Dec 19 2008

2009 goals

Published by at 11:14 am
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1.    Retain and enhance my domain knowledge, putting customers first and finding the best ways to address their needs by working top priority items into the product roadmap and anticipating the future needs of the customers.

 

2.    Using leadership techniques and reflective listening, inspire and energize our team to help create a best-in-class work environment that provides growth opportunities and colleague success while facilitating efficient top-down and down-up communication.

 

3.    Collaborate with others across the environmental domain to help develop and implement a next generation architecture that extends the SCF common platform and supports future content integrations across other domains while supporting any potential off-shore initiatives as necessary.

 

4.    Facilitate the TFS implementations across the domain in a consistent way to help improve our correctness, completeness, and currency of how we deliver product updates to our customers.

 

5.    Work on coming across as confident, excited, while not being perceived incorrectly by people, especially not let my enthusiasm become off putting to people.

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Aug 25 2008

Degree Update

Published by at 3:05 pm
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20 credits left in the core of my degree (9 humanities, 3 Law, 4 CIS, and 4 Management)
19 credits left in my specialty (4 classes and my senior project)

So the question is: Now that I’m management do I persue a specialty in Business Management or Systems Analysis and Integration. I think the appropriate answer given my circumstances is Business Management. Here would be the difference in class load.

Systems Analysis and Integration
SAI430 – System Integration
SAI440 – Adv. Topics in Enterprise Analysis
SAI460 – Organizational Process Analysis
SEC340 – Business Continuity
CIS470 – Senior Project

Business Management
MGMT303 – Principles of Management
PROJ330 – Human Resources and Communication in Projects
MGMT410 – Human Resource Management
MGMT420 – Managing Technological Change
BUSN412 – Business Policy
CIS470 – Senior Project

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Aug 13 2008

It’s Official

Published by at 10:44 am
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With the following announcement, it’s official. I’m now the manager of ESP “North”. I will have a few developers, QA, and technical support staff working for me maintaining the current (soon to be legacy) applications for ESP, while the veteran developers work on re-writing the application as a C# / ASP.Net / Web service based application.

Just another thing that is adding to my busy schedule as I am currently wading through 23 resumes that are growing every 15 minutes or so as more resumes come in from the job posts I made. If you are interested, please look for my post on Portland Craig’s List.

It is with much regret that Mark Heins is announcing Victor Laurence is leaving the Comply Plus Development Team. Conversely it is with much fanfare that I am announcing Victor as the Manager of the ESP North Development Team. Of course this will be a smooth transition

 

ESP is in Mountain View California and can be found on the web at http://esp-net.com/. ESP was acquired by IHS the same day as Dolphin and is one of the organizations in the Environment Domain. ESP currently has 6 Software Developers and a few colleagues in QA and Tech Support. We are currently seeking 2 Software Developers and at least 1 QA and 1 Tech Support Engineer to work alongside Victor in our Lake Oswego office. We will be working on existing ESP products, as well as, the future roadmap. Victor will work closely with the existing team in Mountain View which is managed by Randy Chandrupatla on the Software Development side and Tony Bamberger managing QA and Tech Support. This approach will provide good coverage and cross-training for this extensive code base and allow the developers at both locations to create similar look and feel products for the entire product offering in the Environment Domain.

 

Please join me in congratulating and supporting Victor.

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Aug 04 2008

Life has been really busy

Published by at 1:23 pm
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Between the Warhammer Beta, college, my car being broken into, changing job roles, possibly other opportunities, house hunting, preparing out household budget, moving finances, keeping my head screwed on, meeting with mortgage lenders to get pre-approved for a future home purchase, finding the PERFECT place, signing paperwork, working with a homeowner/landlord who’s not even in town, dealing with getting new teeth put in my mouth after fracturing two of them, and now packing and preparing to move by the 15th starting this weekend (wears me out just saying all that)…

Let’s just say I’ve been busy. More details forthcoming as I find the time to post.

Jun 30 2008

Wii Fit

Published by at 4:05 pm
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So I put my mind to it and got myself a Wii Fit in less than a week. I have to admit I’m pleasantly surprised with the device so far. Here is my review thus far about the features of the Wii Fit product.

