Coaching, mentoring and training teams to reach the next level of software engineering excellence.
Whether it was developing my first GW BASIC programs, similar to the diary program used on television by Dr. Doogie Howser, or applying for a Microsoft product support role at the age of 13, I always knew that technology would play an important role in my life. Well beyond the years of DOS, GW BASIC, and bulletin board systems, I have had the opportunity to play roles focused on bridging gaps between business and technology professionals. Technology has the power to drive business efficiencies, create competitive advantages, and open up the new possibilities that are only limited by ones imagination. My mission in life is to turn those possibilities into reality.
During my school years, I began to hone my skills assisting my school and several local small businesses with their technology needs. Countless hours hanging around the computer lab paid off through boosting my confidence in the knowledge that anything is possible with a little hard work. As I entered university in Waterloo, Canada, I started a consulting practice catering to local businesses in the legal, marketing, manufacturing and internet sectors. During that time, I worked to take an idea that small businesses could consume technology as a utility to the next level. Calling on several colleagues, we developed a plan and pitched to Bay Street venture capitalists as well as local business legend Jim Balsillie. While the venture did not make it off the ground, I took many important lessons from it that stick with me today.
BillG & Me
An opportunity came up to join the team at Microsoft. Seven interviews later, I began a journey inside the consulting arm of Microsoft where I connected with the enterprise customers to help them deploy the latest products. Through several years, I gained exposure to the challenges faced in the enterprise space and an opportunity to work with very smart and passionate people. Within the Canadian subsidiary, I gained exposure to customers here while taking on opportunity to travel the country to spread the word of upcoming product launches. Some of the memorable projects include early deployments of Active Directory, driving the first .NET development projects inside Canada's financial institutions and contributing code into the Windows code base.
Building Online Communities for Rock Stars
Leaving Microsoft was a difficult choice. It is a place built on intra-preneurship where success is directly attributed to hard work. Joining the early start-up team of officialCOMMUNITY, then known as InDIMENSIONS, was an opportunity I could not pass up. We started out on a mission to rethink information management with a multi-dimensional approach using recording artists as our foundation. During the early years, we also managed to build out a practice focused on the domain of community management. The information management piece continues today in Primal Fusion and officialCOMMUNITY grew up from the four of us crammed inside a tiny office at Blue Rodeo's Toronto studio to over forty people including my technology team of twelve serving legendary artists such as Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, Mark Knophler, and more.
Helping Teams Build the Right Thing at the Right Time
With the community business on a steady state for growth, it was time to continue pushing myself for new challenges. Jumping back into the consulting realm working with the high calibre team at ObjectSharp was my next step. Reaching out to clients undertaking software development projects I delivered advisory services focused on team building, software craftsmanship, and technical excellence. The client received an honest assessment of their plans along with pragmatic options to help them achieve their objectives. Working one-on-one with team members, I helped reframe their challenges for action and help them build upon their strengths. My contribution is the rare insight into balancing of IT and development efforts to meet the challenges set forth by business leadership.
A Better Connected Health System
Stepping back into industry I am now leading the product development at Orion Heath working with teams across Auckland, Bangkok, Canberra and Christchurch to create the heartbeat of the hospital that is connected to community care. My role involves inspiring and encouraging people to come together as high performance teams that challenge each other to deliver their best every day. To empower people to do this I am leading the creation of autonomous tribes of teams that have all of the skills and control necessary to design, develop and deliver products that our customers love. It allows us to form the basis on which we can broaden our capabilities to deliver services and experiences that cross all screens and devices. Along the way we are focusing on reducing friction in software engineering practices and evolving our discipline to a point where we are ready to share it with the world - scrum, kanban, continuous delivery, automation, cloud. As part of a growing business this can only be done by increasing transparency in product planning practices to allow us to tell compelling stories about where we see health care technology going both internally in an increasingly diverse business, and externally to our customers and the market. My own mark on the company is through challenging of corporate culture and practices to experiment and evolve with the rapid growth ahead so we make the most of the opportunity in front of us.