting issues and integrations with real time operating systems.
What message would you give to someone just starting out in the Embedded Systems and Design industry? Keep an open mind and be willing to learn everyday. Have general knowledge of UML languages. What specifically drew your interest to become involved in the Embedded Systems and Design field? Rhapsody is a vast tool with at least 15 components. My previous embedded experience could be used here. There was lot to be explored and many new things to be learned. The challenges involved drew me to it.
Aside from Embedded Systems and Design, do you have any other passions? I love to watch and play cricket and Table Tennis.
If you were stuck on a technology deprived island, what single technology could you not live without? I cannot live without my mobile, and as a complimentary, give me an SUV!
Any new technologies that you think are about to break into the big time? Jazz is one such platform.
What future technology would make your life easier? JAZZ is the upcoming one! Would make the life easier in terms of cross integration between products. What are you doing to make the planet smarter? I’m contributing towards making the planet smarter by following the GoGreen initiative. The Go Green India initiative unites every citizens of this planet in an effort to make real and lasting changes in their campus and communities that will protect the environment for years to come. In day to day life I prefer to choose appliances which are environmentally friendly; saying no to paper.
How do you grow your technical skills? By reading, observing, and learning from every source: customers, peers, development, web, exploring on my own.
Are you a blogger in the blogosphere? ... Are you a YouTuber? ...Are you an Author? .... Do you Tweet? ... Yes, also an active member on Orkut. What publications / websites do you read / visit? I’m active member of SiliconIndia.
Any other fun tidbits of information about you, your job, or RCS that you'd like to share? I love parties on weekends, and hanging out with my friends. I’m an outdoorsy kind of person; rappelling and rafting are the adventurous outdoors games I like.
This week's "People of Rational Support" spotlight is on Judy Cass. Judy is an esteemed Customer Advocacy Group (CAG) engineer who has her hand in nearly everything, and if she doesn't, she likely knows who does. Her commitment to helping along with her diverse experiences are two of the qualities which make Judy such an asset for us in RCS, as you'll discover below:
Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in Rational Client Support? My name is Judy Cass. I've been married almost 13 years. I have a wonderful husband (who is also my best friend), I have 3 grown step-kids, 7 step-grandkids and a beautiful German Shepherd named Schatzie. Currently I work in the Customer Advocacy Group (CAG) and my specialties are ClearQuest, Installation Manager and Rational to Rational integrations.
How long have you been working for IBM and Rational? I started working at Atria as a ClearCase support engineering back in 1994 - so I'm currently in my 16th year at IBM/Rational.
Have you had any other roles in Rational? I've held several roles over the last 15 years. I spent my first 4 1/2 years in Support. From there I moved over to Release Engineering were I worked exclusively on ClearCase and ClearQuest patches. I then spent 18 months in CQ CAG. I went back to RE and did that for another 5+ years. Then I moved onto Team Install Development where I held both a management role and an individual contributor role. I moved happily back to RCS in Q4 of 2008.
What are you currently working on? My main focus is on Escalations that come in from TSEs. I work closely with L3 on those issues that we aren't able to solve ourselves (or those that require fixes to be generated). I contribute to DCF (our knowledge base) both in new technotes/white papers as well as review a lot of the install related ones. I will be participating in an upcoming Vitality talk. I participate in tech sessions and sometimes provide training to the support community.
Describe a normal day for you. My days are anything but normal and I really can't imagine I'd like it if they were. Although I know at some point in my day I will make progress on some set of my escalations, I find most days also involve me helping others with issues that might not yet be escalated. There is a lot of juggling of tasks and prioritizing what is most important to the team and our customers. I love helping people so this is the perfect fit for me. Of course I do have my days when I need to do less helping of others and get to my critical escalations, but even though days are fun and those that I can't help seem to understand. Do you have an "on the job" hero? If you could "follow" anyone for 24 hours, who would it be? That would be really tough to choose, I would say either Mary Barry or Chris Flynn. I have never seen two more genuinely happy people no matter what stresses the day brings them. I'd love to be a fly on the wall and watch just how they achieve it so that I can learn from them!!