  • Goals setting and tracking – It prevents you from setting too large of goals. For example it didn’t let me put in “I want to lose 80 lbs in the next year”. So I set a goal of 21 lbs in the next 3 months. It also “measures” your goal progress in 2 week increments. In other words, instead of focusing on 1 week long increments it’s broken into 2 week increments.
  • BMI, weight, and balance measurements – One could say the BMI is not accurate due to muscle/fat/bone density ratios, but it’s as accurate as it can be. Plus this is about getting fit, not becoming the next Mr. Universe. Ideally it should account for a certain amount of muscle gain based on where you are on the BMI scale and activity with the system. Balance is huge and it’s a good motivator for me. Even though I’m overweight, I carry myself well.
  • Motivation – The game is constantly motivating you. The animated Wii board talks to you and congratulates you in a very cute way on your progress. The personal trainers motivate you when you’re doing well or improving on your exercises. Most of all the game rewards you by unlocking more items based on your commitment to becoming fit and how well you are doing. Some exercises will unlock based on total fitness time, some exercises will unlock the more you do that one exercise, and some will unlock as you do BETTER consistently at a particular exercise. This really rewards the person who has a completionist attitude and taps into the “gamer” side of you that wants to unlock stuff. Best of all the features that are unlocked are “mii” specific. Which means I can unlock things differently than Kerrie will for example.
  • Yoga is very relaxing and helps you stretch at the beginning of your workout. It is very tough and works core muscle groups well, but at the same time it is VERY low impact which again is the equivalent to stretching. I like the focus on breathing in the Yoga exercises and how they present breathing to you. Right now I’m still really out of shape and can’t do a lot of the Yoga poses I have unlocked. For now I’m focusing on the 2 that I can do well and those poses are helping strengthen my knees, abs, and core.
  • Strengthening exercises are pretty hard for me right now. I know I’m out of shape and like Yoga I can only do two of these exercises without seriously hurting myself. I’m looking forward to the day that I can do more of these. I know some of these I can do once my knees get stronger. One in particular “combos” with yoga. Oh yeah as you unlock and master different techniques, you can unlock exercise “combos” which is really cool. For example I think one is the strengthening exercise “The Lunge” comboing into the Yoga pose “The Warrior”. They call it the Lunging Warrior (or something like that).
  • Aerobic exercises are really fun. Of all the exercises these are the most enjoyable to me. HoolaHoop has to be the best of all the exercises because it is not only REALLY aerobic, but it REALLY works your abs hard. Forget those days of doing sit ups! The step aerobics is really fun which is surprising because I was shying away from the Wii Fit because I thought it was a glorified step aerobics machine. The “running” I’m not too sure about… I’ll write more about that once I get the feel of it. The soccer headbutting also is a bit weird. It feels more like a balance game than an Aerobic game.
  • Balance is the key to a healthy lifestyle, or so they say. If the Yoga exercises are the low impact warm up, the balance games are the low impact. These games focus on pushing your tired self to the limit, testing how well you are balanced and how well you can control shifts in you balance. The only balance game I can say for sure I don’t like is the tightrope. The marbles, skiing games (yes there’s two that I’ve unlocked so far), and the “bubble in the stream” are all excellent games.
  • Overall the Wii Fit is fun to play and an excellent exercise. I think I’m going to set a rule that before I can sit down to play video games on my PC or console, I first have to do my 30 minute Wii Fit workout. I think it’s MORE than reasonable and VERY fun and rewarding.

Jun 24 2008

The Pitch

Published by at 11:37 am
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Today I was asked to move (or at least start the transition) onto the development team for our newest flagship product which is going to unify all of our existing products into one suite. I was intially asked to fulfill a simple Flex developer role and one 30 minute conversation later, I had pitched a completely different role. Here is the pitch I gave the manager of the team after our conversation.

Victor’s position on the <FLASHSHIP-PRODUCT> team would leverage his well rounded knowledge to fill a very specific and needed role. Working as part of the <FLASHSHIP-PRODUCT> software development team, his duties would include the following.

He will contribute to the development of the product as a front-end Flex designer/developer, but he will also have a major focus on documenting the development processes. He will do so by working with <FLASHSHIP-PRODUCT-MANAGER> and other stakeholders to better establish project goals, specifications, budget and timelines. This would involve collaboration with various business units, then using that understanding of business operations to help build solutions to meet the department’s internal information needs as well as the customer needs. He will analyze business processes, identifying causes of problems and making recommendations for process and design improvements. He will use his knowledge across a spectrum of technologies to determine the best solutions to design problems. He will also work to establish testing procedures to ensure the application is thoroughly tested during development and prior to release.

EDIT: This was the response.

Thanks Victor.  I appreciate the effort and enthusiasm for writing that up.  I should be able to make it pretty much a done deal.  I’ll send <VP-OF-THE-DIVISION> a quick email to get confirmation.

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May 23 2008

IHS Leadership Development Program

Published by at 10:32 am
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Yesterday Scott sent out an email that’s really got my grey matter flowing. It is a 111 page PDF document (WITH NO BOOKMARKS, ARG!!!!) that illustrates and describes the core values and core competencies of IHS and how they line up with the 5 separate paths (not including management path) of IHS. Software Quality Assurance, Technical, Development, Program Management, and finally Business Solutions. I’m obviously on the Software Engineer path right now, but my desire is to be on the Business Solutions path. Actually, technically right now I’m on none of the paths, but hopefully that’s going to be fixed soon.

The nice thing about this document is that I have not only a visual picture of the path (Business Solutions Architect, Senior Business Solutions Architect, Principle Business Solutions Architect, and Executive Business Solutions Architect), but clear job descriptions and the core competencies IHS views that play a role in job performance / reviews. An extra bonus is that it gives me even MORE excuse to talk to my colleges about it and share my career goals openly while telling them WHY I’m interested in that path even more so than the engineering path. I had a very long conversation wtih Don and he agreed with me that from my passions, education, and experience that the Business Solutions Path is there I should be going.

NOTE to Self: change the Dolphin Software category it IHS…

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May 06 2008

Job Qualifications

Published by at 3:07 pm
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 – Degree in Information Systems or related field; three to five years demonstrated experience in project management and leadership with business analysis, process modeling and application design, or the equivalent combination of education and/or relevant experience.
– Strong customer service attitude and ambition to continually improve customer service levels.
– Strong intuitive and analytical problem solving skills.
– Work well under pressure with tight deadlines and manages multiple concurrent projects; organize workload of self and team to meet changing priorities and deadlines.
– Express ideas clearly to a broad audience in both written and oral communications, including group presentations regarding product and technical information.
– Handle multiple, concurrent, complex tasks.
– Make excellent technical recommendations in the context of company business directions.
– Perform on-call and weekend support as needed.
– Advanced working knowledge of technical support, testing, systems analysis techniques and tools; IT technical environment (applications, Web, platforms, interfaces, data structures, applications, queries, and programming languages).

Sound like me? Except for the fact that I don’t have my degree QUITE yet, but will next summer? Yeah it sounds like me alright, to quote a friend, “That sounds exactly like you. You’re the poster boy for that job. :P”

/sigh…  I don’t know where I am or where I’m going anymore.

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Mar 27 2008

Leadership vs Management

I’ve been busy the last few months. This little bit of self reflection will give you some insight into what I’ve been going through with recently, particularly within the last few weeks.

My journey into leadership began many years ago when I was the sole IT manager and programmer at a small commercial real-estate management firm. I was coached by the President on ways to improve myself as a leader. I was challenged to find better ways of doing business and how to communicate those changes to others. This journey expanded when I was encourage to pick up the leadership torch as a volunteer leadership position in an online community of over 100 individuals. This expanded later when I left that community and again was pulled (almost reluctantly) into another organization which is now around those same numbers. Right now I hold a second volunteer position that involves leading communications and facilitating change goals for a community of thousands of people, compiling feedback, and delivering reports to key players in a much larger organization. Over the years people have described my leadership style as democratic, pragmatic, and visionary. How did I develop such strong leadership skills in such a small amount of time?

The key factor that has been advantageous to my journey has been RAPIDLY growing environments. The real-estate management firm was constantly in a state of change. During my time with them they grew to a handful of people to over 65 people. In all of my volunteer leadership positions, they have taken place in an even more rapidly changing environment growing from a handful of people to well over 100. My exposure to rapidly changing environments has allowed me to learn how to properly lead change. Furthermore, I’ve had the power to experiment with various techniques of leadership (learned through formal education as well as self study) with little to no fear of “ruining a good thing”, especially with my volunteer leadership positions.

The more I learn about leadership, the more I realize that the average person doesn’t understand the difference between management and leadership. The more I learn about leadership, the more I realize that this is a product of history and the way individuals in business were trained to manage, and how individuals have learned what “managers” are like. When two organizations come together, one who understands management and the other than understands leadership, a serious challenge presents itself. This challenge is one that we will face going forward. 

P.S. Yes, I fell off my wight loss plan. I’m still struggling with a lack of a real schedule in my life.

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Jan 02 2008

Still a 4.0 Average

Published by at 9:35 am
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Now with 12 classes, 41 credits, and still a 4.0 average. Currently I’m in the middle of changing my degree program from GSP to CIS so my “standing” academically is still “Freshman” although with all honesty after completing 2 1/2 semesters and 32.5% of my total credits needed for graduation, I should technically be a “Sophomore”, but heck who’s counting. I still know when I’m scheduling myself for graduation.

Had a GREAT winter break and through completing 3 finals in under 24 hours was stressful, the cruise was fantastic combined with a sneezy but fun 4 day new years vacation. I’m looking forward to this coming year. It’s the end of the reign of the Bushes, my car will be paid off soon, I will start saving tons of money for my house, and at some point toward the end of the year I will move in with Kerrie. If all goes well it’ll be a nice prep for 2009 when I graduate and much, much more.

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