Are you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use? No, unfortunately I'm still an old school type person. Give me a good book I can open up, touch and turn the page and I'm happy
What type of gadgets do you use? If I told you how simple and old fashion my cell phone was you'd laugh. I even still have a few VCRs hanging around, although I will admit I did move one TV to DVD recently
What gadget, which you currently own, can you not live without? If I had to choose, probably my iPOD.. its my best buddy when I'm working out
What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately? Actually I have to admit I'm sort of excited about the Kindle (or the ability to read books electronically on a portable media).
What is your favorite part of working for Rational Client Support? Helping customers and anyone who needs it. I just love providing assistance to anyone who needs it
What inspires you in your work? Just the happiness of customers when we solve their issue, the kind words from peers when I've been able to help them with something, and the general sense that what I do is helping others succeed.
What are you passionate about? When working in the world of Customer Support we constantly need to gather data from our customers to help solve issues. I almost never have any trouble obtaining the information/logs/data I need from customers. Some people think I'm just lucky, but in actuality its all how you deliver the message to the customer. If you explain to the customer why you need the data, what lead you to wanting the data, what you are looking for, your thought process of how you will move once you analyze the data (almost like a flow chart - if I see X in your data I'll take action 1, if I see Y in your data I'll take action 2) etc., the customers are so willing to give you the data. It really frustrates me when we ask for data (that we don't necessarily need, and/or data we don't know what we'd do with) or we haven't thought out our next step that really frustrates me. We are here to help customer's succeed (not just ask them things to give us a few more days to think) and it frustrates me when we sometimes waste their time (wow I didn't realize I was passionate about anything until you asked!)
What tip or trick would you like to share with the class? When you're not sure if something works or doesn't work - sometimes the best way to figure it out is to just try it! Some folks spend a lot of time Googling and emailing (to ask others, etc) when in reality you can learn a lot by just trying it yourself! (and you might learn and additional item or two while you are trying) Tell me about the biggest problem you've solved? It might not sound big to others, but there was this one install issue that was going on for 2 months. We had daily meetings and although we couldn't reproduce the issue, the customer could constantly. After several debugging sessions and some additional debugging messages (and an extra pair of eyes) someone finally noticed some odd behavior. It turns out the customer was installing into a very long path (not something we even knew was an issue) and there it was, some operating systems have a limit to the number of characters they return in a process table. The unfortunate part was the error message was no where near what the real problem was. So once we had the customer shorten the install path they were successful. Of course I filed a defect wrote a technote (after figuring out the exact limit).
How do you define success? I'm not sure how one defines success in an industry or business, but for me personally I define success when I know I've done the best I can and that each day I've not only done a good job, but that somehow I've helped someone else do a better one.
In your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you? Knitting sweaters and reading!
What tools / skills have you acquired that you feel are vital to your success in this field? I'm not sure if I acquired them on the job, or if I had them before I joined in 1994 and have just improved them, but I've always had a natural curiousity about how things work and when they don't trying to find out why. Therefore moving to a career in Customer Support was a great move for me as it allowed me to take what I love to do and have it be my daily job.. how cool is that?
What message would you give to XYZ just starting out in the XYZ industry? I would say to anyone starting in the software industry to always have a thirst for knowledge and never stop learning. The world of technology is ever evolving and that won't change, so you have to be flexible enough to want to change and learn with it.
Do you have any big plans for the future? My big plans always involve vacations to warm places and at least 1 cruise a year
If you were stuck on a technology deprived island, what single technology could you not live without? Cable TV (I did think about a phone but who knows how good cell phone connection is on a deprived island!)
What is on your nightstand with regard to reading? Currently a great book by Clive Cussler called "The Wrecker"
How do you grow your technical skills? For me I guess I am just naturally curious and just learning how things work allows me to grow my technical skills. What appears to happen is they grow in areas that my role moves me into, but I guess in reality that means it's probably skills I am loving to learn
How do you prefer to find answers to your questions? For me seeing it for myself and trying it myself are the best ways to answer my questions (when that's possible). If its not something I can do myself I find Google is a great way to see how others might have answered it (of course then you have to figure out how accurate they are!)
How are you using social networking today? I'm horrible. As I mentioned previously I'm so behind the gadget curve and I feel that social network is a gadget. I still don't get the difference between tweeter and a tweet (wow am I sounding old). However I have to admit it is a great way to keep in touch with my step-grandkids that are far away.
How could you see yourself using it in 5 years? Still not sure I will be a big fan of it - I still like the face to face personal approach. Are you a blogger in the blogosphere? ... Are you a YouTuber? ...Are you an Author? .... Do you Tweet? ... As you already know I'm behind the technology curve, but I can say I have a few work videos on YouTube (thanks to my previous boss who is great with a video camera). So I guess I owe a thanks to him for introducing me to something new
Any other fun tidbits of information about you, your job, or RCS that you'd like to share? I guess one thing I've always lived by - and its worked for me since I started working... Do what you like and love what you do, once it becomes a job, move on! I never consider what I do a "job" as to me that is mundane and something you "have" to do. I do what I "like/love" to do and once my role feels like a "job" I move on. Its worked great for me my entire career at IBM. I am so lucky to always love what I do.. can't ask for a better place to work.
Today we are delighted to spotlight Wendy Toh. Wendy is RCS's new Vice President responsible for managing the worldwide client support organization for the Rational division in Software group. Born in Malaysia, Wendy moved to the United States in the early 1980s, graduated from the University of Florida with a BS in Mathematics and Computer Science, and subsequently started her career with IBM. She has some serious and long work days in her role as VP, but gets through them all successfully by following her personal mottos, as you'll find out below:
Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in Rational Client Support? I joined in January 2010 as the Vice President of RCS. I am excited about this new role and looking forward to meeting the team and working on making 2010 very successful.
How long have you been working for IBM and Rational? I've been working at IBM since 1989 and in Rational since 2006.
Have you had any other roles in Rational? Yes. I've been the development director for the Enterprise Modernization Tools & Compilers (EM&C) team as well as the Enterprise Architecture and Analysis Design Construction (EA/ADC) teams. I've also been an executive sponsor for the Rational China Development Lab working with Charles Yan. Finally, I'm the executive sponsor for both of the Research Triangle Park Asian and Women's Diversity Network Groups.
Describe a normal day for you. I arrive between 7:30AM and 8AM and catch up on emails. Typically I have 7-8 hours of meetings scheduled each day. I prefer to leave the office around 6PM to go workout or take a break. I am usually online in the evenings 2-3 days a week to catch up on email. Like many of you, I also take late calls from home. Finally - I travel quite a bit - probably about 50% of my time - to visit our clients. I plan on getting to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Sydney in April, followed by a visit to Bangalore, Stockholm, and Amsterdam in May, before I head to Orlando for Innovate 2010! This doesn't include short trips that arise suddenly due to critical situations.
What type of gadgets do you use? Blackberry Tour, Kindle, iPod, MacBook
What gadget, which you currently own, can you not live without? My Blackberry Tour cellphone
What is your favorite part of working for Rational Client Support? The people!! Even when it's stressful most folks keep their sense of humor! I also like the fact that we can make a positive impact on our clients in helping them get productive!
What are you passionate about? Enabling people to reach their full potential while maximizing their contributions to IBM and IBM customers.
How do you define success? Being joyful and happy in all aspects of my life. While I do put a lot of time and energy towards my job, it's my family and friends that keep me grounded. I also believe we must succeed by living and working by a consistent set of core values that reflect our personal beliefs and ethics.
Any other fun tidbits of information about you, your job, or RCS that you'd like to share? I enjoy sports and music very much. I'm a big Florida Gators fan (that's an American college football (not soccer) team for those of you who live outside North America :-). Some artists on my iPod playlist: Pink Martini, Dwight Yoakam, Trisha Yearwood, George Strait, ABBA, Chris Isaak, Gwen Stefani, Kelly Clarkson, Dwight Yoakam, Reba McEntire, Frank Sinatra, The Mavericks.
Here are the mottos I live by:
1. Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug 2. Fake it 'til you make it 3. Work is what I do in between vacations
What have you planned for your next vacation(s)? Weekend getaway in New Orleans at the end of March, then a 12-night Mediterranean cruise in the summer...woo hoo!
Today we have the pleasure of introducing Pavan Hoskeri. Pavan is a driven support engineer based in Bangalore, India who came to Rational Support through the acquisition of the Telelogic portfolio. As you'll see below, Pavan has a passion for support and building relationships with his clients and colleagues alike!
Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in Rational Client Support? Hi, I am Pavan. Hoskeri and I primarily work as Technical Support Engineer for a slew of IBM Rational products which majorly include Rational DOORS, Rational Publishing Engine and Rational Directory Server. I work out of one Rational’s Support center from Bangalore, India.
How long have you been working for IBM and Rational? I've been part of IBM Rational since later half of 2008 when Telelogic was acquired. It has been a challenging and enjoyable journey as special and a more focused approach towards client satisfaction was necessary during the phases of integration between Telelogic and IBM.
Have you had any other roles in Rational? Though my primary job role is assisting and making sure that the issues reported by IBM Rational clients are resolved to the best extent possible, I am also involved in many exciting aspects of Support functionalities. These include updating IBM Support website with quality Technotes, running internal training on new products, etc.
What are you currently working on? Towards finding out innovative ways of resolving PMR’s at a faster rate which will definitely help us in increasing client satisfaction.
Describe a normal day for you. I always found it hard to wake up early in the morning (but can easily be awake all night long ) and I have been fortunate that currently my work starts at 12:30 in the afternoon. As soon as I reach office, the first thing I do is to login to my Support phone extension. Go through the various queues to check if any new or existing PMR’s require immediate action. Simultaneously open my Email and check through the various Folders I have created for mailers from Development teams, notifications etc. Act on the most important ones first. Once I feel things are in control head for lunch. Oops, I missed having lunch again today The same continues through out the day with occasional breaks taken to catch up with peers from other teams.
What project are you the most proud of? I officially tweeted the updates of Rational Software Conference 2009 held in Bangalore, India. This was the first time I ever tweeted and extremely happy that many new followers were added to @RationalSupport during the conference.
Are you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use? To a certain extent yes! The gadget I use the most has to be my Mobile Phone.
What gadget, which you currently own, can you not live without? I own a USB plug and play modem. With this I have truly become mobile, coz I hate accessing Internet via a hand held device and my USB mobile lets me be connected using my ThinkPad laptop anytime – anyplace
What is your favorite part of working for Rational Client Support? Being given the freedom to innovate while assisting IBM Rational Clients!
What inspires you in your work? A simple “Thank you” that our clients respond when their issues are resolved is all that drives me.
What tip or trick would you like to share with the class? Always consider the Business Impact on even the simplest of questions that a Client might consult you for. If you can clearly visualize the Big Picture, you would be in the best position to assist the customer.
How do you define success? When you can help not only yourself but others around you!
In your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you? I love listening to music. Michael Jackson is my favorite artist.
Any new technologies that you think are about to break into the big time? Cloud Computing
What future technology would make your life easier? Probably the technology has slowly started appearing in day to day activities, but RFID linked with Mobile banking, is one thing that I think would make life easier. Imagine you walking into a mall, buying just a single Toothpaste and having been made to wait for hours together coz of the never ending queue at the billing counter Enter RFID – the product is auto tagged and amount deducted from your card instantaneously. Wow
How are you using social networking today? You might be surprised, but I found it difficult to manage my Facebook ® account and have just continued using my Orkut account. I tweet using @RationalSupport with ^PH tag for Support related updates.
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.
Today we have the pleasure of highlighting Ben Silverman. Ben is a four year veteran of Rational Client Support, active as a Knowledge Champion, and as you'll read below, a man with a lot to say with some great self service tips for us all!
Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in Rational Client Support? My name is Ben Silverman. I am the WW CAG engineer for IBM Rational RequisitePro, Requirements Composer, and Rational Insight. I have been at IBM Rational for 4 years.
How do you grow your technical skills? I usually like to read up on the latest technologies to see what's out there, instead of only working with the technologies implemented in our products. If there is a new version of Windows, SQL Server, DB2, Oracle, etc... I usually like to check them out knowing that we will soon be testing our products against them. If there is a new programming language or technique, I like to at least go through some basic tutorials to understand the benefits of them. Customers often like to extend our products where they can, so it is important to have some knowledge in this area.
We have a lot of new products, and we are trying to kick the tires as much as our customers do. There is a lot more to our products than the out of the box configuration. Going through advanced tutorials and scenarios out on jazz.net is a good place to start, as it is important to go through all of the scenarios our customers are preparing to do in their environments.
When I am working with one of our products, I like to know exactly how it's working, rather than just knowing that it's working. Looking at configuration files and logs usually provides me with some good information to think about when trying to understand how something is working.
What publications / websites do you read / visit? jazz.net (Forums, articles, tech tips, videos) devWorks forums (Forums, whitepapers, tutorials, publications) Slashdot.org (Technology news)
What tip or trick would you like to share with the class? RSS Feeds in Lotus Notes!!
When I installed Lotus Notes 8.5, I saw that it lets you maintain RSS feeds on the side bar. Whenever I am working in Notes, I have my email on the main page, and my feeds on the right. Many people know that all of our forums allow you to follow using RSS feeds, but what some do not know is that you can do the same with technotes for a particular product. I've added all the relevant feeds to my list, which include the following:
Technotes for IBM Rational Requirements Composer
RRC Forum on Jazz.net
RQM Forum on Jazz.net
RTC Forum on Jazz.net
ReqPro Forum on devWorks
RPE Forum on devWorks
SoDA Forum on devWorks
Whenever a new forum thread is created, I can see that I have x number of unread threads without having to go visit each forum individually, and likewise for new technotes. You can even read the thread right from Notes by hovering over the unread feed.
What tools / skills have you acquired that you feel are vital to your success in this field? I have had the opportunity to learn quite a bit about various technologies throughout my career at IBM Rational. Aside from the products we support, there is a good amount of middleware involved that will be valuable in any IT related role. Experience with Apache Tomcat, Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, Websphere Application Server, Cognos, Visual Studio, Eclipse, and many others help understand the underlying architecture of our products, and our customers' deployments.
Aside from the technical aspect, I think it is also important to build relationships with my peers, and with our customers. Managing customer expectations, making sure that commitments and deadlines are met, and getting the right people involved are all skills that we need to succeed in our roles. People here are always willing to help out wherever they can, which makes it much easier to collaborate when it comes to meeting a deadline, or executing an action plan.
How do you prefer to find answers to your questions? I prefer to find answers on forums, where there is some proof that an answer/solution has helped someone in some way. Often times, my problems/questions are not exactly the same as one I might encounter on a particular forum thread, but I have found that most of the time if you find the right thread, it can give you some pretty good hints about what to do, or where to look for the answer. I like to solve my own problems rather than being handed an answer that I will apply but not understand. The etiquette/communication model on most forums seems to facilitate that ideal very well :)
How do you define success? Setting realistic goals and meeting or exceeding those goals is usually a good indication of success. I think in this role, success means that our customers are satisfied, and that we're keeping them satisfied. In general, success to me is not necessarily succeeding on the first try every time, but being able to take lessons learned from any experience whether it be good or bad. Some of the best lessons I have learned in this role have come from not so good experiences.
Do you have an "on the job" hero? If you could "follow" anyone for 24 hours, who would it be? The process of conceptualizing ideas and turning them in to our finished products fascinates me. Often times, we just learn the new products that are given to us here in support and to our customers without thinking about what kind of problems the products are actually solving. I would like to be a fly on the wall in all of the organizations involved in turning an idea in to a finished product. This includes (but probably is not limited to) the product architects, development teams, product management, and marketing. Having some knowledge or exposure to this process would give all of us in support a better understanding of how we are really helping our clients become successful.
Is there any technology that you think should get more respect and adoption but does not? I think that RSS feeds are not adopted as often as they could be. We've all seen that tiny "RSS" button on most sites that lets you copy a feed, but most of the time it gets ignored. There is so much activity on jazz.net and developerWorks, and I think the feeds are the best way to be "in the know" with the latest topics. RSS feeds alert us to the latest forum posts, and the latest technotes. There is so much that can learned just by hovering over and glancing at each new thread that comes in through the feed. I have closed several PMR's and escalations just by quickly glancing at new feeds that come in through my RSS reader in Lotus Notes. Often times, a PMR or escalation will come in that has already been discussed on a thread, so keeping up with these has been very beneficial.
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.
I am delighted to bring you the first in a regular series of
interviews with some of the very interesting people in Rational
Client Support. This week, we'd like you to meet Jason O'Donnell, a
seasoned blogger and social networker, and one of the regular
contributors to this blog. Jason has some unique insights on IBM,
being “acquired”, and knowledge sharing. Learn more about him
in the interview below, and don't forget to visit his profile
on My developerWorks!
us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in
Rational Client Support?
name is Jason O'Donnell and I am a Knowledge Manager for IBM Rational
Client Support. Of course that neither tells you who I am nor what I
do, so I trust the rest of these answers will help you get to know me
long have you been working for IBM and Rational?
only been part of IBM Rational since April 2008 when Telelogic was
acquired. In that short time, though, I have learned more and
challenged myself further than than I ever expected from roughly 18
months of service!
you had any other roles in Rational?
yet, but I expect my career with IBM and Rational will present me
with many new opportunities! Prior to coming into Rational, I was
working in Telelogic as a TSE supporting the Synergy and Change
products and moving towards a knowledge engineer type role creating
and editing our FAQ/Technote content. When Telelogic was acquired, I
was brought into Rational Client Support early on as a Knowledge
Manager to assist with the integration of the support websites and
are you currently working on?
am currently focusing on Web2.0 and Social Media initiatives (such as
Twitter and Facebook), as well as contributing to the Notes from
Rational Support blog on developerWorks. I'm also a co-cordinator for
our internal Knowledge Champion Consortium which focuses on KM
related projects, tooling enablement, and knowledge sharing.
a normal day for you.
many people in IBM and Rational Support in particular, there are no
real 'normal' days for me; each day comes with its own unique
challenges and curve-balls. Generally speaking, however, my days
start at 5:30am with a pot of coffee so I can at least be conscious
by the time my 6am meetings start. Some social media multi-tasking
and email purging goes on in the mornings as well. After a slew of
meetings, I'll take lunch at my desk and do some of the solid work in
my afternoons when the East Coasters have all left for the day....
then bed time around 10pm to be fresh for the cycle to begin again
the next morning.
project are you the most proud of?
role in the Telelogic acquisition and integration efforts would have
to stand out as the single project I am most proud of. It was very
difficult at times, and I saw my share of failures, but I also saw
far more successes. My integration work not only taught me a lot
about project management, but it also taught me about self confidence
and how much I really could accomplish.
you could "follow" anyone for 24 hours, who would it be?
Brown. But only if it is during filming for one of his "Eating
on Asphalt" episodes. Following Alton would provide me time to
enjoy riding my motorcycle, eating great food, and picking apart the
brain of the man I consider to be the Thomas Dolby of food!
you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use?
but only if the gadget serves more than a single purpose. I dislike
uni-taskers. And yes, I stole that from Alton Brown. Mainly all my
gadgets are on my motorcycle and specific to safety on long trips. Of
course, like any good geek, I am easily distracted by anything bright
and shiny on the market, luckily my wallet keeps me in check, most of
gadget, which you currently own, can you not live without?
iPhone. It keeps me connected to all my friends and family! Used more
for the email and social media aspects than the actual phone portion,
it has found a spot very close to my heart and passions.
is your favorite part of working for Rational Client Support?
part of the acquisition rollout meetings, we were told how many great
opportunities there are in Rational, and IBM as a whole. I'll admit
to being skeptical at first... but I have since changed my tune; my
favourite part of working in Rational Client Support is my ability to
drive my own career success and focus my efforts where I can best
engage and assist our clients, both internally and externally.
inspires you in your work?
problem solving is the most inspiring thing I find; I love the
challenge of an interesting problem, the research and development of
a solution, and then the rush of a successful implementation.
are you passionate about?
passions run the gamut depending on the day... right now, I am
passionate about improving Rational Client Support's ability to reach
or clients and help them solve issues through innovative use of
social media. Tomorrow, I will likely be passionate about food, wine,
and whiskies... if the weather is above 40 Fahrenheit, I'll probably
be passionate about road trips on my motorcycle too.
tip or trick would you like to share with the class?
want tips and tricks? That's easy: follow us on Twitter and Facebook,
you'll see all our tips and tricks feed through there! ThAs for my
'personal' tips&tricks, I really only have one: transparency and
clear communication is the key to success in any endeavor, be it in
your career or personal relationships.
do you define success?
success for me is living a life of contentment without regrets.
Professional success is being able to find that perfect work/life
balance where neither hobby nor work encroach on the other, and yet
still allow the time to enjoy both.
your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest
my 'spare' time has been taken up with my wife as we renovate our
1947 Dutch Colonial Revival home, though I do also tend to take long
road trips on my motorcycle (typically weekends of over 1k miles,
some closer to 2k). Both my wife and I enjoy the culinary arts,
cooking at home or dining out, along with wine tasting in the
burgeoning Willamette Valley of Oregon. I also help run a small but
global group devoted to whiskies tastings and appreciation.
is on your nightstand with regard to reading?
I am halfway through "Roadshow" by Neil Peart; just before
that was "Ghost Rider" by the same author. Both books are
very interesting to me as they allow that direct insight from a
celebrity's point of view, as well as providing some very well
written travelogue surrounding his travels on his motorcycle across
the US, Mexico, and Canada.
there any technology that you think should get more respect and
adoption but does not?
have to come clean right out as an Apple enthusiast. I love my Macs
and wish they'd get more respect. I'd be overjoyed to see a world
where I don't have to be an apologist, but can just be a fan.
is your favorite technology that fizzled or failed to live up to the
Apple Newton. WAY ahead of its time. We, as a society, needed the
baby steps before we could really appreciate the Newton for what it
do you prefer to find answers to your questions?
really depends on the question... With all the tools available to us,
I tend to tailor the tool to the question. So, if my question is
related to my motorcycle, I'll go to my favourite forum specific to
my model. If, however, my question is ore general and something I
haven't researched before, I'll typically start with Google. For
work, however, my preferred method is simple, and something I have
been evangelizing professionally for the past year and a half:
knowledge reuse! I set up RSS feeds and inbox archives as well as
search our internal tools to discover if my question has been
are you using social networking today?
started out using social networking to stay in touch with friends and
family after moving 1k miles away from them all. Recently, however, I
have also become more involved in using social media as a way to
encourage conversation and help our clients get the information they
need when it is most useful.
could you see yourself using it in 5 years?
foresee using it in similar ways as today: both passive and active
connection with friends and family who live far away, as well as
using it in business as a way to consume information and still engage
in dialog with clients and companies. Really, it all boils down to
communication, and that will always be how I use these tools.
you a blogger in the blogosphere? ... Are you a YouTuber? ...Are you
an Author? .... Do you Tweet? ...
do host a personal blog of my own with sporadic entries typically
about life in general, as well as being a major contributor to my
whiskies tasting group blog. I am also on Twitter both personally and
personally, and I contribute to @RationalSupport
under the ^JO tag). I have aspirations of being a proper author, but
I found out during the 2008 NaNoWriMo
(National Novel Writing Month, 50k works in 30 days) that I am
decidedly -not- a fiction writer, even though I successfully
completed the challenge. So for now, I will stick with random
blogging and mild tech writing to scratch that itch.
are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
the most part, I watch my Facebook and twitter feeds, but still keep
an eye on Slashdot, webBikeWorld, and any other odd sites here and
there that pop up in my tweet stream.
publications / websites do you read / visit?
recently begun following Mashable.com
to keep my thumb on the
social media pulse in the non-corporate streams. I've also started
to keep up with the more corporate centric side of social media too.
(Both have twitter feeds of course, so I didn't mention them